Statement delivered by Helen Mulvein, Legal Counsellor at the UK Mission to the UN, to the Security Council Meeting on situation in Libya.
Thank you Madam President.
I would like to thank the Prosecutor for her latest report on Libya, and for her briefing today.
The United Kingdom remains deeply concerned about the ongoing conflict in Libya.
The situation remains fragile and the fighting has continued. While we welcome the progress that has been made in the UN-led Libyan political dialogue, the United Kingdom condemns those on both sides who continue to use violence to attempt to achieve their political goals. Both sides in Libya need to demonstrate control of their armed forces, in order to implement the ceasefire needed.
There can be no military solution to the current crisis in Libya. We urge those taking part in the UN talks to reach agreement on a National Unity Government and a ceasefire as quickly as possible. We reiterate our support for Security Council Resolutions 2213 and 2214, and the strong resolution on Libya which was adopted by consensus at the UN Human Rights Council on 27 March.
The United Kingdom strongly shares the Prosecutor’s concerns about grave crimes committed by armed groups and militias in Libya. As highlighted in her briefing, the ongoing violence and instability have allowed extremists, including those purportedly claiming allegiance to ISIL, to emerge. We strongly condemn their savage and cowardly attacks.
The United Kingdom is particularly concerned by reports that indiscriminate gunfire, artillery and airstrikes have killed and injured civilians, and damaged civilian infrastructure - including schools and hospitals. Civilians on both sides of the conflict have been deliberately intimidated and targeted, including the forcibly displaced Tawerghan tribe. Human rights defenders, social activists, journalists and the judiciary have all been intimidated, abducted, and murdered.
We support the Prosecutor’s call to all parties in the conflict to refrain from targeting civilians or civilian objects. We join the Prosecutor in urging all parties to refrain from committing atrocities and to take active measures to prevent the commission of such crimes.
The treatment of detainees in Libya also remains deeply concerning. In April 2014, the UN Special Mission in Libya reported that 10,000 people were held in detention. UNSMIL cited ongoing reports of torture and deaths in custody, with perpetrators including judicial police and militia groups. Reports indicate that detentions without trial and arbitrary arrests rose as the political and security crisis worsened in 2014. In some areas, including Derna and Benghazi, and particularly when dealing with cases concerning conflict-related detainees, Judges, prosecutors and judicial police were intimidated, detained and assassinated. We call on the Libyan authorities to ensure due process and fair trial rights for all detainees.
We welcome that the Prosecutor and her office continue to receive cooperation from the Libyan Prosecutor-General’s office. The United Kingdom wishes to underline the importance of continuing judicial cooperation between the Office of the Prosecutor and the Libyan authorities in order to tackle impunity for atrocities.
We thank the Prosecutor for her briefing on the cases against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi. We note that her office will continue to monitor the situation in Libya and its impact upon the domestic proceedings against Mr Al-Senussi.
With regards to the case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the United Kingdom recalls that in March, this Council adopted resolution 2213, reiterating that Libya is obliged to cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the ICC and the Prosecutor. We note the decision of the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber of 10 December 2014, which found that Libya had failed to comply with requests for cooperation by the ICC, including the request to surrender Mr Gaddafi.
The United Kingdom calls on Libya to surrender Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to the ICC, and to consult with the Court to address any problems that might impede his transfer to The Hague.
The United Kingdom urges the Libyan government to cooperate fully with the ICC as part of efforts to combat impunity for the crimes that have been committed, and continue to be committed, in Libya.
Libya’s future should be built upon a firm foundation that protects and promotes human rights for all. In order to build a sustainable peace it is necessary to tackle impunity for atrocities: perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity must be held to account for their actions. The Libyan people deserve to see justice.