Accountability critical to Libya’s future says ICC prosecutor at UN

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda briefs the UN Security Council on her investigation in Libya.

In her latest briefing to the United Nations (UN) Security Council (“Council”), ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stressed that accountability for the grave crimes in Libya is crucial to the country’s stability and transition to democracy.

The prosecutor also called on the government to immediately comply with an ICC order to surrender Saif Gaddafi to The Hague.

This was the seventh briefing by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to the Council on its ongoing investigation into crimes allegedly committed in Libya after the 2011 revolution.

The Security Council resolution referring the Libya situation to the Court requires semiannual reports from the OTP.

The prosecutor outlined how a stronger state is critical to assisting the ICC and essential to efforts to ensure peace and stability.

“The steady decline in the security situation has hampered my Office’s investigative activities and hindered possibilities for effective interaction with the Government of Libya,” said Bensouda.

Read the ICC prosecutor’s full statement at the Security Council

Security Council members were in agreement that rising insecurity and instability threatens to undo positive gains made thus far.

While Bensouda said that Libya has been cooperative with the Court, she noted that the government has not surrendered Saif Gaddafi to the ICC.

Libyan authorities have said they are intent on trying Gaddafi at home. The son of the late Muammar Gaddafi is currently in custody of a local militia in the town of Zintan. He has recently appeared via video link in a national court, but Libya denies that any trial has started.

“National judicial proceedings can never be an excuse for failure to comply with the Chamber’s order,” said Bensouda.

Council members echoed this sentiment during the briefing, calling on Libya to cooperate with all decisions made by the Court, especially regarding the surrender of Gaddafi.

Several states also urged Libya to reach an agreement with the ICC on the privileges and immunities of Court personnel, which would help to facilitate the Court’s work in the country.

The Council as a whole expressed concern at the large number of detainees who have yet to be prosecuted by Libyan authorities but remain in the custody of armed militias. The Council urged the government to ensure that detainees are transferred into state custody and quickly brought to trial or released.

Council members also expressed concern at reports of torture and mistreatment of detainees in Libya.

Sharing those concerns, Bensouda said that those responsible for such alleged crimes should be brought to justice.

Libya acknowledged the challenges and difficulties facing it, but insisted that it is nevertheless moving forward with its transition to democracy.

Several states—including Argentina, Luxembourg and Chile—spoke of the need for the Council to be more engaged with the ICC and more actively follow up on its referrals to Court.

Libya expressing its commitment to transparency and efforts at reforming the judiciary to establish new policies and eliminate old practices, calling for assistance from the international community.

Read the prosecutor’s full statement and report

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