With the security situation in Libya quickly deteriorating, the international community must be more proactive in exploring solutions in order to tangibly help the North African nation restore stability and strengthen accountability, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the United Nations Security Council today.
“Innocent civilians continue to bear the brunt of the deteriorating security situation,” said Fatou Bensouda as she presented her latest report the 15-member Council.
In the aftermath of the 2011 civil war in Libya, the Council decided to refer the situation in the country to the Court. A formal investigation was opened by the ICC Prosecutor in March 2011, and to date, three arrests warrants have been issued: against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi; Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi; and Abdullah Al-Senussi.
“Libya continues to be split, with two governments vying for legitimacy,” the ICC Prosecutor added.
Ms. Bensouda said her Office has encouraged the formation of an ‘international contact group’ on justice issues through which material, legal and other support could be provided to Libya.
She also proposed that a willing State, with substantial experience in transitional justice, to consider partnering with Libya to explore more concretely how such a contact group might be brought to life in the near future.
“It is crucial for such efforts to include local actors, so that their voices and views on achieving justice are amplified and heard,” Ms. Bensouda added, commending the efforts of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
The ICC Prosecutor also reiterated the need for Libyan authorities to facilitate a visit by representatives from the local councils of Misrata and Tawergha to meet because facilitating a solution for the Tawergha issue is of “symbolic importance and resonance.”
Ms. Bensouda also took note of relevant Security Council resolutions on the Libya situation which have also stressed the important of the Libyan government’s full cooperation with the ICC and with her Office.
On the use of violence against civilians by groups purportedly claiming allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), she said that while ICC jurisdiction over Libya extends to such alleged crimes, it is the State that bears primary responsibility to prosecute perpetrators.
Furthermore, she expressed concern about alleged indiscriminate attacks in heavily populated areas that have resulted in civilian casualties whether in Benghazi, Tripoli, Warshefana, and in the Nafusa Mountains.
“I reiterate my call to all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from targeting civilians,” Ms. Bensouda urged.