Statement by Susan Dickson, UK Legal Advisor at the UN, at the Security Council Briefing by the ICC Prosecutor on Libya
I would like to start by congratulating you on China’s assumption of the presidency of the Council for November. We wish you all the best for the month ahead.
I would like to thank the Prosecutor for briefing the Council on her sixteenth report on the situation in Libya to the Security Council. The UK remains fully supportive of the ICC’s work on Libya to tackle impunity and ensure those responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern in Libya are held accountable.
The Prosecutor’s latest report highlights once again the troubling situation in Libya. The United Kingdom has been clear that the status quo is not a sustainable option. The continued political divisions in Libya benefit no-one except certain armed groups, bent on criminality, who have created an environment of lawlessness, intimidation and fear in which ordinary Libyans continue to suffer. The increase in violence in and around Tripoli since August, and the ongoing sporadic violence which has continued since the cease-fire on 4 September, highlights this. These innocent civilians, including many children, deserve better. There is an urgent need to break the political deadlock and bring peace to Libya. To this end, it is vital for all parties to engage in good faith with the UN-led political process and Special Representative to the Secretary-General, Ghassan Salamé.
We must ensure that all those committing human rights violations and abuses in Libya, including unlawful killings, do not evade justice. The United Kingdom has strongly supported resolutions at the Human Rights Council on increasing accountability, and calling for those committing acts in Libya amounting to war crimes or other breaches of international humanitarian law to be investigated and held to account. We call on all parties to cooperate with the ICC including through the execution of arrest warrants. The United Kingdom is grateful for the Prosecutor’s update on the cases against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al Werfalli and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled and notes that the Prosecutor’s Office believes that al Werfalli is no longer in LNA detention, and is currently at large in Libya.
The United Kingdom will continue to work closely with other Member States, the Office of the Prosecutor and the Libyan Prosecutor General’s Office in the investigation of the appalling reports of crimes against migrants, including those perpetrated by militia and armed groups in Libya, and those involving international migrants transiting through Libya. These crimes allegedly include torture, killings, sexual violence and even enslavement of migrants. We are deeply concerned that the number of migrants in detention centres has continued to rise and the United Kingdom will continue to provide assistance to those who find themselves in such centres. In response to the heightened risk of trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence in Libya, we have also provided specific support to assist in the protection for women and girls. We acknowledge the importance of the Office of the Prosecutor integrating a gender perspective into its work, based on its Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes.
The United Kingdom is a strong principled supporter of the ICC. We will continue to provide our full support to the Prosecutor and her team. It is crucial that Member States and relevant international organisations work to assist the Libyan authorities in their efforts to build the rule of law in Libya. We, along with our international partners, will continue to work with Libya to provide it with the support it needs to meet the challenges it faces.
Thank you Mr President.