This Report reflects an extensive exercise of stock-taking conducted by the Office of the Prosecutor in relation to the situation in Libya over the reporting period. It outlines a renewed strategy for action based on a comprehensive assessment of progress achieved to date and continued challenges faced.
Since the referral of the situation to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in 2011, a range of efforts have been undertaken to collect evidence that could lead to meaningful accountability in relation to crimes falling with the jurisdiction of the Court. An initial focus on crimes committed during 2011 and the associated issuance of a series of arrest warrants soon after the referral of the situation has been followed by a diversification of lines of inquiry to reflect the evolving scope of alleged criminal activities falling within the jurisdiction of the Court that have taken place in Libya. This has included an investigative focus on crimes committed in detention centres, crimes committed during the 2014 – 2020 operations, and crimes against migrants. As reflected in the Report, a number of these lines of inquiry are at an advanced stage.
This progress has not been achieved by the Office in isolation. Partnerships with victims and their families, non-governmental organisations and national authorities have been critical in advancing investigative work in this situation. The effective cooperation of third States has also been central to progress made, including significant assistance provided by Tunisia, Italy, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europol.
However, in conducting its review of action taken in relation to the Libya situation to date, the Office has also sought to address the challenges it has faced with transparency and realism. Serious challenges have been caused by the ongoing fluid political and security situation in Libya which has had an adverse impact on the ability of investigators to gain regular access to key crime scenes and to engage directly with victims and witnesses in a manner that ensures their safety and security. An inability to allocate sufficient resources to the situation has also been a significant hurdle, reflecting the broader resource pressures faced by the Office across all situations.
Based on the extensive stock-taking exercise undertaken by the Office in this reporting period, a renewed strategy for action in relation to the Libya situation has now been developed.
This reinvigorated approach is founded on a core set of principles aligned with the overall strategic vision of the Prosecutor for the work of the Office. First, prioritisation of the Libya situation and the allocation of resources to reflect this. This core initial principle reflects a broader emphasis placed by the Prosecutor on ensuring that referrals from the United Nations Security Council (“the Council”) pursuant to the Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations are prioritised and afforded sufficient staffing and technical capacity.
Second, a reinvigorated approach to empowering those impacted by alleged crimes in Libya to participate in our work by significantly enhancing the ability of the Office to engage on the ground. Third, a fresh approach to engagement with Libyan authorities in order to promote and support accountability efforts at the national level wherever possible, in line with the principle of complementarity. Finally, the establishment of a proactive and accelerated policy of cooperation with third States, regional organisations and international partners so as to fully exploit all avenues for the use of information and evidence collected by the Team.
Implementation of this renewed strategy in relation to the Libya situation will also draw on the significant enhancements presently being introduced by the Office with respect to its technological capacity. Through the establishment of a new big-data evidence processing and analysis platform supported through voluntary financial contributions made by States Parties, the Office will deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to significantly improve the ability of investigators to draw on evidentiary material contained in the extensive documentary, video and audio files already collected. Complementing these big data services, the Office will also modernise its document review and analysis capabilities, using cloud-based platforms to serve as an end-to-end eDiscovery tool. This will significantly assist the investigative teams, including those addressing the Libya situation, in solving complex analytical challenges during both investigation and litigation phases of work.
Drawing on the renewed investigative strategy and the allocation of additional human and technological resources, the Office presents in this Report a set of immediate investigative actions and key medium-term landmarks which will serve as a framework for action in the Libya situation. This plan of action is presented as a basis for further engagement with all stakeholders in our collective efforts to deliver justice for core international crimes.
The content of this Report reflects a fundamental recognition that victims and their families, and all key stakeholders, deserve clarity as to the overarching objectives of the Office in relation to the Libya situation, including anticipated timelines by which it seeks to deliver identified goals. To meet the expectations of those awaiting justice, and to provide a meaningful answer to the call for action by the Council, our approach must be focused on tangible outputs.
The response of the Office to the referral by the Council cannot be permanently open-ended.
Reflecting this, the Office will continue to monitor implementation of this renewed strategy in the coming months with a view to presenting a completion strategy in relation to the situation in subsequent reports.
The Office looks forward to deepening its dialogue with all relevant actors in the coming months based on the renewed strategic approach outlined in this Report.