Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the ICC - Libya
Statement23 November 2021
Thank you Mr President.
Prosecutor Khan, I want to thank you for your report and briefing this afternoon, your first to the Council as ICC Prosecutor and also wish to welcome our friend and colleague Ambassador Elsonni of Libya.
We have seen a number of hard won achievements in Libya since the October Ceasefire Agreement, including the inauguration of the interim Government of National Unity in March.
We continue to view these developments as an opportunity to renew the Court’s relationship with Libya, its relevant national authorities and stakeholders.
The Prosecutor’s intention to prioritise engagement with the Libyan authorities is therefore welcome.
Ireland further encourages the Government of National Unity’s efforts, working with the African Union in particular, to create a national reconciliation process, as well as its work with the Libyan authorities to strengthen transitional justice institutions. These are important steps for the future of the Libyan people.
However, we cannot ignore concerning developments. In particular, reports of serious violations outlined by the Secretary General in September on the situation of migrants in Libya. This included reports that certain State officials affiliated with the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration have allegedly committed serious human rights violations.
We welcome that the OTP has reviewed these findings.
We echo the Prosecutor’s point that granting amnesties and pardons for serious crimes, including murder constituting crimes against humanity is incompatible with internationally recognized human rights.
In this report, and previous reports, the Prosecutor has voiced concern about credible and substantial information regarding past and ongoing crimes allegedly committed in official and unofficial detention facilities in Libya.
This was echoed in the conclusions of the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya in its report of October 2021, which referred to systemic and widespread attack against anyone opposing the interests of those running prisons. Reports of sexual and gender-based violence, primarily targeting women, remain of deep concern to us.
We welcome continued engagement between the Office of the Prosecutor and UNSMIL as well as steps taken by the OTP to foster coordination between stakeholders including Europol, and all efforts aimed at accountability for violent crimes against migrants and refugees in Libya.
The work of the ICC is of course complementary to domestic initiatives and we continue to urge all States to cooperate with the Court as it investigates allegations of serious international crimes in Libya.
Continued lack of cooperation with the Court in the execution of arrest warrants is worrying. We urge all Member States, whether or not they are States Parties to the Rome Statute, to execute outstanding arrest warrants. In particular, we once again urge Libya to arrest and surrender Mr Saif Gaddafi as a matter of urgency.
We note the Prosecutor’s statement that he will extend particular prioritization to referrals by the Council to the ICC. We reiterate our view that cases to the ICC must be accompanied by consistent follow-up support from this Council. This includes budgetary support.
Findings of non-cooperation by States in relation to situations already referred by the Council, including the situation in Libya, also require a substantive response.
Ireland strongly supports ICC efforts to hold to account those responsible for the most serious international crimes in Libya in order to ensure true accountability for victims.
The Court’s pursuit of justice and accountability in Libya will serve to build trust in the State, especially amongst communities disproportionately affected by violent conflict. Accountability for atrocity crimes can assist with the important reconciliation processes in Libya and the consolidation of peace.
We know that accountability for atrocity crimes also acts as a strong deterrent, and contributes to conflict and atrocity prevention efforts.
Prosecutor Khan, allow me to conclude by reiterating Ireland’s steadfast support for the work of the ICC in Libya. We remain convinced that accountability is key to peace, stability and justice for the future of Libya.