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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at UNSC Briefing on ICC - Libya

Thank you Mr President. I want to thank Prosecutor Bensouda for her briefing and welcome our colleague Amb Elsonni of Libya.


Let me begin by joining the Court in welcoming the inauguration of the new interim Government of National Unity, now charged with leading the country to national elections on 24 December 2021, and the signing of the ceasefire agreement.


The inauguration of the GNU provides an opportunity to renew the relationship between the Court and Libya, and to pursue accountability and justice, that are critical to securing peace and stability in Libya.


It is clear having listened to you today, Madam Prosecutor, that for the Court to effectively investigate and prosecute, the cooperation of the GNU and the Libyan authorities is absolutely essential to that work.


We are encouraged to hear that, in spite of obstacles posed by Covid-19, and the security situation, your own Office has undertaken additional missions to Libya in the reporting period. We hope that this signals a strengthening of the Court’s relationship with relevant national authorities and stakeholders.


Prosecutor Bensouda, I also want to thank you for your update on the investigation of the mass graves in Tarhuna. We welcome the Libyan authorities’ continued efforts to investigate this issue. Clearly, not only do the families of the victims deserve to have their loved-ones’ remains identified and returned but they also deserve to see justice done. We strongly urge continued engagement between your Office and external partners in this important work.


We also appreciate the continued support and assistance UNSMIL is providing in assisting the Court’s work in the country and also appreciate in that regard, the cooperation of EUROPOL.


Mr President,


In February this year, it was ten years since the adoption of Resolution 1970. That is a decade in which not a single ICC arrest warrant has been executed with respect to the situation in Libya.


We are deeply concerned at the continued lack of cooperation with the Court and we urge all Member States, whether or not they are States Parties to the Rome Statute, to execute arrest warrants that are outstanding.



As the Prosecutor has so aptly stated, the reported deaths of two fugitives, lends truth to the maxim that justice delayed is justice denied.  This is not accountability and it is certainly not justice for victims.  We call on the Libyan and Egyptian authorities to investigate and verify these reports.


In relation to the third fugitive, Mr Gaddafi, we urge Libya to arrest and surrender him as a matter of urgency so that he can face justice.


Mr President,


Impunity clears the path for the commission of further crimes. Today we see clear evidence of this in the Prosecutor’s reports of ongoing crimes from arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances to murder and torture. Sexual and gender-based violence in Libya, including in detention settings, is also a matter of really deep concern.


Ireland continues to condemn ongoing violence in Libya, including human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law.  We urge all parties to comply with their obligations under IHL and IHRL as they continue to take steps towards the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement.


I want to reiterate Ireland’s deep commitment to international criminal justice.  We place a particular emphasis on the need to ensure that the victims of the most serious international crimes receive the justice they need and I would say the justice they deserve.  It was for this reason that last week we increased our annual contribution to the Trust Fund for Victims, to ensure it can fulfil its critically important mandate of making reparative justice a reality.


In concluding, I want to again thank the Prosecutor for her tireless work to bring perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice.  Our support, my country’s support, for the Court and for your work is unwavering. We remain convinced that accountability remains an important step on the road to peace in Libya. We encourage that work to continue.


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