By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 12 May 2015:
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s briefed the UN Security Council today on Libya, . . .[restrict]urging the international community to be more proactive in finding solutions for the country as it slips further into chaos.
Bensouda said that the ICC was ready to investigate crimes committed by the Islamic State (IS) in Libya. ICC jurisdiction “extends to such alleged crimes”, said Bensouda, but the Libyan state itself bore primary responsibility to prosecute IS members who carried out violent acts against civilians in the country.
Bensouda also recommended the formation of an international contact group to provide support on justice issues. Additionally, she highlighted the need for the Libyan state to facilitate reconciliation between Misrata and Tawergha by bringing together key leaders from those communities.
The prosecutor condemned indiscriminate attacks taking place in heavily populated areas, particularly in Benghazi.
For its part, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement yesterday highlighting the many ongoing human rights abuses in Libya and urging the ICC expand its investigations.
“Having voted unanimously to give the ICC a mandate in Libya, the Security Council should now step up to ensure the court has what it needs to look at ongoing grave abuses in the country,” International Justice Director at Human Rights Watch Richard Dicker said. “Focusing on Qaddafi-era officials is no longer sufficient.”
The focus on former regime figures includes Qaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam who is being held in prison in Zintan. The ICC has asked the Libyans to hand him over so that he can be tried by the international court. The UNSC should, said HRW, reiterate its call that Libya do so.
HRW has documented serious abuses of human rights, including unlawful detentions, forced displacement, torture and attacks on civilian property. Libya has descended, said HRW, into a state of near lawlessness with a “culture of impunity”.
“Libya’s institutions, particularly its judiciary, are in a state of near-collapse,” the group said, adding that the continual targeting of judges and prosecutors has contributed to it.
“It’s past time for the Security Council to understand that justice for current abuses in Libya will be essential for a durable peace,” Dicker said. “Silence by Security Council members on the impunity plaguing Libya today would be an affront to thousands of victims.”
In a follow up after Bensouda’s briefing to the UNSC today the United Kingdom condemned the violence being perpetrated “on both sides” in Libya, calling for an end to fighting and reiterating that there is no military solution.
“The United Kingdom remains deeply concerned about the ongoing conflict in Libya.”
Expressing support for the ICC prosecutor, Legal Counsellor at the UK Mission to the UN Helen Mulvein said, “The United Kingdom wishes to underline the importance of continuing judicial cooperation between the Office of the Prosecutor and the Libyan authorities in order to tackle impunity for atrocities.”
Mulvein oncluded by urging the Libyan government to fully cooperate with the ICC, with regard to Saif Al-Islam and all other investigations. [/restrict]