Security Council Briefing: ICC Libya

Statement by H.E. Lise Gregoire-van Haaren,
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

New York, 2 November 2018

Thank you, mister President, 

Allow me to start by thanking Bolivia for its stewardship in the month of October. I would like to wish China all the best for the month of November. You can count on our support.  

On behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Prosecutor,
Fatou Bensouda, for her sixteenth report and comprehensive briefing of the situation in Libya.  

The Kingdom of the Netherlands remains a firm supporter of the International Criminal Court.

 Please allow me to focus on three important aspects: 

  • The Rome Statute system
  • International cooperation
  • Accountability

1. The Rome Statute System

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute. Twenty years ago, we didn’t only establish the first permanent International Criminal Court, but we introduced the Rome Statute system. States Parties have taken on the responsibility to end impunity and to prosecute international crimes at the national level. Only when States are unable or unwilling, would the ICC come into play.

In 2011, this Council acted unanimously in referring the situation in Libya to the ICC so as to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes.

We commend you, Madam Prosecutor, for your unwavering commitment since 2011 to bring justice to the victims of atrocities in Libya. Even today, the volatile security and human rights situation in Libya is extremely worrisome.
Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the fighting and the ongoing conflict. The situation of internally displaced persons and migrants, gives particular cause for concern.

You, Madam Prosecutor, are often the only hope for the victims to ensure accountability for the crimes committed. But you cannot do this alone.

2. International Cooperation

That brings me to my second point, international cooperation.For the Office of the Prosecutor to fulfill its mandate, full cooperation and assistance of the Council’s member states is essential.

We welcome the successful cooperation between the Libyan Prosecutor-General’s Office and the Office of the Prosecutor. We urge all States, including the Libyan authorities to cooperate with the Court and to arrest and surrender all those against whom an arrest warrant has been issued. Further, we encourage the Libyan authorities to ensure that the domestic case against Abdullah Al-Senussi is continued without undue delay.  

In that regard, we applaud the statement of the representative of Libya last Monday in the General Assembly, that Libya is committed to the fight against impunity. However, because of the security situation justice at the national level is often delayed. Until the moment the Libyan authorities can prosecute all international crimes at the national level, the ICC must ensure accountability for the international crimes committed in Libya. That was the mandate that this Council gave to the ICC many years ago. And that is the mandate this Council must help the ICC to achieve.

I hear criticism that the investigation is not advancing quick enough. When the Council makes referrals we should continue to work on the follow up of their implementation.

We, the Council, should help the ICC to achieve its goals.

3. Accountability

The third point, accountability. We welcome the ICC’s efforts to investigate whether crimes against migrants fall within its jurisdiction, and we are keen to see progress in this area.

We deeply regret that Mr Al-Werfalli and other suspects have not been arrested and brought to The Hague. Especially considering Mr Al-Werfalli’s alleged murders recently committed.

This shows that the absence of accountability encourages repetition of crimes. Without fear of punishment, perpetrators will feel free to commit further offences.

We find it even more alarming that Mr Al-Werfalli was reportedly released after just one day in custody. The fact that he remains at large, constitutes a complete disregard of this Council, and the international community as a whole.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands firmly stands by your side, Madam Prosecutor, in your fight against impunity.
But only if we all, become fully committed to this goal, we can make accountability a reality. In Libya, and all around the world. 

Thank you.

Belongs to