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, 9 May 2018

Thank you, Madam President,

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

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has long been a firm supporter of the International Criminal Court. The ICC is a key institution when it comes to accountability for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern. We have found you, Madam Prosecutor, to be a key ally in this endeavor.

And I’d like to echo the words you just spoke, Madam Prosecutor, that justice, peace and stability form a trinity. We would like to thank you, and your Office, for the unwavering commitment to bring justice to the victims of atrocities in Libya. Also as a part of this trinity bringing as a peace element to achieve peace and stability in the country.

Please allow me to focus on three important aspects:

  1. The security and human rights situation in Libya;
  2. Cooperation with the Court; and
  3. Combating impunity.

1. The security and human rights situation in Libya

Firstly, the security and human rights situation in Libya. We are deeply worried by the volatile security and human rights situation in Libya.

Civilians continue to be the main victims of the ongoing conflict. The situation of internally displaced persons and migrants, especially those held in detention centers, gives particular cause for concern.

Madam Prosecutor, we welcome your work in relation to alleged crimes against migrants. We welcome particularly your collaborative efforts with states and organizations in conformity with strategic goal 9 as well as your efforts to see whether these crimes fall within the jurisdiction of the court.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands remains ready to employ all means available to combat abuses against migrants and stabilize Libya, including through targeted sanctions which can complement and strengthen criminal prosecution.

2. Cooperation with the Court

Madam President, my second point: cooperation with the Court. For the Office of the Prosecutor to fulfill its mandate, full cooperation and assistance of the Libyan authorities is essential. In this respect, we would like to commend the successful cooperation between the Office of the Prosecutor and the Libyan Prosecutor-General’s Office.

This has resulted in the Office’s first mission to Libya in over five years.

However, more cooperation is needed from all States and this Council, especially in relation to the surrender of the suspects to the Court.

In particular, like others, we regret that Mr. Al-Werfalli, commander of LNA’s Al-Saiqa Brigade, and other suspects have not been arrested and brought to The Hague. Especially considering that Mr. Al-Werfalli allegedly committed more murders since the last report on the situation in Libya. This shows that the lack of accountability encourages repetition of crimes, as perpetrators feel free to commit further offences without fear of punishment. We find it alarming that Mr. Al-Werfalli was reportedly released after just one day in custody. It is a show of disregard of this Council and the international community as a whole that he continues to be at large. 

So we urge all relevant entities to fully cooperate with the Court to ensure the immediate arrest and swift surrender of all those against who an arrest warrant has been issued. 

Moreover, it is essential that this Council abides by its financial obligations and facilitates adequate United Nations financial funding for the Office’s work in Libya.

3. Combating impunity

Madam President, my third point, on combating impunity. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute.

Twenty years ago, we were full of hope and confidence that we had turned a new page. That impunity would be targeted successfully and that this international approach of accountability would set a universal norm.

Today, however, the picture is more grim. There are still many situations outside of the Court’s jurisdiction, with Syria being the most visible, and this Council is all too often paralyzed to take adequate action.

We appreciate your efforts, Madam Prosecutor, to make full use of the options you have. Such as requests to the ICC for the exercise of jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of people to neighbouring countries.

Madam President, if this Court has the ability to scrutinize situations all around world, justice can be brought to those who are in need of it.

We therefore urge all states to become a State Party to the Rome Statute. Until this is the case, the UN Security Council needs to take responsibility for referring situations to the Court.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands firmly stands by your side, Madam Prosecutor, in your fight against impunity.

Together, if all of us are fully committed towards this common goal, we can make accountability happen. For Libya, and all around the world.

Thank you.

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