Statement at the UNSC Briefing on the ICC - Libya
Statement28 April 2022
Thank you Madam President,
Prosecutor Khan, thank you for your comprehensive and candid report and briefing this afternoon. I also wish to welcome our colleague the Ambassador of Libya.
Impunity remains a significant block to Libya’s transition to democracy and the rule of law. This is why the Security Council’s referral to the International Criminal Court and the OTP’s investigation is so critical to long-term peace and stability in Libya.
We know that the operational, security and political environment in which the Prosecutor’s office continues to operate in Libya is very challenging. In addition to the fragile political situation, we are deeply concerned by continued reports of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The “culture of impunity” described by the Fact-Finding Mission in Libya is particularly troubling.
In this difficult environment, progress by the OTP is particularly reliant on cooperation with the Libyan authorities, and we continue to urge Libya to execute the outstanding arrest warrant against Saif Gaddafi.
We welcome the Prosecutor’s intention to refresh the relationship with the Libyan authorities and look forward to his travel to Libya in the near future. We acknowledge that the assistance provided by UNSMIL is in this regard is vital.
Ensuring the ability of the Prosecutor’s office to conduct in-country investigative activities is also key to progress on this situation and we look forward to hearing more in future briefings about a renewed Memorandum of Understanding between the OTP and the Libyan authorities.
Ireland is appreciative of the open approach to reporting adopted by the Prosecutor in his latest Report. The Prosecutor’s prioritisation of the situation in Libya and the allocation of resources to this matter is also positive, in particular support for the recruitment of additional staff with specialised expertise with respect to sexual and gender-based crimes.
This is a particularly welcome development since we know sexual and gender-based violence remains widespread in migrant detention centres and that no action is being taken by authorities to hold perpetrators to account. We also note the Office’s preliminary assessment that crimes against migrants, including sexual and gender based violence, may constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes.
However, we appreciate that resources remain a matter of concern for the Court across all situations. We reiterate once again our view that where the Security Council has referred situations to the International Criminal Court, this should be matched with adequate funding. Such referrals place an extra burden on the Court, including through the reporting requirement and the Council should acknowledge as much.
With this in mind, Ireland committed additional voluntary contributions to the ICC two weeks ago. Such contributions will assist with all situations before the Court and may directly benefit work being conducted in relation to the Libyan situation.
The increased emphasis on engagement with victims and survivors in the Prosecutor’s forward-looking investigative strategy is very welcome, especially efforts to bring the work of the Office closer to survivors, witnesses and the families of victims.
One of the challenges in this will be ensuring the safety of those who wish to engage with the Court and the Prosecutor’s Office. The intention to establish an enhanced field office is a pre-requisite to such further engagement. We encourage all initiatives that ensure that those who cooperate with the Court through whatever means remain safe and secure.
Today, more so than ever, the work of the Court is essential to upholding the rule of law and achieving justice for victims. Prosecutor, you can, as always, count on Ireland’s strong and unwavering support for you and your Office in working towards this vital mandate.