SC: Libya - ICC

Statement by Permanent Representative Mona Juul on the briefing on the half year report by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the situation in Libya, 17 may 2021.

Norway would like to thank the Prosecutor for today’s briefing. Norway has been a staunch supporter of the ICC from the outset. The mission of the ICC remains as crucial as ever.

Norway lends its full support to the political process in Libya, including the upcoming elections in December. It is a positive sign that the ceasefire is still holding, but it is fragile. We look forward to the deployment of the ceasefire monitoring mechanism. We reiterate our call for armed groups to leave the country, as the Libyans themselves decided in the ceasefire agreement from October 2020.

Norway notes the decline in crimes since the ceasefire and inauguration of the new interim Government of National Unity. However, we remain deeply concerned by reports of ongoing crimes, including murder, forced disappearances, arbitrary detention in official and unofficial centres, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence. Summary sentencing and convictions in secret trials without access to a fair trial has to end. We urge the Government to investigate and prosecute those responsible without delay, and to fully cooperate with the ICC. Addressing impunity is critical to sustainable peace, stability and reconciliation.

Norway welcomes the progress made by the ICC during the reporting period.

We call on the authorities in Libya to provide access to detention centres and other sites where there is suspicion of serious crimes having been committed.

Norway is concerned by the use of sexual violence in Libya reported by the Prosecutor. Prevention of and response to conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence is a priority in all our peace and security efforts. We should utilize sanctions, where relevant and appropriate, to counter such heinous acts.

It is troubling and highly regrettable that the three arrest warrants issued by the Court have still not been executed. We note reports that one or two of the individuals may be deceased and support the Prosecutor’s call for efforts to clarify the facts.

We urge all states to ensure that those wanted by the Court are surrendered. 

This Council cannot remain indifferent to the lack of cooperation reported by the Prosecutor. The Council must assume its responsibilities and examine every possible measure to support the Court.

At the end, let me reiterate that Norway welcomes the decision by the United States to lift sanctions against officials of the ICC. We look forward to continued cooperation with you and all Council members in promoting accountability for mass atrocities.

Finally, as it is Ms. Bensouda last briefing of the Council on Libya, we would like to express our deepest appreciation to Ms. Bensouda for her tireless efforts on this file. We look forward to seeing you again in this Council for the Darfur briefing in June.