The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC or the Court), Fatou Bensouda, presented her thirteenth report on Libya to the United Nations Security Council (the Security Council) earlier this week. Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) welcomes the Prosecutor’s statement of her continued commitment to prioritise its investigations in Libya in 2017. LFJL urges the Court to open new investigations into allegations of summary executions and crimes against civilians in Ganfouda, human trafficking and crimes committed by militias across the country.
On 26 February 2011, the Security Council referred the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the ICC. Following the referral, the ICC issued arrest warrants for three individuals: Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi. The arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi was withdrawn following his death and the case against Al-Senussi was dropped when the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC ruled it inadmissible. The Court also issued an arrest warrant for Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled under seal in 2013, which was recently reclassified.
The ICC’s investigation in Libya has so far focused on crimes committed during the revolution in 2011. In her statement to the Security Council, the Prosecutor indicated that her office is considering expanding its investigation. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) highlighted summary executions in Ganfouda and the trafficking of human beings as areas it is following closely. Widespread reports have documented the systematic ill-treatment of migrants in detention camps, including forced labour, extortion, torture and rape, as well as summary executions, attacks against civilians and the desecration of corpses in Ganfouda. LFJL Director, Elham Saudi, remarked, “In the current political climate, authorities in Libya are unable, or unwilling, to address the violations that continue to be perpetrated. The international community therefore cannot continue to turn a blind eye.”
LFJL repeats its call to the Court to expand its investigations, and open an investigation into crimes committed in Ganfouda, human trafficking and crimes committed by militias across the country.
LFJL expresses concern that those currently subject to ICC arrest warrants in Libya, namely Saif Gaddafi and Al-Tuhamy, have yet to be surrendered to the Court. LFJL encourages the Prosecutor to work with the Libyan state to secure their transfer to The Hague. The cooperation and support of Libyan actors in the apprehension and surrender of these individuals is vital to the Court’s continued functioning and credibility.
LFJL requests the Zintan Revolutionaries’ Military Council to surrender Saif Gaddafi to the ICC and encourages those who have information on the whereabouts of Al-Tuhamy to contact the OTP. LFJL requests Libyan authorities to cooperate fully with the OTP and provide any necessary assistance to the Court as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1970. Saudi stated, “Domestic support for the ICC’s mandate is critical for the Court to carry out its activities on the ground, and most importantly sends the message that impunity will not be tolerated.”