16 May 2012 - Security Council - Libya/ICC report - Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

I would
like to thank Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo for his third
report and for his presentation today. I would like to
make four comments.

First, France was one of the sponsors of
resolution 1970 (2011), which remains an example of
the Council’s capacity for unity and swift action and,
more generally, that of the international community.
Since mid-February 2011, given the atrocities
committed by Libyan leaders, the League of Arab
States, the African Union and the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation have condemned the acts of
violence committed by the Al-Qadhafi regime. On
26 February, resolution 1970 (2011) referred the
situation in Libya to the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court (ICC). That started a process that, by
showing unambiguously and without hesitation the
total isolation of the criminals, whatever their rank,
allowed for thousands of lives to be saved. At a time
when the Syrian authorities are pursuing violence
against civilian populations, often including children,
the Council must reiterate its message about the
primacy of the rule of law and combating impunity in
all circumstances.

Secondly, with regard to the work of the
International Criminal Court, following the adoption of
resolution 1970 (2011), the Prosecutor carried out his
inquiry in a three-month period. On 16 May 2011, he
submitted three requests for arrest warrants. On
27 June, the judges issued the warrants.
The International Criminal Court thereby showed
its ability to act swiftly and to exert pressure on those
who organized and committed atrocities. It also
enabled us to understand the machinery of the violence
in Libya. In that respect, the judicial decisions are
edifying: the arrest warrants for crimes against
humanity describe planned, systematic attacks against
civilians and the methods — forced disappearances,
arbitrary detention and torture — that were used to
crush all forms of opposition to Muammar Al-Qadhafi.
We have noticed that, more than a year after those
events, the international community sometimes tends
to forget history. Sometimes people tell us that
Muammar Al-Qadhafi was apparently ready to
negotiate and that the price paid to put an end to his
crimes was too high. But the arrest warrants and the
clarity with which they expose the orders given to
torment civilians are there to prevent such a rewriting
of history.

Given the atrocities, the international community
and the Security Council are able to turn to an
impartial, independent and permanent judicial body —
and therefore immediately operational — in order to
identify the main perpetrators of the crimes. In the
light of the Libyan example, inaction is more
inexcusable than ever.

Thirdly, on the follow-up of the process, in
November 2011, the Prosecutor promised us an overall
accounting of his activities. We have received it and we
thank him for it. Muammar Al-Qadhafi was killed and
two arrest warrants remain outstanding, one against
Saif Al-Islam Al-Qadhafi and the other against
Abdullah Al-Senussi. The Libyan authorities have
asked to try Saif Al-Islam Al-Qadhafi themselves. It is
a great tribute to that post-conflict country to want to
shoulder its responsibilities in that way. It is even a
lesson for other countries, such as the Sudan, which
has never expressed the will to itself try the three
people indicted by the ICC.

We welcome the fact that the Libyan Government
has chosen to submit its admissibility challenge in full
line with the Rome Statute. As the Prosecutor said, the
final decision on Saif Al-Islam Al-Qadhafi will be up
to the ICC’s judges, whose decisions must be enforced.
Libya’s respect for its international obligations, in
particular under the terms of resolution of 1970 (2011),
is a key indicator of its commitment to the rule of law.
With regard to Al-Senussi, the Court has asked
for his transfer, and France and Libya have asked for
his extradition. We are awaiting a response from
Mauritania.

The Prosecutor has also said that he would pursue
his inquiry into allegations of gender-based crimes
committed in Libya by Al-Qadhafi forces. We welcome
the attention paid to the dignity of victims.
With regard to persons detained by militias, the
Prosecutor referred to the report of the International
Commission of Inquiry on Libya (A/HRC/19/68) and
noted abuses that were committed. Like him, we
encourage the efforts by Libyan authorities to transfer
the detainees under their control. The Prosecutor also
talked about Tawarghan civilians who were the target
of violence in Misrata. We welcome discussions held
with the Government on preparing a global strategy to
bring an end to crimes and impunity in Libya.

With regard to crimes allegedly committed by
NATO, the Prosecutor’s report underscored that there
was neither proof nor elements suggesting that NATO
command intentionally planned or committed crimes
against the civilian population.
With regard to the five cases of airstrikes
identified by the Commission of Inquiry as having led
to civilian losses, the Libyan Prime Minister
undertook, here, before the Security Council, to carry
out his own inquiry. NATO has said that it would offer
its full support.

The process initiated by resolution 1970 (2011)
must continue. Combating impunity is essential for a
country like Libya that has embarked upon the path of
the rule of law. Incidentally, the Council has just
reaffirmed that proposition in resolution 2040 (2012),
to which the Prosecutor made reference. Pursuing that
process requires both the full cooperation of Libya
with the Office of the Prosecutor and the full support
of the Council, the Secretariat and the United Nations
Support Mission in Libya for the work of the ICC.

Dernière modification : 26/02/2015

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