7 November 2012 - Security Council - Libya/Report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, chargé d’Affaires a.i. of France to the United Nations
like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, Sir,
on your assumption of the presidency of the Security
Council and to assure you of our full support. I join
previous speakers in thanking Ambassador Rosenthal
and his team for their work presiding over the Council
I thank Ms. Fatou Bensouda for her report and her
briefing today. The points that she made today ref lect
the situation in Libya well. As Ms. Bensouda noted, the
country is in transition after 42 years of dictatorship.
Pro-Al-Qadhafi militias remain active. Not all
areas are under control. Tragic events, including the
assassination of the United States Ambassador, have
shaken the country. But the Libyan authorities have
persistently reiterated their commitment to pursuing
the democratization of the country, and the Council is
committed to helping them. Libya has asked to try Saif
Al-Islam Al-Qadhafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi itself.
That is an option created by the Rome Statute. It is also
a tribute to that post-conf lict country that it has thus
endeavoured to shoulder its responsibilities.
We are pleased that the Libyan Government
has chosen to avail itself of its right to challenge the
admissibility of the case before the International
Criminal Court (ICC), in full conformity with the
Statute. As the Prosecutor has reminded us, the final
decision on the case of Saif Al-Islam Al-Qadhafi will
end up before the judges of the ICC, whose decisions
will have to be implemented. Libya’s respect for its
international obligations, in particular the provisions
of resolution 1970 (2011), is a key indicator of its
commitment to the rule of law. It serves as a lesson
for other countries, such as the Sudan, that refuse to
engage in judicial processes of the Court, contrary to
Security Council decisions.
I will not comment further on the inadmissibility
proceedings now being considered by the judges; the
decision is up to them. But we have no doubt that Libya,
in conformity with Council resolution 1970 (2011), will
comply with their conclusion.
With respect to the persons detained by militias,
the Prosecutor has noted atrocities committed against
Tawergha civilians, who were targeted by violence in
We welcome the Prosecutor’s discussions with
the Government on a global strategy to bring an end
to crimes and impunity in Libya. That means that
perpetrators must be prosecuted and must benefit from
all of the guarantees of a fair trial.
The Prosecutor has also indicated that she will
continue her inquiry into alleged crimes of sexual
violence committed in Libya by Al-Qadhafi’s forces
between 15 February 2011 and the end of the conflict. We commend the attention paid to the dignity of
France was one of the sponsors of resolution 1970
(2011), which remains an example of the ability of the
Council, and the international community as a whole,
to act rapidly and in unity. In view of the atrocities
committed by Libyan leaders, members of the League
of Arab States, the African Union, the European Union
and the Organization of the Islamic Conference all
came together to condemned the atrocities.
Resolution 1970 (2011) referred the situation in
Libya to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal
Court and made up the heart of the process that
unambiguously marked the total isolation of criminals
regardless of rank. It enabled thousands of human lives
to be saved.
Lessons must be drawn from our experience
in Libya. First, given the atrocities committed, the
international community and the Council can make use
of an impartial, independent judicial institution that is
permanent and immediately operational, in order to
identify the main perpetrators of crimes.
After Libya’s example, it has been noted that
inaction is more than ever inexcusable. At a time when
the Syrian authorities are perpetrating violence against
civilians, the Council must reiterate its message on
the primacy of the rule of law and the fight against
impunity at every opportunity.
In order to be effective, we must regain our clarity.
It is not the threat of the ICC that contributes to violence.
It is the hope retained by criminals that they will avoid
the hand of justice. Hesitation and silence on our part
do not help to save lives.
The second lesson is that the International
Criminal Court has demonstrated its ability to swiftly
act in Libya. I wish to pay tribute to Ms. Bensouda,
her predecessor, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo, and their teams,
whose work has enabled us to understand the workings
of the violence in Libya.
An examination of the arrest warrrants on crimes
against humanity shows descriptions of planned and
systematic attacks against civilians and the methods
used, including forced disappearance, arbitrary
detention and torture, which were used to crush all
forms of opposition. After the fact, the international
community sometimes tends to forget history. The
arrest warrants, which expose the orders that were given to terrify and assassinate civilians, are there to
prevent such rewriting of history.
The third lesson is that the Council must be more
rigorous. It must improve its planning efforts as well
as its cooperation with the ICC when it becomes so
involved. That is also a lesson that my delegation would
like to take away from the Council’s open debate on its
interaction with the ICC (see S/PV.6849), organized by
the Guatemalan presidency. We must be able, perhaps
by modifying the terms of reference of the Informal
Working Group on International Tribunals and as part
of the sanctions committees, to better manage questions
of cooperation and non-cooperation.
The process initiated by resolution 1970 (2011)
must run its course. The fight against impunity is
crucial for a country such as Libya that has chosen the
direction of the rule of law. That is what the Council
has also underscored in resolutions 1973 (2011), 2009
(2011) and 2040 (2012). Continuing that process
requires both Libya’s full cooperation with the Office
of the Prosecutor and the full support of the Council,
the Secretariat and Mr. Tarek Mitri, Head of the United
Nations Support Mission in Libya, in the efforts of the