8 May 2013 - Security Council - Libya/ICC report - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I thank the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for her report and briefing and, in that connection, I reiterate our full support to her. It is particularly useful that this debate was preceded yesterday by an informal interactive dialogue, which allowed us to prepare for this meeting.
The aspects touched upon today by the Prosecutor provide insight into the situation in Libya. That country is in transition after 42 years of dictatorship. Violent acts continue, including against diplomatic missions. However, the Libyan authorities, including Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, have consistently reiterated their commitment to pursuing the democratization of the country, and the Council stands ready to help them.
Libya, despite its difficulties, 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-conflict country that it has endeavoured thereby to shoulder its responsibilities.
We welcome the Libyan Government’s choice to avail itself of its right to challenge the admissibility of the case before the ICC, in full conformity with the Statute and thus in full conformity with resolution 1970 (2011) . As the Prosecutor reminded us, by law the final decision will be up to the judges of the ICC. We have no doubt that Libya, pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011), will respect that decision. Libya’s upholding of its international obligations is a key indicator of its commitment to the rule of law. From that perspective, we must not speak about competition between Libya and the ICC. Libya has obligations under resolution 1970 (2011) and is upholding them; that is the heart of the matter. That is also an example for other countries such as the Sudan that refuse to engage in judicial proceedings with the Court, which runs counter to Council decisions.
The Prosecutor also indicated that she would continue her investigation regarding allegations of sexual crimes committed in Libya by members of Al-Qadhafi’s entourage, who may be outside of Libya. She can be assured of our support. The use of rape as a weapon of terror and a weapon of war is a crime to which the Council attaches particular importance.
With regard to the other allegations, we support the Prosecutor in the discussions she is holding with the Government on a comprehensive strategy aimed at putting an end to crime and impunity in Libya. As noted by Ms. Bensouda yesterday, the Council may have a role to play in that regard by stressing, in its deliberations and in its directives to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the issue of the security of Libyan judges and prosecutors. That is an issue that is part and parcel of all efforts to reform local judicial institutions.
Resolution 1970 (2011) remains an example of the capacity of the Security Council and, more generally, the international community to act in a unified and swift manner. Given the crimes perpetrated by Libyan officials, both the United Nations and regional organizations condemned the atrocities that were perpetrated. Resolution 1970 (2011), referring the situation in Libya to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, is at the heart of the process for identifying perpetrators, whatever their rank. It has allowed us to save thousands of human lives.
Today follow-up must be provided to that approach. The Council must be rigorous and better organize its cooperation with the ICC when it refers cases to it. That is one of the lessons that we draw from the public debate on interaction with the ICC held last year under the auspices of Guatemala, as well as yesterday’s dialogue. We must be ready to better and more quickly deal with the requests for support and cooperation made by the Court. The easiest thing, of course, would be to request experts to deal with the issue in the framework of the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals. We must also ensure that, in the framework of the Sanctions Committees, we respond to requests for information from the Court.
The process initiated by resolution 1970 (2011) must run its course. Indeed, that is what the Council reiterated in its resolutions 1973 (2011), 2009 (2011), 2040 (2012) and 2095 (2013). That requires both full cooperation on the part of Libya with the Office of the Prosecutor and full support from the Council. It also requires further consultation by the Secretariat and Mr. Tarek Mitri, the head of UNSMIL, with the Prosecutor, so as to ensure that UNSMIL contributes to combating impunity and supports the activities of the ICC. We must ensure, during the next UNSMIL briefing, that the Mission describes to the Council the synergies involved in upholding the mandates of each institution.
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