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13 May 2014 - Security Council - Libya /ICC - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

I would like to thank the Prosecutor for her briefing. I would also like to reaffirm our full support to the International Criminal Court.

There are times in the history of international relations in which unity may be achieved to prevent or put an end to those atrocities, addressed in the terms of the Rome Statute, that offend the conscience of humankind. The announcement in February 2011, by the Libyan regime itself, that it was preparing to commit a bloodbath sparked such unity and the adoption of resolution 1970 (2011), which was a moment of unity in the Security Council. We have known other such moments with the adoption of resolutions on the Central African Republic, and the same issue arises today with regard to Syria.

The United Nations and regional organizations together condemned the brutal abuses committed by Libyan leaders. The International Criminal Court has been at the heart of the process of rounding up criminals, whatever their rank or affiliation.

When we take stock of the implementation of resolution 1970 (2011), there is a question that by its very nature remains unanswered: How many lives were saved? Without doubt, there were thousands, and history must give credit to the unanimity of the Security Council, the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.

Have we solved everything so far? Certainly not. Libya is going through a transition with its difficulties and uncertainties following 40 years of a mad dictatorship. Violent acts continue, including against diplomatic missions. But despite the catastrophic legacy of Al-Qadhafi-ism, Libyans demonstrate determination. They must continue to unite around a common political project to complete the transition to democracy. We wouldl ike to see a Government of national unity formed quickly by the elected Prime Minister, Mr. Ahmed Meitig. The Council has mobilized to assist Libya, and we must continue that mobilization.

The cooperation of Libya with the International Criminal Court is crucial to end the era of impunity in that country, which in 2011 emerged from 42 years of dictatorship. Despite its difficulties, Libya itself has requested to try Saif Al-Islam Al-Qadhafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi, in accordance with the complementarity principle of the Rome Statute. The Libyan authorities have thus expressed their willingness to assume responsibility. Tripoli’s two inadmissibility challenges are at the appeal stage, and I will therefore not comment on them.

Whatever the decision of the Court may be, Libya, pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011), must comply with the judges’ decisions. Libya’s compliance with its international obligations will be a further demonstration of its commitment to the rule of law. There is no competition between national justice and the International Criminal Court, either in Libya or elsewhere. Libya has clear obligations under resolution 1970 (2011). It has committed to respecting them, and it must do so. For other procedures, as Ms. Bensouda recalled, the signing of the burden-sharing memorandum authorities represents an innovative and positive approach. The memorandum must be implemented.

Beyond those symbolic cases, other challenges exist. The Prosecutor mentioned allegations of crimes committed by supporters of Al-Qadhafi who may today reside outside of Libyan territory and pose a threat to the new Libyan authorities. She can be assured of our support in that regard.

Light must also be shed on allegations of crimes such as those reportedly committed in Misrata, Tawergha and in Bani Walid. We regret that the return of communities in Tawergha to their villages has been delayed.

We also express our deep concern about the practice of torture and deaths in the illegal detention centres controlled by armed brigades. About 7,000 cases remain, including children. Those practices must end. Like the Prosecutor, we encourage the Libyan authorities to implement the law adopted in April 2013 criminalizing torture, forced disappearance and discrimination. The armed groups must be reminded that the fight against impunity applies to all.

The task today is to follow up that approach, including beyond the case of Libya. The continuing process also calls for Libya’s full cooperation with the Court, as well as the increased responsibility on the part of the Secretariat and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya in terms of the activities of the Court’s bodies, so as to ensure that this Mission effectively supports the fight against impunity.

We must also again restore unity in the Council so as to save human lives today in Syria, far beyond the political wrangling and in the name of humanity’s conscience, which animated the Council on 26 February 2011 (see S/PV.6491).

Learn more on Libya.



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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU