Thank you, Mr. President. We are pleased to welcome Ms. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to the Council and would like to thank her for the briefing on her sixth report pursuant to Resolution 1970.
The United States welcomes the commitment and efforts of the government and people of Libya during their country’s transition following forty years of dictatorship. We recognize that the process of building a democratic and secure nation is a long-term endeavor with many challenges. An important part of this process is in the field of the rule of law, where Libya will need to continue to build on ongoing efforts to bolster accountability mechanisms that help support and develop a more robust, fair, and effective system of justice.
In this regard, we welcome Libya’s continued commitment to fulfilling its international obligations, including those related to the ICC under Resolution 1970. We also welcome Libya’s continuing cooperation in the ongoing proceedings before the ICC. We note with interest the recent memorandum of understanding on burden sharing between Libyan authorities and the ICC regarding investigations and prosecutions.
Under the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court is complementary to national jurisdiction. The Pre-Trial Chamber’s October 11 decision granting Libya’s admissibility challenge in the case against Abdullah al-Senussi – the first such decision by the ICC – is a significant development in this regard. We note that the Court found that Libyan authorities are taking concrete and progressive steps in the domestic proceedings against Mr. al-Senussi and that Libya had demonstrated that it is willing and able to genuinely investigate and prosecute the case.
Mr. President, in these proceedings, we are seeing the principle of complementarity applied in the context of a country transitioning out of conflict. The Prosecutor’s report notes a number of efforts that Libya has undertaken to develop its justice institutions and mechanisms. These include Libya’s new Transitional Justice Law, the Fact Finding and Reconciliation Commission, and a new draft law on rape as a war crime. We welcome these and other initiatives, including those that help build much-needed capacity in the justice system so that justice can be delivered more effectively. Finally, we would like to emphasize the Libyan government must work to ensure that those in detention centers are not held without due process and that they are treated humanely, including in accordance with Libya’s April 2013 law criminalizing torture.
In the end, much of the responsibility for ensuring accountability for crimes in Libya will fall to domestic authorities. Even where the ICC has jurisdiction, it cannot pursue every case, nor is it charged with general monitoring or oversight of Libya’s overall progress in implementing justice and rule of law initiatives.
In light of this mandate, we appreciate the Prosecutor’s statement on how she intends to focus her Office’s work as the Court carries out its responsibility to investigate and prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for crimes.
The United States stands ready to assist Libya as it works to reform its justice sector, strengthen the rule of law, and advance human rights. We strongly believe that these and other areas of Libya’s transition need to be fully addressed. We look forward to working with the international community, including UNSMIL and other international partners, in a targeted and coordinated way to ensure adequate support to Libya as it undertakes these critical efforts.
The United States also looks forward to continuing our active engagement with the Office of the Prosecutor and the ICC, consistent with our law and policy, to advance accountability for atrocities.
Thank you, Mr. President.
- Cross posted from U.S. Mission to the UN