Statement by Ambassador Günter Sautter in the Security Council VTC meeting on ICC Libya, November 10

10.11.2020 - Speech

Check against delivery

I would like to make four points, the first one is on recent political developments in Libya. Foreign Minister Maas said yesterday that the ceasefire agreement signed on the 23rd of October is “a ray of hope for the people of Libya.” We hope that the same can be said about yesterday's launch of the Libyan Political Forum in Tunis. It is now important that the Libyan parties abide by their commitments. The Security Council has called upon all Libyan parties to do so, and it is important that this now happens. It is equally important that international actors support the ceasefire. This was made very clear in Tunis yesterday by the Secretary General. This is also a strong reminder of the commitment of the participants of the Berlin Process to comply, namely with the arms embargo. The arms embargo must now be fully implemented. This was discussed yesterday by the Libya sanctions Committee and we will continue to follow up on this.

My second point is on the work of the International Criminal Court regarding Libya. Nine years ago, the situation in Libya was referred to the International Criminal Court because of the extremely worrisome security and human rights situation. We commend you, Madam Prosecutor, for your unwavering commitment to offering justice to the victims of atrocities in Libya. We must not let impunity persist. We therefore encourage you to continue your important work, in particular with regard to the situation in Libya.

We also welcome the visit of the Office of the Prosecutor to Libya during the reporting period. We appreciate the cooperation with EUROPOL and UNSMIL, the letter being instrumental in facilitating the ICC's work on the ground.

We also welcome Libya's commitment to justice, and we appreciate the efforts in the collection and preservation of evidence, including with regard to the recently discovered mass graves. We call on Libya to further strengthen its cooperation with the Court. The recent signing of the ceasefire agreement provides a unique opportunity for further cooperation.

My third point is on the current situation concerning human rights and international humanitarian law. The civilian population is suffering because of the ongoing rise of COVID-19 cases across the country. It continues to suffer severely because of mines, unexploded ordinance and victim-operated explosive devices left by the fighting. We remain horrified by the discovery of multiple mass graves in Tarhouna. The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice. We therefore commend UNSMIL for providing technical support to the Libyan Government in its investigations. The establishment of an international fact-finding mission to investigate the human rights situation across the country and to document violations and abuses is a welcome development towards accountability and towards bringing perpetrators to justice.

We remain deeply concerned about reports of human conditions in official and unofficial detention centers in eastern Libya, as well as allegations of torture and other serious crimes. We call on the relevant authorities to allow the ICC access to these detention centers and to fully cooperate with the Court.

The attacks on civilians committed during the fighting constitute a breach of international humanitarian law. It is the duty of the international community to ensure that there will be consequences for the perpetrators.

My last remark is on cooperation between the International Criminal Court and UN Member States. Madam Prosecutor, we reiterate our full, continued and steadfast support to the International Criminal Court, undeterred by any measures of threats against the Court. By giving our full support to the Court and promoting its universal membership, we defend the progress we have made together towards an international rules-based order, of which internal justice is an indispensable pillar.

We made this point before: we urge all member states to execute outstanding arrest warrants. The lack of progress that we see here is not acceptable.

Let me conclude by saying that we again call on those Member States that have not yet joined the Rome Statute to consider doing so.


Top of page