Remarks by Ambassador Schulz during the Security Council VTC Meeting on the ICC Report on Libya, May 5, 2020

06.05.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

The ICC is a crucial pillar of a strong rules-based international order. We fully support the court, its impartial work and the values enshrined in the Rome Statute. In 2011, this Council referred the situation in Libya to the ICC so as to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes. Nine years later, the security and human rights situation in Libya remains extremely worrisome. We commend you, Madam Prosecutor, for your unwavering commitment to justice to the victims of atrocities in Libya.

We must not let impunity reign. Accountability is also essential for achieving a lasting, peaceful solution for the crisis in Libya. We could not agree more with your conclusion in your 19th report where you wrote, “it is regrettable that the arrest warrants issued by the court have still not been executed. The resulting impunity is an affront to the victims and their loved ones as it undermines any hope of achieving a lasting, peaceful solution to the crisis in Libya, of which justice is an essential element.”

We therefore encourage the prosecutor and the ICC to continue the investigations with regards to Libya and urge member states to execute the arrest warrants. Full cooperation and assistance of member states remains essential for the office of the prosecutor to fulfill its mandate and for the court to play the role in ending impunity for the most serious crimes that the international community assigns to it. It is this Council's responsibility to ensure that its referrals are followed up and implemented. In this context, it is encouraging to hear from Madam Prosecutor that your office is working on the applicability of new arrest warrants.

We welcome Libya's commitment to justice and call for further strengthening its cooperation with the court. The competent authorities are able to prosecute the most serious crimes under international law, so until the Libyan authorities are able to prosecute the most serious crimes under international law, the ICC must step in to ensure accountability.

Mr. President, as the fighting in Libya continues, the human cost continues to rise. The report by the office of the prosecutor has given us and reminded us of some of the numbers that are entailed in this. Reports indicate that since the offensive started on April 2019, more than 350 civilians have been killed. More than 300 injured and 140,000 displaced. UNSMIL reports that there have been 57 attacks on health care facilities in 2019, causing the death of 13 healthcare workers.

Attacks on civilians constitute a breach of international humanitarian law. Accountability for crimes under the Rome Statute and full respect of international law are prerequisites to sustainable peace in Libya. It is the duty of the international community to ensure there will be consequences for the perpetrators. The absence of accountability encourages repetition of crimes. We also are highly concerned about the systematic use of sexual violence, including against refugees and migrants in Libya, as reported by you, Madam Prosecutor. Let me therefore again recall the sanctions listing criteria introduced by this Council on sexual- and gender-based violence that clearly recognize the devastating effects of these heinous crimes on peace and reconciliation in Libya.

We note that the armed forces associated with General Haftar are responsible for the vast majority of attacks on civilians. More than 80 percent, according to a recent UNSMIL report. We also recall from earlier briefings by UNSMIL that the vast majority of attacks on healthcare facilities can be traced back to the LNA. The LNA's continue their blatant disregard for civilian life calls for a response by the ICC and we commend the ICC's work also in this regard.

Mr President, before concluding, let me state that full continued and steadfast support for the ICC and to the efforts of the prosecutor in establishing accountability to enforce the urgently needed respect for the rule of law remains absolutely essential. We call on the members of this Council and indeed on all UN member states to support the court and its efforts to end impunity and ensure accountability. Let me also again call on those who have not yet joined the Rome Statute to consider doing so.

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