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National statements

Libya - International Criminal Court

Thematic issues

  • Accountability
  • Darfur
  • Human Rights
  • Humanitarian
  • Impunity
  • Justice
  • Libya
  • Rule of Law


Statement by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

First and foremost, Australia wishes to thank the Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, for her briefing on the work of her Office in relation to its ongoing efforts to ensure accountability for serious international crimes committed in Libya. And for her determined efforts on behalf of justice and the rule of law.

The Prosecutor's six-monthly briefings on both Libya and Darfur are integral to ensuring that this Council is fully appraised of the efforts undertaken by the Court at the request of the Council, to ensure that the Council is in the best possible position to provide the support it must to the Court's ongoing efforts.

As the Council's meeting on 4 November underscored, there is reason to be deeply concerned by the deteriorating security situation in Libya. There is of course no military solution to the current crisis. And all parties must commit to an unconditional ceasefire and to political dialogue.

The Prosecutor's report highlights her Office's concerns that Rome Statute crimes continue to be committed. Of particular concern are the reports of attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Tripoli and Benghazi, ongoing unlawful imprisonment and mistreatment of detainees, and the unresolved situation of forcibly displaced Tawerghan civilians.

It is imperative that all parties adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. And this Council must do what it can to prevent the commission of future Rome Statute crimes. The ICC also has a role to play. We support the Office of the Prosecutor's ongoing efforts to monitor the situation in the challenging security situation.

As the Prosecutor has said this morning, the present turmoil in Libya makes the pursuit of justice very difficult. But such challenges make the rule of law more important. Justice is integral to public confidence in national institutions and leaders. Justice provides a pathway to breaking cycles of violence. And, delivered efficiently and fairly, it has the potential to have a critical deterrent effect.

In this context, Australia urges Libya to do all that it can to meet its obligations to cooperate with the ICC and to ensure that it continues to investigate and prosecute other serious international crimes committed in Libya that fall outside the Court's jurisdiction.

We welcome advice of the ongoing discussions between the Office of the Prosecutor and the Libyan Government on burden sharing. We hope these discussions will bear fruit and thank the Office for its demonstrated willingness to work with the Government of Libya in an effort to ensure that as many cases as possible are addressed.

In relation to the ICC's share of the burden, we note the Prosecutor's advice regarding its ongoing investigations in relation to a second case, and its collection of evidence against other possible suspects outside of Libya. For our part, Australia will work with other ICC States Parties to ensure that the Office has the necessary resources under the Court's budget to progress these efforts. In turn, we call on relevant States, including Libya's neighbours, to deny safe haven to those accused of committing serious international crimes during the violence in 2011 and to cooperate with the Court.

The ICC cannot, of course, deliver justice alone. We support the Prosecutor's call for Libya to share its strategy for investigating and prosecuting serious international crimes. This will demonstrate that justice remains a key priority, underpinning efforts to ensure peace and stability in Libya.

A key step in this plan must be the surrender of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to the Court, consistent with the Appeals Chamber's decision of 21 May and Resolutions 1970 and 2174. Libya has followed the Rome Statute in challenging the admissibility of the case. We trust it will now follow the Court's decision made pursuant to the Statute.

The international community also has a role to play. Australia notes the call made by the Prosecutor for Libya to be provided with the necessary support to deliver justice, including the possible formation of a contact group on justice issues. Australia is interested in discussing what assistance can be provided to help Libya create the conditions that will facilitate the delivery of justice in a manner that is consistent with international standards.

Of course, it is essential that this Council also plays its part. The Council's role is not over once it adopts a resolution to refer a situation to the ICC. A referral resolution is just one step on the path to justice. This Council, as it continues to consider the situation in Libya, must not lose sight of the importance of ending impunity and the role it is obliged to play in that regard.

Thank you.

Last Updated: 5 June 2015
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