Libya: impunity feeds insecurity and instability [fr]
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 8 November 2017
I thank Prosecutor Bensouda for her fourteenth report and for her briefing this morning. I would also like to reaffirm France’s support for the Prosecutor, as well as for the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a whole, in the implementation of resolution 1970 (2011), which referred the situation in Libya to the ICC. Through that resolution, the Council sought to demonstrate its trust in the jurisdiction of the ICC by assigning it a mission of the highest importance, namely, to ensure that those responsible for the most serious crimes affecting the international community do not go unpunished, as stated in the Preamble of the Rome Statute.
We are pleased to note the ongoing efforts of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to conduct its investigations in the context of the generally difficult and insecure situation in Libya. Given the scale of the challenges facing the Court there, the support of the Security Council for the Court’s action, as well as the efforts of the United Nations and of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, are essential. We welcome the personal mobilization of the Secretary-General to that effect and the invaluable contribution of his Special Representative, Mr. Ghassan Salamé, to the fight against impunity in Libya. We assure them of our full support in their difficult task.
As we seek to build on the various initiatives and the meeting at La Celle Saint-Cloud under the auspices of President Macron last summer, all efforts must now be geared towards supporting United Nations mediation with a view to reaching a consensus on the revision of the Skhirat Agreement. The French presidency of the Security Council also endorsed the road map of the Special Representative in a statement on 10 October (S/PRST/2017/19), and welcomed the first discussions between the House of Representatives and the Council of State in late September, under the auspices of the Special Representative. Held in Tunis, those negotiations were constructive, and the next steps of the mediation should enable us to finalize work on the revision of the agreement.
In the context of the mediation efforts led by Mr. Ghassan Salamé, it is important to provide concrete support to the Libyan authorities, particularly in the areas of justice and in restoring the rule of law. Beyond those general observations on the situation in Libya, I would like to make three more specific remarks.
First of all, I wish to recall that the ongoing investigations by the OTP require the full cooperation of all stakeholders. France is of the view that the cooperation of Libyan authorities, States parties to the Rome Statute and non-party States — especially members of the Council — with the Court is crucial in order for it to carry out its work in total security and pursuant to the mandate entrusted to it by the Rome Statute and by the Council, as seen in paragraph 16 of the report.
It is essential to strengthen collaboration between all States involved — whether they are parties to the Rome Statute or not — in order to rapidly provide the necessary support to the OTP so that it is able to discharge its mission. In that regard, the cooperation of the Tunisian, Dutch, Italian and British authorities deserves special mention.
With regard to the sections of the report that address ongoing investigations, France takes note of the arrest warrant ordered by the Court against Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli on 15 August. We urge the Libyan National Army, as the Prosecutor has done, to surrender Mr. Al-Werfalli to the Libyan authorities as soon as possible so that he can be handed over to the ICC, pursuant to their obligations to cooperate with the Court under resolution 1970 (2011). That is an important step in the fight against impunity and towards impartial justice in Libya. France also wishes to reiterate its call for cooperation with the ICC in order to ensure that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled are handed over to the Court without further delay.
Finally, with regard to the projections outlined in the report of the Office of the Prosecutor, we take note of the OTP’s commitment to continue to make Libya a priority during 2018 and, if required, to order new arrest warrants.
We also welcome the OTP’s desire to conduct investigations into the disturbing situation of crimes linked to smuggling and the trafficking of persons in Libya, which constitutes a direct threat to stability in the country, as Mr. Ghassan Salamé highlighted in the Council in August (see S/PV.2032). France shares that concern and is committed to act together with our partners to counter smuggling networks and disrupt their economic model in Libya and throughout the region within the framework of the joint statement of 28 August entitled “Addressing the Challenge of Migration and Asylum”.
The current situation in Libya once again points to the fact that impunity feeds insecurity and instability. That reality obliges us therefore to respond to the challenges facing us in Libya; they can only be addressed through effective cooperation with the ICC and the support of the Security Council. France remains ready to mobilize its efforts to that end.