The situation in Libya highlights a vicious circle of impunity and instability [fr]
Statement by Mrs Sheraz Gasri, Legal Adviser of the Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 2 November 2018
Mr. President, you can count on France’s support for your presidency this month.
I thank Prosecutor Bensouda and her teams for their report and today’s briefing. As this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Rome Statute, France wishes to reaffirm its complete and full support for the International Criminal Court, as President Emmanuel Macron strongly reiterated during the general debate of the General Assembly (see A/73/PV.6). The Court must be able to act and exercise its prerogatives without hindrance, in an independent and impartial manner, within the framework the Rome Statute. In that regard, France reaffirms its support for the Prosecutor in the implementation of resolution 1970 (2011), which refers the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court. That was our conviction then and it remains so today. Any lasting peace in Libya requires justice to be rendered to all the victims. The Court plays a crucial role in that regard.
Today, Libya is in a fragile and volatile situation, as demonstrated by the clashes between militias in Tripoli in late August and the attack on the oil crescent in June. Economic predation is jeopardizing the political process and the country’s emergence from the crisis. The humanitarian situation is also worrying, in particular the situation of internally displaced persons, migrants and refugees.
In political terms, Libyans need prospects. The Libyan people want elections. The enthusiasm for voter registration and the initial successes of municipal elections have been unmistakable in that regard. In that context, our action must continue along two lines. The first, which must remain our priority, is the fight against all those who endanger the fragile political balances and exploit the situation to divert Libya’s economic resources; and the second is full support for the efforts of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Mr. Ghassan Salamé, to advance the democratic transition in Libya. We commend the personal efforts of the Secretary-General and the valuable contribution of his Special Representative.
An agreement on the way forward was reached on 29 May in Paris by the key Libyan players. Compliance with the commitments made therein is essential to moving beyond the status quo, which only prolongs instability. The Palermo conference organized in Italy should make it possible to follow up on those commitments in the presence of Libyan stakeholders. It is essential that we support all such efforts and demonstrate real unity to encourage Libyans to maintain the course set by Special Representative Ghassan Salamé. We must impose sanctions against those who carry out attacks against Tripoli, as the Special Representative has asked us to do. Beyond those general observations, we would like to make three more specific remarks.
First, the ongoing investigations of the Office of the Prosecutor require the complete and full cooperation of all stakeholders. Cooperation with the Court by the Libyan authorities is essential in that regard. It is crucial to consolidate the collaboration of all the States concerned, whether or not they are parties to the Rome Statute, in order to provide the long-term support that the Prosecutor needs. As the Prosecutor mentions in her report, that cooperation can take place through various means, such as the seizure of evidence, the freezing of certain assets and, of course, the arrest and surrender of fugitives. I would also like to express my delegation’s appreciation for the support and cooperation provided by UNSMIL and the Libyan Prosecutor General to the Office of the Prosecutor.
Secondly, with regard to the elements of the report relating to ongoing investigations, France deplores the failure to date to execute the arrest warrants issued by the Court. It is important that those arrest warrants be executed. Let me reiterate the importance of ensuring that all the most serious crimes committed in Libya since 2011 and those that continue to be committed today, including crimes committed by Da’esh, can be investigated and prosecuted.
Thirdly, and this will be my final point, we welcome the attention paid by the Prosecutor with regard to the trafficking of human beings and the smuggling of migrants, which constitute a direct threat to peace and stability in Libya. We welcome the rigorous approach adopted by the Office of the Prosecutor. We hope that it will make it possible to effectively combat impunity for crimes committed against migrants. The Security Council has repeatedly reiterated the importance of prosecuting and trying the perpetrators of such acts. The Council must also assume its responsibility by imposing, under the existing United Nations regime, individual sanctions against those responsible for the trafficking of human beings and the smuggling of migrants. France will continue to actively engage with its partners in that direction.
To conclude, the situation in Libya once again highlights a vicious circle of impunity and instability. That reality requires us to provide answers to the challenges facing the Libyan people and authorities. Those challenges must be addressed through efficient cooperation with the Court and with the support of the Security Council.