TUNIS, JANUARY 23 – The UN Special envoy for Libya Martin Kobler had an exchange of views with the International Criminal Court general prosecutor, Fatou B. Bensouda. “Offered assistance to bring crimes by human traffickers against migrants to the attention of the Court”, Kobler said in statement on Twitter.
“Abuses might constitute crimes against humanity. Accountability is critical!”, Kobler added.
The Court was recently criticized by Human Rights Watch for failing to launch new investigations into war crimes alleged to have taken place in Libya. In its World Report 2017, HRW has accused militias affiliated to rival Libyan governments of engaging in a variety of human rights abuses which the ICC should be investigating.
“Abuses by armed groups in Libya have gone unchecked for the past five years as warlords grow stronger, while conditions for ordinary civilians deteriorate,” said Eric Goldstein, HRW’s deputy Middle East director.
The ICC last issued indictments against former Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi and Abdullah Senussi five years ago. According to ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who was present at the UN Security Council last November, the ICC has always intended to open fresh investigations in 2017 as new evidence was gathered. She had previously blamed the limited progress on a lack of resources and the continued instability in Libya and called for collaboration between local and international powers to bring criminals to justice. The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has published a monthly report detailing civilian causalities during the course of hostilities despite the difficulty in gathering data.
HRW argues that the militias continue “to flout international law with impunity” by their actions, including unlawful killings, abductions and indiscriminate shelling. The armed forces and prison authorities, it says, continue to detain and torture thousands of people arbitrarily, including women and children. (@alebal)