Libya: GCRL welcomes  ICC Prosecutor’s announcement to probe crimes against civilians

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The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties has welcomed the statements of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court( ICC), Fatou Bensouda, regarding the risks of impunity for serious ongoing crimes  in Libya and her commitment to investigate and prosecute those who commit crimes against civilians in the country.

 GCRL urged the international community to express full support for the Prosecutor  and  to ensure compliance with her mandate to end impunity for the world’s most serious crimes.

Highlighting the significance of Ms.Bensouda’s announcement, during the meeting held by the Security Council in New York, that the court team in Libya continues to monitor carefully the process of  investigation and is working on applications for new warrants of arrest, the Geneva Council stressed the importance of accountability for the ongoing crimes in Libya under international law, over a year since the offensive on Tripoli by the eastern-based militia known as the Libyan National Army, headed by General Khalifa Haftar.

GIRL joins the Prosecutor in voicing concerns over the high numbers of civilian casualties, due to airstrikes and shelling operations in separate areas of Libya

the heavy civilian casualties due to airstrikes and artillery strikes in separate areas which may amount to war crimes under the Rome Statute – the 1998 international agreement the Establishment of an International Criminal Court.

Ms. Bensouda emphasized that intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population, or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities is a war crime under the Rome Statute. Likewise, the Rome Statute prohibits the intentional directing of attacks against hospitals and other buildings protected under international law, such as those dedicated to religion or education.

The Geneva Council underlined the risks of the spread of arbitrary detention in Libya  without due process  as detainees are being held without lawful basis and denied their fundamental procedural rights. Thus, they are at greater risk of serious forms of mistreatment, including murder, torture, rape, and other forms of sexual violence.

Accordingly, GCRL valuates the Prosecutor’s call for serious and urgent reforms in many Libyan prisons and detention facilities to prevent future crimes, considering that accountability for alleged past violations is equally important.

It also urges the ICC Prosecutor, Ms.Fatou Bensouda to continue her efforts to stem impunity, hold accountable those alleged to be responsible for committing serious crimes against civilians and to uphold international justice.

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