Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the International Criminal Court Libya

Mark Simonoff
Minister Counselor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 9, 2018


Thank you, Madam President, and thank you, Madam Prosecutor, for briefing on your office’s work pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1970 to seek accountability for atrocity crimes committed in Libya.

As we have said many times before in these briefings, those responsible for crimes committed during the 2011 revolution must be held to account. The Security Council unanimously referred the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court to guarantee that the atrocities of the Qadhafi regime would not go unpunished and that those victims would receive a measure of justice. Today we reiterate our demand for accountability. We have called for Saif Al-Islam Qadhafi to be brought to The Hague to stand trial for crimes against humanity for the murder and persecution of hundreds of civilians in 2011. We note that the International Criminal Court has also issued an arrest warrant for Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, the former head of Libya’s notorious Internal Security Agency, in connection with the alleged torture and other serious crimes against individuals perceived to be enemies of the Qadhafi regime.

Madam President, turning to more recent events, the United States continues to have grave concerns about the human rights situation in Libya. We have noted the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Major al-Werfalli, who has been accused of unlawful killings. We remain deeply concerned by these allegations and reiterate our calls for the relevant Libyan authorities to ensure that al-Werfalli is held accountable for his alleged crimes in accordance with international law.

We are also horrified by appalling reports of human trafficking and an alleged slave market in Libya. We commend the Government of National Accord’s condemnation of slavery and welcome its ongoing investigation into reports of abuse of migrants. We urge the Government of National Accord to accelerate its efforts to hold those responsible to account and cooperate closely with the UN High Commission for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration to assist migrants and improve their living conditions. The United States supports ongoing efforts to identify and designate individuals and entities who threaten the peace, stability, or security of Libya, including through the commission of serious human rights abuses and violations. In particular, designations of those who engage in migrant smuggling or human traffickers are an important part of the international effort to promote accountability in Libya.

To counter these and other abuses in the long term, Libya must first overcome its political impasse in order to achieve a stable, unified government capable of ending impunity, defeating terrorism, safeguarding the rule of law, and providing security and prosperity for all Libyans. To that end, we continue to support UN Special Representative Salamé as he works to advance political reconciliation and help Libya prepare for free and fair elections in Libya by the end of this year that are both credible and conducted in a peaceful manner. We look forward to continued collaboration with our international partners, including through the work and attention of the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, to achieve a peaceful and prosperous Libya.

In closing, I would reiterate U.S. concerns regarding the ICC’s activity with respect to the situation in Afghanistan, including our longstanding and continuing principled objection to any ICC investigation or other activity concerning U.S. personnel absent U.S. consent or a UN Security Council referral.

Thank you, Madam President.