Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Libya (via VTC)

Mark Simonoff
Minister Counselor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 5, 2020


Thank you, Mr. President.

It is shameful that several of the most notorious perpetrators of crimes against the Libyan people this past decade continue to enjoy impunity. Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, and Abdullah al-Senussi should face justice for their alleged crimes. We call on those who harbor Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and Mahmoud al-Werfalli to deliver them to Libyan authorities immediately. We also call on those who shelter Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, the former head of Libya’s notorious Internal Security Agency, to end their protection of this perpetrator. We are monitoring the status of the Supreme Court of Libya’s case against Abdullah Al-Senussi.

Accountability for the architects of Libya’s darkest days would bring justice to the victims of these atrocities and their families and help ensure they are not forgotten. It would also deliver a powerful deterrent message to potential future abusers – and to those involved in the current conflict who may be guilty of atrocities. The U.S. government continues to receive other reports of human rights abuses in Libya occurring today. Accounts include arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, unlawful detention, torture, human trafficking, and sexual violence. The conflict in Libya is destabilizing the region, and has displaced many, including migrants and refugees.

Libyan militia groups and security forces on all sides – as well as their international backers – stand accused of perpetrating these human rights abuses. We are deeply alarmed and continue to call for de-escalation and a ceasefire to end these abuses and permit Libyans to address the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Libya’s political and security instability has created an environment conducive to the commission of human rights abuses. In an effort to address this environment, the United States continues to oppose foreign military intervention in Libya and support a rapid return to a political process, and we thank Acting Special Representative Stephanie Williams and her team for their ongoing efforts to secure a negotiated political solution to the crisis.

The United States has historically been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of meaningful accountability and justice for victims of atrocities through appropriate mechanisms. Perpetrators of atrocity crimes must face justice, but we must also be careful to use the right tools for each situation.

I must reiterate our longstanding and principled objection to any assertion of ICC jurisdiction over nationals of States that are not party to the Rome Statute, absent a UN Security Council referral or the consent of such States. Our concerns regarding the ICC and the situation in Afghanistan are well-known. Our position on the ICC in no way diminishes the United States’ commitment to supporting accountability for atrocity crimes, violations of international humanitarian law, and gross violations of human rights.

Thank you, Mr. President.