The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bon Bensouda, has on Tuesday expressed concern about the escalation of violence in Libya.
She remarked, “I am deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in Libya in the context of the resurging conflict arising from the advance of the Libyan National Army (“LNA”) towards Tripoli, and related fighting with forces aligned with the Government of National Accord (“GNA”).”
“As Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”), I call on all parties and armed groups involved in the fighting to fully respect the rules of international humanitarian law. This includes taking all necessary measures to protect civilians, and civilian infrastructures, including schools, hospitals and detention centres. I urge all parties to the conflict not to commit any crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction, and in particular, for commanders to ensure that their subordinates do not do so.”
She continued to remind all parties that any person who incites or engages in such crimes including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing in any other manner to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court is liable to prosecution.
She added: “I also remind all commanders, military or civilian, who have effective control, authority and command over their forces that they themselves may be held criminally responsible for crimes committed by their subordinates. The law is clear: where commanders knew or should have known that crimes are being committed, and they failed and/or neglected to take all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent or repress their commission, they may be held individually criminally accountable.”
“Following the referral of the situation of Libya by the UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011), and in accordance with my mandate under the Rome Statute, my Office is currently investigating several cases in the Libya situation, and continues to actively monitor the developing situation in the country. I will not hesitate to expand my investigations and potential prosecutions to cover any new instances of crimes falling within the Court’s jurisdiction, with full respect for the principle of complementarity. No one should doubt my determination in this regard.”
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC’s jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d’Ivoire; Mali; Georgia and Burundi. The Office iscurrently analysing the recent decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber II in response to Prosecutor’s request for authorisation to commence an investigation into the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and will consider all available legal remedies. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Bangladesh/Myanmar; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine; the Philippines; Nigeria; Ukraine, and Venezuela.