International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has revealed that she is content with the Libyan crime investigation’s steady progress.
In her brief to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday, Bensouda revealed that her office expects to issue arrest warrants for the perpetrators of crimes as far back as 2011. Furthermore, she was pleased to announce that she was able to send an ICC team to Libya for the first time in almost six years.
While there has been a significant and steady progress, several challenges still remain. These include co-operating with the Libyan government to hand over war criminal, Mahmoud Al-Werfalli (who has not been captured despite having numerous arrest warrants out against him), to the ICC which is based in The Netherlands.
Bensouda stated that Al-Werfalli had allegedly recently murdered almost a dozen people in Benghazi, and that her office will have no qualms about issuing arrest warrants if it means they will assist in ending violence in Libya. However, UNSC’s Libyan ambassador, Al-Mahdi Al-Mijirbi, said that the government “is not delaying handing over wanted criminals nor is it supporting impunity, rather the lack of security and the current challenges in the country are hindering such a process”.
It was the events of February 2011 which led the UNSC to refer Libya to the ICC; Gaddafi’s clampdown on anti-government sympathisers and Libya’s subsequent violent uprising were the root of many crimes that caught their attention. Since 2014, opposing parliaments and governments have run Libya, and attempts by the UN to unify the government in 2015 were unsuccessful.
Bensouda noted that turbulent political situation in Libya, coupled with perpetual violations of human rights (such as alleged slave auctions) are “an assault on the oneness of humanity”. Despite this, Bensouda remains hopeful for the future of the investigation.