The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) informed [ICC statement] the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the ICC wants to significantly expand investigations in Libya in 2017. The ICC began [ICC materials] work in Libya in 2011 to investigate crimes against humanity, including murder and persecution. According to Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Libya is being made a priority due to “the widespread violence, lawlessness and impunity that currently prevails in many parts of the country; by a desire to provide justice for victims of Rome Statute crimes, and to alleviate the suffering of those civilians who continue to endure the tragic consequences of the conflict in Libya; and finally, by the opportunities for further investigation that the Office has identified.” By increasing the priority of Libya, the ICC will be applying for new arrest warrants and executing the new warrants in a timely manner. The ICC acknowledges that by making Libya a priority, it will have to allocate additional resources to Libya. Without receiving additional support from the UN Security Council, these resources will have to be removed from the investigations of other crimes. Therefore, the ICC is also requesting additional support from the Security Council.
Libya has remained politically unstable since the 2011 deposition of Muammar Gaddafi [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war. In August Libya’s government received a vote [JURIST report] of no confidence. In May Bensouda told [JURIST report] the UN Security Council that justice and accountability were crucial aspects of achieving and maintaining peace in the country. Also in May Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported [JURIST report] that Islamic State militants had executed 49 people in the Libyan city of Sirte since seizing control in February 2015. The UN released [JURIST report] a report in February detailing a “litany of violations and abuses” being committed by both state and non-state actors in the Libyan conflict that could amount to war crimes. In January the internationally-recognized Libyan parliament voted [JURIST report] to reject a proposal by the then-UN-supported unity government to curb the country’s political crisis.