International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda called Wednesday before the UN Security Council for the execution of three outstanding arrest warrants for Libyans accused of various war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Bensouda appeared before the Security Council to deliver her seventeenth annual report on the situation in Libya, which the ICC has been monitoring. In her statement, she focused on the difficulties the ICC has had bringing a group of men accused of crimes against humanity to justice. The ICC has issued multiple warrants for the arrests of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi (the son of the country’s previous ruler), Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, and Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli over the last decade, accusing the men of various crimes ranging from unlawful imprisonment of political foes to torture and mass murder. The ICC has been unable to apprehend any of the men, however, all three of whom remain at large in Libya. Bensouda said that “the execution of these arrest warrants depends on the cooperation of States” and that Libya’s refusal to extradite the three men has made their prosecution impossible. Moreover, the continued freedom of the men “sends a message to victims that alleged perpetrators can evade justice and continue to commit crimes with impunity.” Bensouda called upon the international community to help pressure Libya into arresting the men.
Bensouda’s trip to New York was not without its own risk, as the US State Department revoked her visa in April in retaliation for the ICC’s investigation of war crimes committed by members of the US military in Afghanistan.