International Criminal Court to Prioritise Libya

34.       The Office has received reports indicating that hundreds of Derna's inhabitants have been arrested attempting to leave the city.

35.       I join UN Special Representative, Mr Salamé in condemning recent airstrikes in a residential neighbourhood in Derna that appear to have resulted in the tragic deaths of civilians, including at least 12 children and women.

36.       Finally, reports have also emerged that 36 male corpses were found in the town of al-Abyar, 50 kilometers east of Benghazi. This is also of grave concern. The bodies were reportedly handcuffed, showed signs of torture, and displayed bullet wounds to the head.

37.       I remind each and every combatant engaged in fighting in Libya that my Office remains seized of the Situation in Libya, and if their actions amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity, they can be prosecuted.

38.       These recent attacks and the reports of the finding of 36 corpses bearing signs of torture and execution, compel me, once again, to bring the provisions of the Rome Statute relating to the responsibility of commanders and other superiors to the attention of senior commanders and officials across Libya.

39.       Persons acting as military commanders or as superiors can be criminally responsible for crimes under the Rome Statute committed by forces or subordinates under their effective command and control, or effective authority and control. In addition to their responsibility to protect civilians, they have an obligation to prevent or repress the commission of crimes by their forces, and to submit any such crimes for investigation and prosecution.

40.       Let me be clear: if serious crimes under the Rome Statute continue to be committed in Libya, I will not hesitate to bring new applications for warrants of arrest.  These crimes must stop. Those taking part in hostilities must do so within the framework of the law and with full respect for international humanitarian law.

Mr President, Your Excellencies,

41.       I come back to the issue of crimes against migrants as it is a serious matter that continues to preoccupy me and my Office.  I have instructed my Office to continue its inquiries into the alleged crimes against migrants transiting through Libya. Depending on the precise facts and circumstances that might be established in the course of a full investigation, such crimes may fall within the jurisdiction of the Court.  This issue must be decided through a case by case analysis based on the relevant facts and an assessment of my Office's jurisdiction.  Such work will be strictly within our mandate as set by the Rome Statute.

42.       In conformity with Goal 9 of my Office's latest Strategic Plan, we will also work with Libya, other States and organisations on this issue where appropriate, and where we think we can be of assistance to address crimes perpetrated against migrants.

43.       Where possible, our collaborative efforts enhance coordination of investigative and prosecutorial strategies that are aimed at closing the impunity gap not only for Rome Statute crimes, but also for other transnational and organised criminal activity falling outside of my mandate. These other crimes significantly contribute to continuing insecurity and violence in Libya today.

Mr President, Your Excellencies,

44.       I now turn to some of the unfortunately recurring challenges facing my Office.

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