Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Meeting on Libya and the International Criminal Court

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
November 2, 2011


Thank you, Mr. President, and let me join colleagues in congratulating you on taking over the presidency of the Council. We look very much forward to working with you and your delegation throughout the month, and we have every confidence in your able leadership.

And I want to join others in paying great tribute to Ambassador Ogwu and the delegation from Nigeria for their exceptionally skillful and wise management of the Council in the complex month of October.

I would like to begin by thanking the Prosecutor for his informative briefing and for his important contributions to laying the foundation for seeking the justice that Libyans so deserve.

The Security Council’s decision to refer the situation in Libya to the Prosecutor reflected the importance that the international community attaches to ensuring accountability for the widespread and systematic attacks against the Libyan people that began in the dark days of February. Resolution 1970, adopted even as atrocities were being perpetrated, represented an historic milestone in the fight against impunity.

Justice and reconciliation efforts will be critical components of a successful transition that allows all of Libyan society to leave behind what has been, in many, many respects, a tragic and bloody past. An effective criminal justice system, with a competent judiciary and safeguards to guarantee humane treatment and due process, is crucial to the future of Libya. The new government must ensure that the rule of law, treatment safeguards, and due process protections are firmly in place.

Helping the Transitional National Council implement its commitments to respect human rights—and to proper detention procedures that meet Libya’s international obligations—must be a very high priority. We emphasize the importance of ensuring that the human rights of all in Libya—including former regime officials and detainees—are fully respected during and after this transition period.

The victims of Qadhafi’s terrorism and their families in Libya—and also in the United States—now know definitively that the era of Qadhafi’s violence has ended. Qadhafi engaged in countless barbaric acts, but this does not and cannot justify the apparently brutal way that he met his death. We welcome the TNC’s announcement of an investigation into Qadhafi's death and will look to it to follow through by undertaking an effective inquiry. Independent and impartial investigations into abuses committed in Libya on both sides are the first step in fulfilling the TNC’s commitments to accountability and laying a foundation for a transition that embraces the rule of law. We remain deeply troubled by reports, including those mentioned by the Prosecutor, that sub-Saharan African migrants and others detained in ad hoc jails are being abused. Continued support by the international community, including through the UN Support Mission in Libya, will be vital to helping the Libyan people achieve the future they seek.

We must now move together to support the creation of an inclusive, democratic state in which all Libyans, of all backgrounds, have a future and an opportunity to participate in the rebuilding of their country.

We welcome the Prosecutor’s report that the TNC is fully cooperating with his investigation in accordance with Resolution 1970, and we encourage other States in which individuals subject to ICC arrest warrants may be found to ensure that they are brought to justice. We encourage the Prosecutor to continue to consult with the TNC.

We urge the speedy apprehension of Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and of Abdullah al-Senussi, who remain at large in the region. They must be brought to justice in a legitimate process governed by the rule of law. Ensuring justice for those who have endured unspeakable atrocities will be crucial to Libya’s ability to emerge from the ashes of dictatorship to become a country in which all of its citizens enjoy the full protection of the rule of law.

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2011/227