Remarks by Mark Simonoff, Minister Counselor for Legal Affairs, U.S Mission to the United Nations, at a Security Council Meeting on Libya

Mark Simonoff, Minister Counselor for Legal Affairs
New York, NY
May 13, 2014


Thank you, Mr. President. Let me begin by thanking Prosecutor Bensouda for her informative briefing on Libya and especially for her contributions to ending impunity for the most serious crimes in Libya.

Three years ago, with the adoption of Resolution 1970, this Council called for accountability in Libya. Today, we see real steps towards accountability in Libya both at the international and domestic levels. We welcome reports of collaboration between Libya and the Office of the Prosecutor in connection with ongoing investigations. And, we note that Libya and the Office of the Prosecutor have signed an MOU, which we hope will facilitate collaboration going forward.

Cooperation is key. We know, of course, that the admissibility proceedings in the cases against Saif Al-Islam Qadhafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi are ongoing. These proceedings have presented novel and important questions – both for the Court and for the Libyan government. As the proceedings continue in the Libya situation, we continue to urge Libya to cooperate with the ICC and to take steps to ensure that perpetrators of the worst crimes are held to account.

In addition to the Court’s proceedings, we know that Libya still faces many challenges to support justice and accountability. The government will only benefit from continuing to work with the international community to bolster its own, domestic capacity in the justice system, and to ensure that both high profile former regime figures and the thousands of conflict-related detainees are only held in accordance with applicable international legal obligations. All detainees should be transferred to government-controlled facilities promptly, and must be treated humanely.

Within the context of a transitional justice strategy, the Libyan authorities may need to prioritize prosecutions that will focus on those who bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes. Beyond prosecutions, we encourage Libya to explore other accountability measures, such as those envisioned in Libya’s transitional justice law.

Additionally, we underscore the importance of Libya conducting domestic investigations and prosecutions in a manner consistent with Libya’s international obligations. In addition, prosecutions that respect the rights of defendants – including those who were members of the former regime – and that provide them proper fair trial guarantees, will contribute to strengthening public confidence in the judiciary and the rule of law in Libya.

As we look at the bigger picture, the United States remains very concerned by the rising instability in Libya. This instability threatens to undermine the revolution for which Libyans fought so dearly, and to jeopardize Libya’s transition to a democratic and prosperous State in which all Libyans can participate. Together, we must be clear about what is at risk.

The United States will continue to support Libya in its efforts to ensure security and protect all of its citizens and democratic institutions. We also applaud the seating of Libya’s constitution-drafting assembly. We remain committed to supporting the Libyan government and institutions through this difficult phase.

Finally, we look forward to the ongoing work and partnership with the United Nations, Libya, and Libya’s international partners, and to explore appropriate ways we can advance critical initiatives for peaceful democratic transition and vital national reconciliation efforts, including assistance pledged at this year’s Rome Ministerial.

In conclusion, let me reiterate our thanks to Prosecutor Bensouda and her office for the work they have done to advance the cause of justice for the people of Libya.

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2014/108