Its been nearly a year since the Libyan civil war first began and debit UN's repeated calls there hasn't been a ceasefire as yet. On May 5, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) appealing at a virtual briefing warned that war crimes might have been committed in the country. Fatou Bensouda retreated that under the Rome Statute, intentionally attacking civilians, which was prominent in Libya, was a war crime that could be tried under ICC.
“Of particular concern to my Office are the high numbers of civilian casualties, largely reported to be resulting from airstrikes and shelling operations”, said Bensouda.
Bensouda highlighted that there were “grave and persistent” arbitrary detentions and mistreatments of migrants and refugees who were at risk of torture, murder and various forms of sexual violence. The top prosecutor said that former detainees had reported "brutal methods of torture” while many others have died from their injuries or lack of medical care.
She also highlighted that there was a surge in numbers of “enforced disappearance”. Adding that these illegal disappearances, when targeted against prominent members of the society like journalists and human rights defenders, sent a strong message that “voices of dissent should not be tolerated” and causes “grave consequences” for both individuals and society.
Meanwhile, there has been increasing use of hate speech. Under the Rome Statute, a person who “instigates the commission of crimes by others” is also responsible for war crimes, the ICC Prosecutor spelled out. She added that “derogatory and dehumanising language" targeting certain individuals or groups had become more widespread both in traditional and social media. She added that it causes hatred and fear in communities.
In conclusion, she highlighted that there were suspects at large that were roaming free. She noted that Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi was convicted in absentia but has made no efforts to surrender since April 2016. Al-Tuhamy Khaled in Cairo and Mahmoud Al-Werfalli had also not been executed as yet. “I call on this Council, the Court’s States Parties and the international community more broadly, to stand firmly by the ICC and its crucial mandate to end impunity for the world’s gravest crimes”, she said.
(Image credits: AP)