Arusha, November 15, 2013 (FH) – International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has signed a task sharing agreement with Tripoli on tracking suspected perpetrators of crimes committed in Libya, Bensouda told the UN in New York on Thursday. She said the aim was to bring them to justice either at the ICC or in Libya itself.

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“My Office and the Government of Libya have recently concluded a burden-sharing Memorandum of Understanding, the purpose of which is to facilitate our collaborative efforts to ensure that individuals allegedly responsible for committing crimes in Libya as of 15 February 2011 are brought to justice either at the ICC or in Libya itself,” she said.

“While my Office will prioritise its investigation and prosecution of those who are outside the territory of Libya and who are thus largely inaccessible to the Libyan authorities, the Government of Libya will prioritise investigations of those suspects who are within Libyan territory.”  Bensouda was presenting her sixth report on the situation in Libya, which was referred to the ICC by UN Security Council Resolution 1970 of February 26, 2011. She stressed the need for Libya to have a comprehensive strategy to address serious crimes committed in the country, and for the international community to support Libya in its fight against impunity.

The Gambian lawyer also reminded Tripoli of its obligation to implement the decisions of the ICC, notably with regard to Saïf Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The ICC has asked several times that Libya hand him over to the Court, so he can be tried for alleged attacks on demonstrators and rebels in 2011. Tripoli has asked for additional time to present more information, as it wants to try Saïf Al-Islam in Libya.

 “I stress the critical importance for all States to respect and implement the decisions of the Court’s judges,” Bensouda told the UN. “The obligation to surrender to the Court persons against whom arrest warrants have been issued must be respected.  (…) I strongly urge the Government of Libya to surrender Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to the Court without further delay.”

Bensouda also addressed the case of former intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Senoussi, who is the subject of another ICC arrest warrant. The ICC ruled in October that Libya fulfils the conditions to take the Senoussi case itself. 

“The challenge is now for Libya to demonstrate to the world that Al-Senussi will receive a genuinely fair, impartial and speedy trial that respects all his rights and fundamental guarantees including the right to counsel of his choice,” said the ICC Prosecutor.