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Libya Urged To Ensure Prosecution Of Perpetrators Of Serious Crimes

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has stressed that ensuring no impunity for those alleged to have committed serious crimes in Libya is crucial for lasting peace in the North African country.

Bensouda made the remarks while briefing the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday on the slow progress in this vital aspect of the Libya's democratic transition.

"Individuals alleged to have committed serious crimes in Libya must be brought to justice either in Libya or at the International Criminal Court: this is not negotiable," Bensouda said.

"This is key for sending a clear message to would-be Libyan perpetrators and indeed all other would-be perpetrators that the international community is watching and will no longer allow impunity to reign unchecked," she said.

The 15-member Security Council referred the situation in Libya to the ICC in 2011, the year that the country embarked on a democratic transition following the ouster of Muammar al-Qadhafi.

The ICC Prosecutor cited the need for the Government to immediately surrender Saif Al-Islam Qadhafi - the former leader's son, who has been indicted by the ICC in relation to attacks against protesters and rebels during the 2011 uprising - to the Court without further delay.

Bensouda also regretted that progress has been slow in the case of former senior intelligence official Abdullah Al-Senussi, who was also indicted for alleged crimes against humanity. The ICC had decided that he could be tried in Libya by the national authorities.

Overall, the Prosecutor noted that Libya continues to face "serious security challenges and deep political crisis" which undermine its ability to effect much needed meaningful judicial and other changes.

To assist Libya, the Prosecutor proposed that the country's key partners seriously consider forming a contact group on justice issues through which material and legal support could be provided regularly to enhance Libya's efforts to bring justice to victims.

She hoped the proposal will be followed up as soon as possible, saying that this will send a clear message to the Government that its key partners intend to follow through on their pledges to support justice initiatives and to support the evolving relationship between the ICC and the Government.

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