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ICC Hints Foreign Fighters in Libya Could Face Prosecution

ICC Hints Foreign Fighters in Libya Could Face Prosecution

Wednesday, 19 May, 2021 - 07:45
Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda. Reuters

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council on Monday that mercenaries and armed groups involved in the Libyan conflict could face prosecution.

“I must emphasize that crimes committed by mercenaries and foreign fighters on Libyan territory may fall under the jurisdiction of the Court, no matter the nationality of the persons involved,” she said.

In her last briefing to the Council on the Libya situation before the end of her mandate on June 15, Bensouda said her Office has received concerning information about the activities of mercenaries and foreign fighters in Libya.

“This information is consistent with the findings of UNSMIL Panel of Experts reports. The Office fully supports the call for these armed groups and individuals to leave Libya without delay,” she said.

The UN estimates that there are at least 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya.

Bensouda also encouraged the Council and all UN member states to once again convey a clear and firm message to leaders and commanders, be they military or civilian, and all parties and armed groups involved in the Libya conflict that the rules of international humanitarian law must be respected and that those who defy such rules will be held individually responsible.

Also, the Chief Prosecutor said her office collected credible information and evidence on serious crimes allegedly committed in official and unofficial detention facilities in Libya.

“Further credible reports detail the summary conviction and sentencing of civilians to long prison sentences including handing of death penalty by Military Courts in eastern Libya following secret trials devoid of fair trial guarantees,” she said.

UNSMIL says more than 8,850 individuals are arbitrarily detained at 28 official prisons in Libya in Judicial Police custody with an estimated 60 to 70 percent in pre-trial detention. An additional 10,000 individuals are detained in other detention facilities run by militia and armed groups including about 480 women and 63 juveniles and children.

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