ICC Hints Foreign Fighters in Libya Could Face Prosecution

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda. Reuters
Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda. Reuters
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ICC Hints Foreign Fighters in Libya Could Face Prosecution

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda. Reuters
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.



Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
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Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)

Israeli forces carried out new raids in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to address the US Congress.

The latest Israeli attacks destroyed homes in towns east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and thousands of people were forced to head west to seek shelter, residents said.

The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said it had received distress calls from residents trapped in their homes in Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Younis, but were unable to reach the town.

Israel's military, which is trying to eradicate the armed group Hamas after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, said it had been operating in areas from which fighters had been able to fire rockets into Israel and attack Israeli troops.

Gaza health officials said Israeli military strikes in the past 24 hours had killed at least 55 people, the latest casualties in a war that health authorities in the enclave say has killed more than 39,000 Palestinians.

"Where should we go? Shall we cross into the sea?" said Ghada, who has been displaced with her family six times during the war, said from Hamas City in northwestern Khan Younis.

"We are exhausted, starved, and want the war to end now, now not an hour later. Every day means more families are wiped off the registration book," she told Reuters via a chat app.

Local residents said they had been ordered to head west towards a designated humanitarian area, but that the area was now unsafe.

Israeli forces also carried out airstrikes on several areas of central and northern Gaza Strip, killing and wounding several Palestinians, health officials said.

Residents of Rafah, near the border with Egypt, said Israeli forces had blown up several houses in the west of the city.

PALESTINIANS CRITICISE U.S.

Hamas-led fighters triggered the war on Oct. 7 by storming into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 captives, according to Israeli tallies. Some 120 hostages are still being held though Israel believes one in three are dead.

Some Palestinians who gathered at a hospital in Khan Younis before funerals criticized the United States, Israel's most important international ally, for welcoming Netanyahu.

The Israel leader was due to address Congress later on Wednesday and to meet President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would meet Netanyahu in Florida on Friday.

"The United States is a main partner in what is happening in Gaza. We are being killed because of the United States. We are being slaughtered by American planes, American ships, American tanks, and American troops," said Kazem Abu Taha, a displaced resident from Rafah.

A senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters: "The Congress invitation to Netanyahu to make a speech gives legitimacy to the crimes of the war of genocide in Gaza. Receiving a war criminal is a shame to all Americans."

Israel has rejected accusations brought by South Africa at the UN's top court that its military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide campaign against Palestinians. It has reacted angrily to a decision by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor to seek an arrest warrant against Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said this week a deal to release Israelis held captive in Gaza could be near. But Hamas officials said Netanyahu was stalling and that they had not seen any change in the Israeli stance that would allow an agreement to be reached.

Hamas wants a ceasefire agreement to end the war in Gaza. Netanyahu says the war cannot end before Hamas is eradicated.