Sierra Leone Statement at the UN Security Council briefing on Libya


Mr. President,

I thank Mr. Karim Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), for his informative and sobering briefing and for presenting the ICC Prosecutor’s 27th report on the situation in Libya, as mandated by Security Council resolution 1970 (2011).

Sierra Leone commends the Prosecutor and his office for the unwavering commitment to international transparency and accountability, as well as for the diligent and consistent efforts of his office over the past six months on the Libyan situation referral.

I welcome the participation of the Permanent Representative of Libya in this meeting. 

Mr. President,

Sierra Leone reiterates its prioritization of accountability as a means to reinforce the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict, respect for fundamental human rights, and to end impunity for atrocity crimes. On the Prosecutor’s 27thReport, we would like to emphasize the following three points:

Firstly, we commend the Prosecutor’s Office for their renewed investigative strategy outlined in April 2022 and welcome their roadmap to conclude the investigation phase into the Libya situation by 2025.

The outlined Roadmap for completion has the potential to achieve the mandate of the Security Council. We understand and acknowledge the importance of the activities of the Office of the Prosecutor and the need for them to continue over the next eighteen (18) months to achieve the desired outcomes. We also take note of the two critical phases outline for the completion, the investigative phase from May 2024 to conclusion in 2025 and the judicial and complementarity phase. 

We acknowledge, the efforts of the OTP to secure additional warrants of arrest, and the commitment to initiate at least one trial by the end of 2025. We anticipate the forthcoming implementation of these endeavors. 

Secondly, we commend the efforts of the Prosecutor and his team for implementing the Court’s renewed investigative strategy. Their work has shown significant progress, particularly in addressing crimes committed between 2014 and 2020, focusing on detention crimes and crimes against migrants, and providing support for victims and witnesses and their security.

We are cognizant of the Court’s challenges in Libya, including the complex political landscape and resource constraints. We therefore welcome the efforts of the OTP to enhance its role and engage with Libyan authorities and people through evidence collection, warrant issuance, and victim support. In this regard, Sierra Leone reaffirms its unwavering support for the Court in pursuing justice and accountability in Libya. 

While welcoming the efforts made so far by the Court, we emphasize the importance of upholding the Court’s impartiality and independence to enable it carry out its mandate effectively. To this end, we call for the provision of adequate human and financial resources that are commensurate with the Court’s responsibilities and functions.

We reaffirm our unwavering dedication to uphold and defend the principles enshrined in the Rome Statute, and ensuring the Court’s integrity remains steadfast despite increasing threats or actions taken against it or those cooperating with it. 

 Thirdly, cooperation plays a crucial role in the mandate fulfillment of the Court. In welcoming the increased interaction and cooperation between the Court and the Libyan authorities from the Prosecutor’s report, we urge that support for Libya’s national capacity in victim support, investigations and prosecution also be increased. 

We believe States should have a primary responsibility to deliver justice and accountability for their people. If they lack the capacity or resources, we encourage cooperation with international partners in this endeavor. In this regard, we reaffirm our support for the people of Libya in pursuing accountability and justice within the broader framework of the peace process. 

We reiterate the application of the principle of complementarity, emphasizing its integral role in combating heinous crimes and fostering bilateral engagement between the Court, Libyan authorities, neighboring States, and civil society in Libya. We therefore welcome the ongoing cooperation between these entities. Furthermore, we call for increased regional and international support, especially in light of the complex and evolving political situation in Libya.

 In closing, Mr. President, Sierra Leone expresses deep concern over the public statements made by States, elected and other officials of governments relating to investigations being carried out in situations before the ICC. The statements are deeply regrettable and seen as threats or attempts to undermine the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the Court. We urge States to respect the independence and impartiality of the Court, as we cannot afford selectivity on the important issue of accountability, and the rule of law.

Sierra Leone reaffirms its full support for the International Criminal Court. We reassure the people of Libya of our support and reiterate our commitment to the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. Recognizing the importance of working together for justice, Sierra Leone is fully committed to continue playing an active role in this shared endeavor.

I thank you. 

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