Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on crimes against migrants in Libya.
Deputy Prosecutor Nazhat Shameem Khan participates in the ceremony in Rome, Italy on 7 September through which the Office of the Prosecutor formally joined the Joint Team
I am pleased to confirm that today my Office has become a formal member of the Joint Team aimed at supporting investigations into crimes against migrants and refugees in Libya, joining relevant national authorities from Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Spain. This Team is also supported by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).
I have been clear since taking up my position as Prosecutor: the effective exercise of the mandate of my Office requires us to deepen cooperation and collaboration with all relevant actors. Today represents a further step through which we convert this message into concrete action.
Those who seek to traffic and exploit migrants are targeting the most vulnerable members of society, those who have no ability to assert their core human rights. Through its investigations to date, my Office has received a wide range of credible information indicating that migrants and refugees in Libya have been subjected to arbitrary detention, unlawful killing, enforced disappearance, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, abduction for ransom, extortion, and forced labour.
As I confirmed in my last Report to the United Nations Security Council, my Office’s preliminary assessment is that these crimes may constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is our collective obligation to ensure those responsible for such crimes are held accountable.
In formally joining the Joint Team, my Office will seek to further accelerate the already excellent and productive cooperation we have undertaken with its members, which has led to the receipt of valuable information. The deepening of this cooperation will further strengthen the basis for our independent investigations.
This work together has also allowed my Office to proactively identify ways in which we can provide meaningful support to national accountability processes, delivering on my undertaking that our relationship with national authorities will now be a two-way street. This has included the identification and sharing of relevant leads, providing evidentiary material pertinent to national investigations in a manner consistent with the Rome Statute, the conduct of witness interviews and making available work products of the Office including investigative analyses and arrest strategies. In doing so, the Office has supported the development of national investigative and prosecutorial strategies.
This cooperative approach across all partners has already led to tangible results, for example through the issuance of arrest warrants by the Netherlands and Italy against suspects in the context of national proceedings.
The success of this initiative is a manifestation of positive complementarity and underlines the importance of further deepening the cooperation between the Office, national law enforcement agencies and Europol. My Office is committed to contributing to this innovative work in the long term.
I wish to express my sincere thanks to the authorities of Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Spain, for formally welcoming us as a member of the Joint Team. I am also grateful to our colleagues at Europol who will continue to provide their critical support to this collaboration. We look forward to further accelerating our collective work in the coming months.
Source: Office of the Prosecutor | OTPNewsDesk@icc-cpi.int