Mr. Kio Amieyeofori
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, New York
4th May, 2011
I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this important meeting to consider the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in relation to the situation in Libya. We are also indebted to Mr. Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, for his insightful briefing.
The fight for justice and the battle against impunity are at the heart of the values shared by most Member States, including those committed to the aims and objectives of the ICC. As a State party to the Rome Statute, Nigeria reaffirms its support for the work of the ICC in ensuring accountability for the most serious crimes of international concern. The situation in Libya presents an immediate test not only for the ICC as an indispensable tool in our collective conflict resolution efforts, but also for our collective determination to maintain international peace and security. Indeed, the very first Article of the United Nations Charter charges us to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace and to achieve peace through pacific means.
In that respect, we welcome the Chief Prosecutor’s first report to the Security Council. The report shows a measured, logical and comprehensive approach to the conduct of preliminary examination of allegations of human rights violations in Libya and the subsequent launching of an investigation, in accordance with resolution 1970 (2011). The initial factual analysis, in line with the thresholds of admissibility, gravity and jurisdiction, provides us with a better understanding of the nature and extent of the violations that the people of Libya have endured and continue to endure.
The prima facie evidence of crimes against humanity makes the case for an ICC investigation even stronger and demonstrates that such a step is necessary to satisfy the interests of justice. In addition, the systematic nature of the attacks on civilians, the routine use of imprecise weaponry and the evidence of attempts to conceal crimes warrant rigorous investigation to establish criminal responsibility.
However, the political situation in Libya is complex and the security environment fragile and mutable. In resolving the Libyan crisis, resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011) must be read and implemented together. The resolutions are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Indeed, they are anchored in the desire for a peaceful and politically based solution to the Libyan conflict. That is why the efforts of interlocutors, such as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Al-Khatib, the Libya Contact Group and the African Union Ad Hoc High Level Committee on Libya are recognized. All such activities are central to facilitating dialogue between the parties with a view to cementing a lasting peace.
For those reasons, it is important that the activities of the Prosecutor be carefully calibrated to support the ongoing political efforts to find a peaceful solution. Ignoring that pivotal dimension may threaten the prospects for peace not just for Libya, but also for the region at large. Thus, it is essential that justice be pursued in a manner that does not jeopardize efforts aimed at promoting lasting peace and stability in the country.
That observation underscores the need for the prosecuting team to uphold high standards of evidence and to remain impartial in the face of compelling and disturbing evidence. In that regard, I would highlight the fate of those sub-Saharan Africans detained by the authorities in Benghazi and stress the need to ensure that their cases are handled according to due process.
We must not underestimate the heavy responsibility that the Prosecutor bears in that regard. It is difficult to see how the interests of justice can be served without the cooperation of the international community. As is clear from the report, the Prosecutor’s work thus far has benefited from international cooperation, which must be encouraged to continue. It is our firm belief that the ICC’s involvement should further our collective efforts to achieve lasting peace in Libya and to see the aspirations of the Libyan people realized.