UK remains committed to working with Prosecutor’s Office and Libyan authorities

Thank you Madam President. I would like to start by thanking the Prosecutor Khan for his 24th Report and for briefing us today on the work of the Office.

I am pleased to note the Office of the Prosecutor has accelerated its investigative and cooperation activities under the renewed strategy outlined in the previous report. We welcome the tangible progress of the Office on the four key lines of inquiry: 2011 violence, crimes in detention centres, crimes in the 2014-2020 operations, and crimes against migrants.

The constant presence of the Office in the region throughout the reporting period has strengthened their ability to engage with witnesses and victims, thereby deepening their knowledge and understanding of the challenges to achieving accountability. We welcome the additional resources allocated to the Libya investigation team, in particular through experts and Arabic speakers.

The report also highlights the increased support received from the Libyan authorities, including from the Office of the President of the Presidential Council of Libya ahead of the Prosecutor’s visit to Tripoli at present. We encourage the Libyan authorities to build on this and to take the key steps outlined in the report to increase further cooperation. A collective approach and engagement between all relevant actors is needed to uphold the rights of those who still wait to receive justice.

We welcome the formal membership of the Office of the Prosecutor into the Joint Investigation Team in relation to crimes against migrants with the authorities of Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK alongside Europol. Their assistance with the investigation of two key suspects of crimes against victims of human trafficking and smuggling led to their arrest and extradition, which is a significant step towards justice for those victims.

However, we note the difficult context in which these results were achieved: a complex political landscape with the ongoing executive impasse and division. These heighten the continued risk of violence. In this respect, the UK was pleased to see the appointment of the new Special Representative, Abdoulaye Bathily, and a substantial 12 month renewal of the UNSMIL mandate. UN leadership is vital to restoring Libya’s electoral footing, following the failed presidential elections of December 2021. The interim Government of National Unity is charged with making the necessary preparations for making free, fair, and inclusive elections, and it must fulfil its obligations to do so.

In conclusion Madam President, I underline that the UK remains committed to working with the Prosecutor’s Office and the Libyan authorities, and urge them to build on the momentum that we’ve heard of today and accelerate progress towards justice for the victims.

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