I wish to thank the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr. Moreno Ocampo, for his report and comprehensive briefing today.
I want also to commend him for the work underway and for the efforts his office is undertaking to establish the truth and investigate all facts and evidence relevant to assess criminal responsibility under the Rome statute.
In this regard we welcome the close cooperation the office continues to benefit from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the synergy between the Office and the UN Commission of Inquiry in their common efforts to establish the facts, as stressed in the Prosecutor’s report.
We welcome also the contacts that the Office continues to hold with the Libyan authorities and the Government expressed support to the Court and the acknowledgement of the positive role of the ICC in preventing further violence in the country.
Portugal stresses the importance of accountability and the need to fight impunity for serious violation of human rights. These are universal goals that guide the UN and are at the core of the international community’s concerns.
We thank the Prosecutor for his update on the cases on Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Gaddafi and Abdullah Al Senussi. The information provided highlights the procedural steps undertaken to bring to Justice the last two accused and the several contacts between the Office and the Libyan authorities as well as with other relevant entities, to ensure they will be brought to trial. We’ll follow closely future developments on these procedures, bearing in mind the important role the Statute confers to the Court in deciding the admissibility of the case against Saif Gaddafi following the procedural challenge filed by the Libyan Government. We fully trust the Court in its evaluation of the situation with the view to make sure the trial is undertaken in full compliance with international standards. Likewise, we have the same expectation as it concerns the case against the remaining accused and the need for his prompt presentation to trial.
We thank also the prosecutor for the information provided on the ongoing investigations. We look forward to further developments concerning the investigation on gender crimes and the two pattern of rapes identified in the report of the Commission of Inquiry. We value in this respect the concern of the Office in ensuring, in its investigative efforts, the protection of victims, thus preventing situations where victims could be further victimized through exposure and retaliation.
The report however gives us a disturbing account of other serious violations identified in the Commission of Inquiry’s report as having been committed in Libya, during and after conflict, that are now under the focus of the Prosecutor’s investigation. Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are violations independently of whoever may be found responsible for them. Acts of retaliation are inadmissible, and every person has the right to a fair trial. Cases of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances must stop and be accounted for. As do acts of retaliation against civilians believed to be Gaddafi loyalists, as the actions against Tawerghan civilians identified in the report suggest. These are serious findings that, if proved, must be accounted for. And under ICC jurisdiction no amnesty is possible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In conclusion, we look forward to a full and complete investigation of allegations of all serious crimes committed in Libya and encourage the Prosecutor and his Office to continue their efforts, in cooperation with the Libyan authorities, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and all relevant entities, to identify those responsible for such crimes and make sure they are brought to trial, as we believe that justice is the corner stone of peaceful and democratic societies and, thus, a fundamental element of the institutional building of Libya.