ICJ roundtable on impunity for crimes committed in Libya and implications for Europe

On 20 November 2019, the ICJ and Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, hosted a roundtable discussion in Brussels on the ICJ’s report Accountability for Crimes under International Law in Libya: An Assessment of the Criminal Justice System.

Panelists called for the establishment of a Human Rights Council mandated Commission of Inquiry on Libya and for States to refrain from entering or implementing agreements that could give rise to support for or complicity in violations of international law.

They also called for the intensification of monitoring of Libyan Coast Guard operations and publication of its key findings, and for the European Commission to ensure its cooperation with Libyan authorities is conditional on meeting concrete, verifiable and timebound benchmarks.

At the launch, Said Benarbia and Kate Vigneswaran, MENA Programme Director and Senior Legal Adviser respectively, discussed the findings and recommendations of the ICJ’s report examining the criminal justice framework in Libya. The report finds that investigations and prosecutions of crimes under international law have been limited to a handful of cases, and substantial reforms to the legal framework are required to ensure fair and effective justice in future cases.

In light of the report’s findings, Marwa Mohammed, Head of Advocacy and Outreach for Lawyers for Justice in Libya, discussed the arbitrary detention of thousands of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Libya, systematic human rights violations and abuses being committed against them, and absence of options for protection, repatriation and return, including as a result of EU States’ policies.

Philippe Dam, Advocacy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch, then discussed the engagement of the EU, European Commission and EU States with Libyan authorities, including in the context of violations and abuses committed against migrants, refugees and asylum seekers intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard.

The panel was introduced by Karolina Babicka, Legal Advisor for the ICJ’s Europe and Central Asia Programme, and moderated by Tinneke Strik. It was attended by representatives of the European Commission, the EEAS, UNHCR, non-government organizations and independent persons

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