U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice today stressed that justice and reconciliation efforts will be critical components of Libya’s successful transition that allows all of Libyan society to leave behind what has been a tragic and bloody past.
In her remarks at a Security Council meeting on Libya and the International Criminal Court, Ms. Rice highlighted that the Security Council’s decision to refer the situation in Libya to the Prosecutor reflected the importance that the international community attaches to ensuring accountability for the widespread and systematic attacks against the Libyan people that began in the dark days of February.
“Resolution 1970, adopted even as atrocities were being perpetrated, represented an historic milestone in the fight against impunity.” -Ms. Rice
She highlighted that an effective criminal justice system, with a competent judiciary and safeguards to guarantee humane treatment and due process, is crucial to the future of Libya. She stressed that the new government must ensure that the rule of law, treatment safeguards, and due process protections are firmly in place.
She pointed out that helping the Transitional National Council implement its commitments to respect human rights-and to proper detention procedures that meet Libya’s international obligations-must be a very high priority.
“We emphasize the importance of ensuring that the human rights of all in Libya-including former regime officials and detainees-are fully respected during and after this transition period.” -Ms. Rice
She noted that the victims of Qadhafi’s terrorism and their families in Libya-and also in the United States-now know definitively that the era of Qadhafi’s violence has ended. She pointed out that Qadhafi engaged in countless barbaric acts, but she said it does not and cannot justify the apparently brutal way that he met his death.
“We welcome the TNC’s announcement of an investigation into Qadhafi’s death and will look to it to follow through by undertaking an effective inquiry.” -Ms. Rice
Ms. Rice stressed that independent and impartial investigations into abuses committed in Libya on both sides are the first step in fulfilling the TNC’s commitments to accountability and laying a foundation for a transition that embraces the rule of law.
She stressed that the United States remains deeply troubled by reports, including those mentioned by the Prosecutor, that sub-Saharan African migrants and others detained in ad hoc jails are being abused.
“We must now move together to support the creation of an inclusive, democratic state in which all Libyans, of all backgrounds, have a future and an opportunity to participate in the rebuilding of their country.” -Ms. Rice