Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

8 May 2013 - Statement to the United Nations Security Council

8 May 2013


Statement by H.E. Mr Gary Quinlan
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
of Australia to the United Nations

(Check against delivery)



Mr President

I would like to thank The Prosecutor, Mrs Bensouda, for her briefing on the work of her Office in relation to Libya.

The situation in Libya demonstrates the distinct but complementary roles of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Council. The Council has repeatedly highlighted the importance of accountability and ending impunity for the most serious crimes for the maintenance of international peace and security. Consistent with that, the Council has twice asked the ICC to play a direct role in the context of a Chapter VII resolution: first, in respect of Darfur in Resolution 1594; and second, its referral of the Libyan situation in Resolution 1970, which is the subject of today’s briefing.

While some good progress has been made, Libya continues to face complex and serious challenges. It is important for all aspects of the international response - the UN Special Mission, the Council’s sanctions regime and international criminal procedures - to be coordinated and complementary.

In March, the Council in Resolution 2095 renewed its call on the Libyan Government to continue to cooperate with the ICC and the Prosecutor. We are encouraged that Libya continues to demonstrate a strong desire to prosecute those accused of committing Rome Statute crimes. And that in challenging the admissibility of ICC proceedings, Libya has followed Rome Statute procedures. As we await the outcome of these proceedings, we would like to emphasise the importance of the Libyan Government respecting the Court’s rulings on the admissibility challenges, whatever their outcomes.

The situation in Libya demonstrates that the ICC can – and does – play a significant role in strengthening the rule of law in States undergoing post-conflict transition. Referral of the situation in Libya to the ICC was an important and necessary step for the Council to have taken. As I mentioned during yesterday’s informal interactive dialogue, the ICC referral has served as a catalyst for Libya’s own efforts – not just in regard to the two individuals currently subject to ICC proceedings, but also with respect to the reform of Libya’s judicial system, a decisive element of its transition to democracy.

Ensuring respect for the rule of law in Libya is of course the responsibility of the Libyan authorities. Regardless of the outcome of Libya’s jurisdictional challenge, it is important to bear in mind that the ICC’s jurisdiction is limited to ‘those most responsible’ for committing serious international crimes. It is, therefore, crucial for Libya to ensure that justice is served in relation to other perpetrators and other crimes. Libya should continue to work with the ICC to ensure that all allegations of serious international crimes are investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted, regardless of whether those allegations concern supporters of Muammar Gaddafi or those who raised arms to establish a new Libya.

We very much welcome the Prosecutor’s advice of recent constructive initiatives by the Prosecutor and the Libyan authorities to ensure complementarity and co-operation in furthering investigations against perpetrators, both inside and outside Libya, to ensure they are all held to account.

Mr President

The ICC is a vital partner for the Council.

We know that without justice it is difficult to establish an inclusive and lasting peace. Effective coordination between the ICC and the Council is essential in order to ensure that the separate efforts of the two bodies – which have very different mandates – have a multiplying and reinforcing effect and that they are able to work together to help end impunity for serious international crimes.

To enable the Court to carry out its work effectively, the Council needs to find creative ways to support the Court. Doing so is particularly important where the Court’s jurisdiction derives from a Council resolution. The continued and active support of the Council is necessary to underscore the importance of States cooperating with the Court. Support from the Council is important to ensure the objectives of a referral are realised, namely that justice is delivered and that international peace and security is maintained.

With this in mind, we support expanded cooperation between the Council and the Court. Yesterday’s informal interactive dialogue between Council members and the Prosecutor was a very useful first step towards considering how the Council can more effectively support the Court’s work. We look forward to working with other members of the Council to further develop what should be an organic relationship between the two bodies and to implement the Council’s commitment to an effective follow up of Council referrals to the Court.

In concluding, Mr President –

We look forward to further updates from the Prosecutor, both in relation to Libya and other situations before the Court.

Thank you.