Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, the human security situation in Libya has continued to deteriorate to alarming levels. The country has become a haven for slave traders and violence. Fatou Bensouda, a prosecutor with the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the UN Security Council, “there has been an escalation of violence, high number of civilian deaths, thousands of persons internally displaced, and a sharp increase in abductions, disappearances and arbitrary arrests across Libya.”
In 2011, Gaddafi’s government was removed from power by Britain, America and France, with the backing of some African countries. Almost a decade later, the country has not recovered from the slippery slope it was shoved into. Moussa Ibrahim, Gaddafi’s former spokesman said in a recent interview, “Look at Libya now. Killings, civil conflict, tribal war, murder, terrorism, robbing of national wealth. What does it remind you of? Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen. It’s the same story happening every time.”
Bensouda’s report comes after nearly a decade since the ICC started work in Libya. She briefed the Security Council and noted the outstanding arrest warrants of three ICC fugitives who were accused of war crimes. She said that as long as the fugitives were at large, justice would elude the victims of the alleged crimes.
Bensouda told the Security Council, “Perpetrators of serious international crimes are emboldened when they believe they will never face justice.” She further said that a cycle of impunity has made Libya a breeding ground for atrocities. “Impunity serves both as an obstacle and a threat to stability and must be checked through the force of law.”
While there seems to be no sense of improvement in Libya’s condition, the ICC remains the only hope for justice, according to Bensouda. She told the Security Council that, “through the arrest and surrender of the ICC fugitives, the international community can begin to bring justice to the victims in Libya and help prevent future crimes.”