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ICC Prosecutor recuses himself from Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s case

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan has told the Security Council that he will rescue himself from the case of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to maintain neutrality in Libya’s file now that Gaddafi is a presidential elections candidate.

Khan, a British attorney, was Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s lawyer before being named ICC Prosecutor. Saif is still wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity in Libya.

In his first appearance in the Security Council on Tuesday, Khan called for a more robust partnership between the two bodies towards ending impunity for atrocity crimes committed in Libya and elsewhere.

Khan said he will give priority to cases referred to the Prosecutor’s Office by the Council, such as the situation in Libya, calling for a convergence between the work of the Council and the Rome Statute that permits no haven for atrocity crimes.

“A paradigm shift is needed to foster a new era of engagement between the two bodies.” He said, drawing attention to the principle of complementarity on the issue of jurisdiction, he urged States to step up as they have a national responsibility to ensure accountability.

Khan said instability has prevented the Office from conducting investigations on Libyan territory, but he intends to visit the country in early 2022 to meet with State officials and other stakeholders.

“The Office continues to gather evidence related to alleged crimes committed during the April 2019 attack on Tripoli. It has also collected credible information about past and ongoing serious crimes allegedly committed in official and unofficial detention facilities, including unlawful detention, murder, torture, rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence.” He explained.

He also indicated that the situation of migrants in Libya and the region remains deeply troubling, calling for investigations into reported cases of rape and excessive use of force.

He also said the ICC is looking into the mass graves in Tarhouna and the allegations of massive violations within migrants’ detention centers in Libya, adding that evidence has surfaced regarding Khalifa Haftar forces’ serious violations in Tarhouna and South Tripoli, including killing, kidnapping, forced disappearance, random mines’ planting and looting, not to mention mass graves.

Khan referred to several complaints by Benghazi and other cities’ displaced persons to the ICC about the illegal seizure and looting of their properties, including houses, lands and other real estate properties, adding that certain armed groups are profiting from these acts, and reiterated that Libyan authorities are responsible for protecting citizens and their properties and for holding accountable the perpetrators of serious crimes that are also within the jurisdiction of the ICC.

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