Libya war crimes probe to advance next year: ICC prosecutor

UNITED NATIONS, United States: The International Criminal Court prosecutor probing war crimes committed in Libya since 2011 announced Monday his plans to complete the investigation phase by the end of 2025.

Presenting his regular report before the United Nations Security Council, Karim Khan said that “strong progress” had been made in the last 18 months, thanks in particular to better cooperation from Libyan authorities.

“Our work is moving forward with increased speed and with a focus on trying to deliver on the legitimate expectations of the council and of the people of Libya,” Khan said.

He added that in the last six months, his team had completed 18 missions in three areas of Libya, collecting more than 800 pieces of evidence including video and audio material.

Khan said he saw announcing a timeline to complete the investigation phase as a “landmark moment” in the case.

“Of course, it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to require cooperation, candor, a ‘can do’ attitude from my office but also from the authorities in Libya,” he added.

“The aim would be to give effect to arrest warrants and to have initial proceedings start before the court in relation to at least one warrant by the end of next year,” Khan said.

The Security Council referred the situation in Libya to the ICC in February 2011 following a violent crackdown on unprecedented protests against the regime of Muammar Qaddafi.

So far, the investigation opened by the court in March 2011 has produced three cases related to crimes against humanity and war crimes, though some proceedings were abandoned after the death of suspects.

An arrest warrant remains in place for Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi, the son of the assassinated Libyan dictator who was killed by rebel forces in October 2011.

Libya has since been plagued by fighting, with power divided between a UN-recognized Tripoli government and a rival administration in the country’s east.

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