The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday told the United Nations Security Council that her Office is considering launching an investigation into alleged migrant-related crimes in Libya, including human trafficking.
“My Office continues to collect and analyze information relating to serious and widespread crimes allegedly committed against migrants attempting to transit through Libya,” said Fatou Bensouda during a Security Council meeting on the North African country’s situation.
According to IOM, nearly three-quarters (71%) of migrants taking the Central Mediterranean routes connecting North Africa to Europe have experienced exploitation and practices which may amount to human trafficking, based on anonymous surveys taking place at arrival locations in Southern Italy.
“I’m similarly dismayed by credible accounts that Libya has become a marketplace for the trafficking of human beings,” she added, noting that her Office “is carefully examining the feasibility” of opening an investigation into migrant-related crimes in Libya should the Court’s jurisdictional requirements be met.
“We must act to curb these worrying trends,” she said.
Ms. Bensouda said that reports indicate the country is at risk of returning to widespread conflict, and such an outcome would not bode well for the rule of law in Libya, and will surely aggravate a climate of impunity, which could in turn lead to widespread human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.
A recent United Nations report said the situation of migrants in Libya is a human rights crisis, adding “The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has also received credible information that some members of State institutions and some local officials have participated in the smuggling and trafficking process.”