Unanimous Security Council Vote A Crucial Moment for International Justice

February 27, 2011

Saturday’s Security Council referral of Libya to the International Criminal Court marks a historic moment in accountability for crimes under international law.

The Security Council’s vote came after a plea for action from Libya’s own UN delegation, which had announced that it no longer represented Col al-Gaddafi.

Amnesty’s director of international advocacy Steve Crawshaw said it best:

“This is a welcome and historic precedent. Libyan leaders and all others who may commit crimes under international law must now take heed that they will be called to account.”

For the people of Libya, this decision is a signal that the international community will not avert its eyes from the human rights abuses that they continue to suffer.

Amnesty International urged the UN Human Rights Council, the Arab League and the African Union, all of which have announced investigative missions to Libya, to urgently proceed with their missions and to hand over their findings to the ICC prosecutor as soon as possible.

The organization also called on the Security Council to consider similar action elsewhere.

The Security Council must build on the strong action it took yesterday. It must address situations in other parts of the world that at the moment have less public profile but are no less serious.

The vote follows a strong condemnation of human rights abuses in Libya by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday and the announcement of actions to ensure accountability.