Australia welcomes role of International Criminal Court in Libya

Media Release

Cairo

27 February 2011

The Australian Government welcomes the strong action taken today by the United Nations Security Council on Libya.

In particular the Government welcomes the Council's decision to refer the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Court has the power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern, specifically including crimes against humanity.

This is only the second time the Council has taken such a decision, following its referral of the situation in Darfur to the Court in 2005.

The Australian Government has been urging the Council to take this step so that the Court has the ability to act in relation to the actions of the Libyan regime.

"This is an important step in holding those responsible for committing crimes accountable for their actions," said Mr Rudd.

"Those who are engaged in committing acts of violence in Libya should take heed – there will be no impunity for their actions."

The referral to the ICC means that the members and supporters of the Ghaddafi regime and anyone else who commits a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court can be individually responsible and liable for punishment in accordance with the ICC Statute.

The Australian Government also strongly welcomed the Security Council's decision to impose an arms embargo on Libya as well as targeted travel and financial measures against key figures in the Libyan regime.

"The Security Council's resolution, together with the steps taken by countries such as Australia, sends a clear and unambiguous message to the Libyan regime that it must meet its responsibility to protect the Libyan people and immediately put an end to all violence," Mr Rudd said.

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