ICC could ’embarrass’ Western countries as it moves to prosecute migrant abusers in Libya

ICC could ’embarrass’ Western countries as it moves to prosecute migrant abusers in Libya

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Ahmad Khan is seeking a number of arrest warrants against Libyan nationals over war crimes, crimes against migrants and crimes against human rights.

And while the names of the people concerned are still covered by confidentiality, Italian newspaper Avvenire reports that some of the names concerned may well embarrass a number of governments – including Malta – which have had dealings with them.

The names would be publicised once Khan’s requests are validated by the ICC, but should the arrest warrants be issued as expected “many governments – including Italy, Malta, France, Turkey and Russia – will find themselves more than embarrassed to cooperate in the capture of characters with whom they have exchanged many handshakes,” the newspaper wrote.

According to the newspaper, the requests concern subjects already subjected to sanctions by the UN, the EU and the US.

Until recently, the ICC had considered itself effectively unable to investigate human traffickers, given its jurisdiction to prosecute for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.

But Khan is arguing that crimes against migrants in Libya may constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes, thus paving the way for ICC action against those involved. Investigators have also linked human trafficking – and the torture and extortion involved in the process – to the militias directly involved in the conflict, further strengthening the ICC’s claim of jurisdiction.

Khan, on his first visit to Libya, also announced that further requests for arrest warrants would be made.