The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to refer Libya to the International Criminal Court to conduct an investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens.
This is only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Court in the Hague. The Security Council cast a similar vote before, in 2005 when it called for an investigation of violence and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region of Sudan. The court has since indicted Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, on charges of genocide.
In the vote in 2005, the US abstained. There was some doubt whether China would support the resolution this time, but in the end the resolution was passed unanimously, making it the first time this has happened.
Could this mark the beginning of a historical change from the international community’s previous reluctance to prosecute member states for war crimes?
We hope so, but only time will tell.