Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 3, 2011

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Let me begin by thanking the Prosecutor for his very important and informative briefing.

Mr. President, this Council unanimously decided in Resolution 1970 to refer the situation in Libya to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. By doing so, the Council reflected the importance that the international community attaches to ensuring that those responsible for the widespread and systematic attacks against the Libyan people are held accountable.

The Prosecutor has highlighted the deeply troubling actions by the Libyan government and its security forces—including incidents in which Qadhafi forces fired at civilians, reports of torture, rape, deportations, enforced disappearances, the use of cluster munitions and heavy weaponry against civilian targets in crowded urban areas, and blocking humanitarian supplies. All of this underscores the gravity of what we are witnessing in Libya today. New reports make clear that the Qadhafi regime continues to directly target civilians. So the need for justice and accountability persists. These reports further underscore the message that we have repeated in our statements and in our diplomatic efforts: Qadhafi has lost any and all legitimacy to lead Libya.

As the ICC process continues, it is important that the international community remain united in its commitment to protecting civilians and civilian-populated areas under the threat of attack, to ending violence against the Libyan people, and defending the universal rights we all share.

Mr. President, my government welcomes the swift and thorough work the Prosecutor has done. He has said that he plans to submit an application for an arrest warrant in the coming weeks. The specter of ICC prosecution is serious and imminent and should again warn those around Qadhafi about the perils of continuing to tie their fate to his. The Prosecutor has also indicated that further cases may be opened, as would be appropriate against individuals involved in further crimes that might be committed in the days ahead.

Tomorrow, members of the international community will gather in Rome to examine ways to support a political process that will advance the rights and aspirations of the Libyan people. Several proposals have been put forward to resolve the crisis. We continue to discuss these and other potential solutions with our allies and partners, including UN Special Envoy al-Khatib.

Mr. President, we believe in the potential of the Libyan people. We believe they deserve leaders who share and support their aspirations for freedom, democracy, and dignity. Through his brutal oppression, Qadhafi has demonstrated time and again that he is not interested in a Libya that honors his people’s hopes and rights.

Thank you, Mr. President.