The ICC announced today that the ICC Prosecutor had opened a formal investigation into the situation in Libya. The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1970 on Saturday which referred the situation to the Prosecutor, thereby granting the Court jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed there since February 15. The resolution did not, and could not, require the ICC to act. Since the Security Council referred the situation, under the Court’s Rome Statute the Prosecutor did not need the permission of the Pre-Trial Chamber to open an investigation. However, the Prosecutor will not necessarily be able to proceed quickly given the difficulty of investigating in Libya and the challenges of an ongoing conflict.
In addition to this recent decision, last night the US Senate passed by unanimous consent a resolution on Libya which praised the Security Council referral of the Libya situation to the ICC. This resolution had been championed by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).