On 11 November 2021, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace (LWPP) held a webinar titled “Transitional Justice Needs in Libya” to commemorate the first anniversary of the assassination of Libyan human rights advocate, Hanan al-Barassi, in Benghazi in the east of the country.
LWPP’s Zahra Langhi moderated the webinar, which was streamed live and viewed by over 550 people. She underscored that both State and non-State actors continue to perpetrate grave human rights violations and abuses with impunity in Libya, including arbitrary killings, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances.
Langhi also highlighted that Hanan al-Baraassi’s horrific assassination was not a unique event in itself, but part of a systematic pattern of violent attacks against human rights activists, including women, that has persisted in the past few years.
ICJ Commissioner, Jurist Marwan Tashani, explained that political strife, coupled with a lack of political will on the part of the authorities, has been hindering and diverting the course of transitional justice in Libya.
Indeed, despite the overthrowing of Muammar Gadhafi’s the regime, many of the demands of the Libyan people, including establishing the rule of law and ending impunity for serious violations of human rights, are yet to be met.
Tashani added that, while national reconciliation may be a component of the transitional justice process, it should not be prioritized over truth-seeking and redress for victims of human rights violations. With respect to national reconciliation, an elected and legitimate Libyan authority should be capable of assisting in finding the truth and achieving justice to reconcile the collective memory of the Libyans and offer reparations to the victims. Those objectives should be achieved through institutional and legislative reforms as well as fighting corruption and impunity.
Dr. Jazia Shaitier, a professor of criminal law at the University of Benghazi, stressed the relationship between the political and legislative contexts. Until now, Shaitier said, everyone in power and responsible for the decision-making processes has used transitional justice laws for their own interests, including through arbitrary amnesty measures, an arbitrary “ranking” of which human rights violations to focus on, and the persecution of dissidents and human rights defenders.
Shaitier highlighted the difficulty of following up on the transitional justice process before an end to the on-going political and military conflicts in Libya. Only when peace has been achieved, she explained, may a more effective transitional justice process be implemented.
Dr. Ahmed Jehani, the former Minister of Stability and Reconstruction, said that national reconciliation and a political settlement do not mean anything unless they focus on the concept of transitional justice. He advocated for the adoption of a charter through grassroots participation that could be used to launch the transitional justice phase.
You can watch the webinar here.
Said Benarbia, Director, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +41-22-979-3817; e: said.benarbia(a)icj.org
Asser Khattab, Research and Communications’ Officer, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, e: asser.khattab(a)icj.orgNewsWeb stories