Libya: revise Draft Constitution to ensure compliance with international standards

With the signing of the political agreement on a national unity government today, the next step in Libya’s transition will be to ensure that its new Constitution fully conforms to international rule of law and human rights standards, the ICJ said today.

The statement came as the ICJ released its new report The Draft Libyan Constitution: Procedural Deficiencies, Substantive Flaws.

In the report, the ICJ calls on the Libyan Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) to substantially revise the Draft Constitution published in October with a view to ensuring its full compliance with Libya’s obligations under international human rights law and international standards.

Libyan authorities, including the CDA, should also put in place effective mechanisms to ensure that the drafting process is inclusive, participatory, and fully reflects the views of a broad range of stakeholders, including civil society and minority groups.

The report concludes that the Draft Constitution, in many key respects, does not conform to Libya’s obligations under international human rights law or to international rule of law standards.

“The new Constitution provides a crucial opportunity to depart from decades of authoritarianism under Moammar Ghadafi’s regime. It must therefore provide for a strong foundation upon which the rule of law, including the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary and civilian oversight over military and armed groups, can be established and upheld,” said Said Benarbia, Director of the ICJ MENA programme.

The Draft Constitution should also be amended to provide for a comprehensive set of human rights and protections that fully accord with international human rights law, including provisions relating to non-discrimination, the right to life, the right to liberty and security, the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, protections for minorities, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, fair trial rights, and a range of economic, social and cultural rights.

“The Libyan Constitution must at a minimum conform to the definition and scope of the rights contained within the human rights treaties to which Libya is a state party.  Any scope for limitation of rights must conform to the criteria for such limitations under international law and, in particular, only as are provided for by law, are proportionate, and are demonstrably necessary in a free and democratic society,” Benarbia added.

Doireann Ansbro, Associate Legal Advisor of the ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, tel: +216 71 841 701, email: doireann.ansbro(a)

Libya-Draft Constitution Flaws Deficiencies-Publications-Reports-2015-ENG (full report in PDF, English)

Libya-Constitution Flaws Report-News-Press releases-2015-ARA (full press release in Arabic, PDF)

Libya-Draft Constitution Flaws Deficiencies-Publications-Reports-2015-ARA (full report in PDF, Arabic)

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