Libya: transitional justice must be inclusive and gender-responsive

The success of transitional justice in Libya is dependent on the full inclusion and effective participation of women and on the integration of a gender perspective, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said in a briefing paper published today.

The Libyan transitional justice framework, namely Law No. 29 of 2013, enshrines women’s exclusion. As a result, it will fail to secure accountability, the right to truth, and effective remedies and reparations for serious human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based (SGB) crimes, and will not guarantee national reconciliation either.

“Libya’s transitional justice is failing women”, said Said Benarbia, Director of the ICJ’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“Women’s exclusion from decision-making fora, including those delivering transitional justice, rests on harmful gender stereotypes and outdated patriarchal misconceptions the Libyan authorities must eradicate”, added Benarbia.

Moreover, recent political and legal developments show that the Libyan authorities are increasingly pitting “transitional justice” against “national reconciliation”, as if one could be achieved at the expenses of the other.

In Libya, where there is no accountability for serious human rights violations, this effectively means further entrenching the already prevailing impunity, including for SGB crimes.

“The Libyan transitional justice process is under attack”, Benarbia said.

“The international community must support Libyan civil society’s efforts to strengthen transitional justice and reject the Libyan authorities’ attempt to derail it.”

In a briefing paper released today, titled Towards Gender-Responsive Transitional Justice in Libya: Addressing Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes against Women, the ICJ recommended the Libyan authorities to:

  • Ensure that a gender-responsive approach be streamlined throughout the transitional justice process, including by addressing structural economic and social inequalities between women and men;
  • Guarantee women’s right to equal, effective and meaningful participation in the design, planning and implementation of the transitional justice process;
  • Effectively investigate and, when the evidence so warrants, prosecute and punish SGB crimes committed by both State actors and non-State armed groups, and remove legal obstacles to the prosecution of SGB crimes;
  • Include appropriate gender analysis in all aspects of criminal justice actors’ work, from the investigation to the prosecution, trial and sentencing phases;
  • Ensure the full and safe participation in the transitional justice process, including through protection from reprisals, of victims/survivors and witnesses of SGB crimes; and
  • Guarantee access to justice, the right to an effective remedy and adequate reparations for victims and survivors of SGB crimes.


This web story in Arabic

The briefing paper in English

The briefing paper in Arabic


Said Benarbia, Director, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +41-22-979-3817; e: said.benarbia(a)

Asser Khattab, Research and Communications’ Officer, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, e: asser.khattab(a)

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