Libya: transitional justice process must ensure accountability and justice for victims – new report

In a briefing paper published today, the ICJ called on the Libyan authorities to act to amend the country’s transitional justice law in order to allow it to serve its purpose in facilitating accountability, truth and reparation for past and ongoing gross human rights violations committed in the country.

To date, transitional justice in Libya has not been implemented due to the entrenched political instability and ongoing armed conflict.

International support for the transitional justice process has recently been expressed in the Berlin Conference Conclusions on 19 January 2020, endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2510 (2020).

“Reconciliation in the country won’t be achieved unless accountability for gross human rights violations and justice to victims are guaranteed,” said Said Benarbia, the ICJ’s MENA Programme Director.

“To achieve these objectives, the transitional justice framework must be fully reviewed to conform to Libya’s obligations under international law.”

This framework, particularly Law No. 29 of 2013, fails to provide for jurisdiction over crimes under international law, including enforced disappearance, rape and other forms of sexual violence, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It also fails to ensure that legal measures historically used by States to foster impunity – such as amnesties, immunities and statutory limitations – cannot apply to prosecutions for these crimes.

The independence, impartiality and competence of the Fact-Finding and Reconciliation Commission, established under the Law to conduct fact-finding into gross human rights violations and award reparations to victims, is not adequately guaranteed. The scope of its mandate is not sufficiently clear and its investigative powers are too weak to serve its purpose.

Law No. 29 of 2013 does not also adequately ensure the right to truth or lay the foundations for the public participation in, and the transparency of, the transitional justice process.

The Law also fails to provide for access to effective remedies and full and adequate reparations to victims of gross human rights violations or abuses, and their next of kin.

“Transitional justice in Libya must live up to the expectations of victims and their families,” said Kate Vigneswaran, the ICJ’s MENA Programme Senior Legal Adviser.

“Libyans have the right to know the complete truth regarding all gross human rights violations perpetrated in Libya, and victims must be guaranteed full redress for the harm suffered.”


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

Kate Vigneswaran, Senior Legal Adviser, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +31-62-489-4664; e: kate.vigneswaran(a)


Libya-Transitional justice-Publications-Reports-thematic report-2020-ENG (full report, in PDF)

Libya-Transitional justice-Publications-Reports-thematic report-2020-ARA (full report in Arabic, PDF)

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