Interim Libyan leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil [official profile] said Tuesday that he intends to make Islamic Sharia law the basic source of legislation and reject any tenets in contradiction the teachings of Islam, but all in moderation to reflect Libya's political landscape, cultural norms and religious makeup. Though Abdul-Jalil says he intends to legalize polygamy [AP report], which was previously outlawed by former leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], he does not intend to adopt the harsher punishments instituted by Iran and Saudi Arabia, such as cutting off limbs for thievery, beheading murderers, stoning adulterers and publicly flogging alcohol users. Critics fear that even the moderate implementation of Sharia law may stunt progressive legislation for women and families [Daily Mail report] and that insisting on the implementation of any Sharia law without allowing a vote on the issue flies in the face of Libya's long, violent struggle for democracy. Others celebrate the once-banned moderate Islamic party's presence in the upcoming free election.
This announcement follows closely on the heels of Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] urging Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) [official website] to investigate the apparent "mass execution" [press release] of 53 Gaddafi supporters whose bodies were discovered [JURIST report] at an abandoned hotel in an area of Sirte that was under anti-Gaddafi control. The call for the NTC to investigate the discovery of the bodies comes days after Gaddafi was captured and killed and the Libyan prime minister declared the official liberation [JURIST reports] from Gaddafi's regime. Gaddafi's death and Libya's liberation come as the latest of milestones [JURIST timeline] in the Libya conflict [JURIST backgrounder], which began in February as a protest in opposition to the arrest of a prominent human rights activist. The ICC warned Libya [JURIST report] in May against covering up possible war crimes that have occurred during the conflict, and stated those involved in a cover-up will be held accountable. Prior to Gaddafi's death, which is currently under investigation [JURIST report], the ICC issued arrest warrants [JURIST report] for him and two of his high-ranking officials for their involvement in crimes against humanity.