ICC prosecutor: security issues preventing Libya from becoming modern, democratic state

[JURIST] In a briefing to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] said that Libya faces a deep political crisis and serious security challenges [press release], inhibiting its ability to rebuild itself as a modern democratic state. Bensouda expressed concern with criminal impunity in Libya, particularly the Libyan government's failure to address alleged crimes in Tawergha, whose residents have been targeted for revenge because of their perceived support of Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] during the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder]. Bensouda concluded with the recommendation that Libya's international partners form a contact group on justice issues [UN News Centre report] to assist Libya in its struggle to bring criminals to justice.

Questions about the rule of law in Libya have arisen in the wake of the the 2011 uprising and subsequent civil war that deposed Muammar Gaddafi. In March Saadi Gaddafi was extradited [JURIST report] from Niger back to Libya to stand trial for crimes allegedly committed during his father's rule. In February a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] warned against [JURIST report] recent amendments to Libya's penal code. Law No. 5 of 2014 imposes prison sentences on any individual "undermining the February 17 revolution" and for "publicly insulting one of the legislative, executive or judicial authorities." Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi have also faced charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC). In October the ICC ruled [decision, PDF] that the case against al-Senussi is inadmissible before the ICC [press release] and can only be heard by domestic courts in Libya, but noted that the decision did not affect the issue with regards to the charges against Gaddafi. Back in 2011 Saadi Gaddafi was implicated [JURIST report] in a plot to flee to Mexico by the Secretary of the Interior.

 

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