[JURIST] Recent violence between Libyan political factions has been alarming and unprecedented in its gravity, according to a statement [text] released Wednesday by the outgoing Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) [official website]. Representative Tarek Mitri cited areas of grave concern within the country, including armed battles, air strikes, and mass movements of citizens to escape the violence. Approximately 150,000 Libyan citizens have sought refuge in other countries, while 100,000 remain displaced. Mitri urged political leaders to communicate with one another. He also warned that further violence could derail the democratic process, resulting in instability and uncertainty.
Libya remains politically unstable three years after the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war that deposed former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. In June Libya's Supreme Constitutional Court refused [JURIST report] to accept the appointment of Ahmed Maetig as the country's new prime minister, declaring the nomination unconstitutional. In a May briefing to the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] said that Libya faces a deep political crisis and serious security challenges [JURIST report], inhibiting its ability to rebuild itself as a modern democratic state. Last August the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed criminal charges [JURIST report] in the deadly attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. The sealed complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] against an unspecified number of individuals.