25 January 2013
Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) urges Libya's General National Congress (GNC) to ensure that the proposed Political Isolation Law does not violate the constitutional and human rights of Libyans. The draft law, approved by the GNC on 26 December 2012, aims to disqualify anyone previously associated with the Gaddafi regime from holding public office or senior posts in government. The committee in charge of the draft is expected to present the final details to the GNC this week.
“The exclusion of anyone from political or public office must be done on the basis of previous criminal acts and not on the mere fact that they were associated with or worked for the previous regime,” said LFJL Director Elham Saudi. “The proposed law – or any law – must not be used to circumvent proper accountability processes or the promotion of justice through the due process of law. The cost of doing so can only erode, rather than promote, the rule of law in Libya,” added Saudi.
LFJL highlights that national reconciliation cannot be achieved if laws are wielded as tools of revenge against former regime officials and political adversaries. “The law should not be used as a way of punishing or disenfranchising perceived loyalists. Doing so would be in clear violation of basic human rights,” said Saudi.
LFJL further stresses that anyone excluded from public office in Libya under this law must also be granted the legitimate opportunity to defend him or herself against any charges in front of an independent judicial body.
Throughout the Destoori campaign and Rehlat Watan, during which LFJL visited over thirty cities and communities across Libya, it became clear that the fate of individuals associated with the former regime was a highly debated subject. LFJL strongly urges the GNC to engage Libyans across the country and across political affiliations through a broad-based and inclusive consultation process with civil society before proceeding with the proposed law.