The Gaddafi regime was able to commit vast human rights violations because of an enshrined culture of impunity. This inheritance still permeates Libyan culture, with impunity now being displayed with regard to certain actions committed against Gaddafi loyalists. A crucial element of the transitional period is the establishment of a culture of accountability, for past crimes as well as current and future crimes, which applies regardless of political affiliations.
LFJL’s Transitional Justice, Impunity and Human Rights Programme will engage on key issues of transitional justice, fighting impunity and the promotion of human rights. Under this programme, LFJL has identified key shortcomings: the capacity of the legal profession and the security forces, the political will of the interim government and the concern for a growing culture of ‘victor’s justice.’ Further, LFJL believes that the issue of overcoming the legacy of torture in Libya as well as proactively utilising complementarity will provide key catalysts for a successful transitional period.
The Constitutional Declaration was a document drafted with no popular consultation. It not only sets out the parameters for the elections and the transitional period, but it also sets out the parameters of the dialogue on the permanent constitution in relation to key ideological issues. With such key issues addressed without popular involvement, engagement on the next phase is crucial to ensure that all stakeholders are represented and that the permanent Libyan constitution is one that protects all Libyans, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, tribe, geographical location, political affiliation or any other affiliation.
LFJL’s Constitution Building and Legal Reform Programme promotes a fair and inclusive constitution beginning with a fair and inclusive consultative process. It also promotes a transparent process for the drafting of all laws and calls for the participation of key stakeholders in a consultation process for these laws.
Lack of transparency in the decision-making processes of the NTC and the transitional government is a common grievance of Libyans, both at the professional level and the grassroots level. This grievance has manifested itself in an inability of the transitional government to establish a legitimate authority with the population and, as a result, the government has been unable to undertake key actions, such as disarmament, effectively.
Further, Libya has inherited a weakened judicial system, and one that does not have the trust of the people, as a result of the Gaddafi regime’s marginalisation and systematic stripping of the judiciary’s independence. For Libya to complete the transition to a democratic state governed by the rule of law, it is vital that the judiciary is enshrined as an independent and separate branch of government and one that serves as a true check on the legislative and executive branches of government.
LFJL’s International Advocacy Programme will be an integral part in promoting the goals of its other key programmes. LFJL’s dual base in London and Tripoli will significantly facilitate its ability to advocate on an international stage effectively. LFJL has been represented at all sessions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN Human Rights Council since April 2011.