Litigation is one of the key ways that LFJL is able to use its legal expertise to assist those who have suffered human rights violations, and in doing so seeks to prevent such violations occurring again in the future by bringing an end to the current climate of impunity. Litigation can provide avenues for redress, rehabilitation and reparations for survivors of human rights abuses and hold those responsible to account. In addition, LFJL uses litigation to pursue significant changes to the law, policy and public opinion, so that stronger human rights protections will become established in Libya. The Strategic Litigation Programme also works with lawyers from across Libya to assist them in undertaking their own domestic, regional and international human rights litigation.
As the judiciary in Libya currently faces challenges and severe restrictions to its ability to consider human rights cases, the programme seeks to challenge impunity for rights violations through international human rights mechanisms. As well as breaking the cycle of impunity enjoyed by perpetrators and obtaining judgements that further strategic goals, the cases before international mechanisms are intended to pressure the state to adopt and implement a robust domestic framework for addressing human rights concerns. This would increase the ability of individuals to access justice, the state’s capacity to implement other human rights policy changes, and the efficiency of our capacity building work with legal stakeholders.
The Strategic Litigation Programme seeks justice domestically and internationally for survivors of human rights violations including torture, and facilitates psychological and physical rehabilitation work for survivors. It builds the capacity of local activists and lawyers to undertake their own strategic litigation through training events that focus on identifying, documenting and litigating cases domestically and internationally. The Strategic Litigation Programme advocates to strengthen domestic and international policy and law targeting human rights violations through interaction with the International Criminal Court (ICC), the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, UN mechanisms and the use of universal jurisdiction. Over the coming year we hope to expand the Strategic Litigation Programme activities to cover cases that address additional human rights concerns such as cultural heritage, education and statelessness.
Anti-Torture Project, La Mubarir
As part of its Anti-Torture Project La Mubarir (‘no justification’ in Arabic), LFJL aims to help prevent future instances of torture in Libya, and to assist torture survivors in accessing redress and rehabilitation.
La Mubarir was established in response to the findings made during Rehlat Watan, LFJL’s constitutional tour across all three of Libya’s regions. During the tour, over 40% of those with whom LFJL spoke felt that there were instances where torture was justified and over 65% were of the view that the ban on torture should not be applied universally.
In addition, Libya’s legal framework does not fully guarantee the right to be free from torture and little action has been taken by the state to prevent its future occurrence. Due to attacks against the judiciary and legal professionals, opportunities for torture survivors to seek legal redress at a national level are currently minimal.
La Mubarir seeks to address these key challenges through a range of activities in collaboration with its project partners REDRESS and DIGNITY (Danish Institute Against Torture). These activities include national and international advocacy, awareness-raising initiatives, capacity-building workshops for key anti-torture stakeholders, and strategic litigation. La Mubarir aims to draw attention to the fact that torture is never justified under any circumstances and to help those who have been tortured gain access to redress and rehabilitation.
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