Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) calls on the General National Congress (GNC) to ensure that the Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) is fully constituted prior to the initiation of drafting process. Following the first meeting the CDA, the members will have 120 days to produce a draft constitution. A feasible strategy must be clarified to ensure all representatives will be included throughout of the drafting process.
The CDA elections on the 20 February 2014 were boycotted by the Amazigh and sections of Tebu people, preventing their initial inclusion in the constitutional drafting process. The elections were further marred by attacks on several polling stations preventing members of these communities from electing representatives. Despite the efforts of the High National Election Commission (HNEC) to organise replacement elections on 26 February 2014, ongoing threats of violence once again obstructed voting in 81 polling stations across the country. As a result 13 of the 60 CDA seats remain unoccupied.
LFJL acknowledges the intentions of the GNC in recently issued decrees no. 25 and no. 26 of 2014, which mandate HNEC to carry out additional elections in the districts where voting for the CDA members was not possible. In order for these elections to be successful, it is necessary that individuals from participating communities are able to engage in the process effectively and safely. It is therefore important for HNEC to ensure that the registration of voters is an inclusive and open process, in order to provide a satisfactory democratic foundation for the elections. LFJL also strongly urges the GNC to take active steps to guarantee the security of polling stations.
However, LFJL is concerned that these measures to fill the seats will not result in an inclusive drafting process. LFJL Director, Elham Saudi, said, “If the CDA meet on the 14 April, they will effectively start the clock on 120 day constitutional drafting process. This creates an unacceptable risk that more than 20% of drafters will be excluded, in part or totally, from the drafting process.” She added, “The constitution offers the opportunity to define the relationship between the state and the people of Libya. It is absolutely crucial that representatives from all constituencies are involved in all stages of the drafting if it is to be considered a legitimate and inclusive process.”
LFJL stresses the importance of the CDA being fully established prior to the initiation of the constitutional drafting process. The current plans to commence without the remaining 13 members will severely limit the inclusiveness of the process and risk excluding whole communities within Libya.
LFJL recommends that the GNC and HNEC devise a clear strategy on how the remaining CDA seats will be filled, and ensure that the CDA is fully constituted, prior to the initiation of any drafting activities. LFJL reminds the government that this message is consistent with Libya’s recent international commitments at the 25th General Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Libya drafted and co-sponsored resolution A/HRC/25/L.35 whereby they undertook to “ensure participation of all members of society, as far as possible, in the process of drafting the Constitution”.