LFJL strongly condemns the actions of those responsible for the violent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Tuesday evening that killed four U.S. officials and ten Libyan security personnel. Such an attack is in defiance of both national and international law, and poses a serious threat to efforts to re-establish the rule of law in Libya. This attack follows several others on the UK ambassador to Libya, Dominic Asquith, the Red Cross, and the UN. LFJL extends its deepest condolences to all those effected by this tragic incident, especially the family members of Chris Stevens and all of those who lost loved ones as a result of this violent, illegal and inexcusable act.
LFJL demands the Libyan authorities to investigate immediately the attack and hold the perpetrators accountable in a timely fashion. LFJL strongly encourages the Libyan government to provide greater protection to foreign diplomatic staff in times of national agitation in accordance with its obligations under Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
“This attack, like those of the previous weeks on religious and cultural sites, represents the dire state of the rule of law in Libya and highlights the impunity with which perpetrators of gross violations of national and international law are currently operating. The Libyan government has a duty to ensure the rule of law is upheld by actively pursuing accountability and ensuring that no actor is above the law. In addition to its duties under diplomatic treaties to provide protection for diplomatic missions, the Libyan government must demonstrate to Libyans and the world that impunity has no place in the new Libya,” said Elham Saudi Director LFJL.
The attack further points to the need for disarmament. The proliferation of arms across the country threatens its security and stability. Every individual, Libyan and otherwise, is vulnerable to fatal attack if no serious measures are put in place for arms control. A troubling consequence of the spread of weapons has been the spate of recent attacks on religious and cultural sites and diplomatic posts. “Put simply, attacks like that against the US Consulate would be highly unlikely had there been greater control over the spread of arms and by bringing Libya’s militias under central command,” said Saudi.
To date, the government has not been able to assert effective control over the militias that emerged during the 17 February Revolution. “The militias remain a force unto themselves and, until they are disarmed and until former rebels are incorporated into the police and army, the potential for such attacks is all too real. The Libyan government must re-double efforts to bring stability and peace by asserting effective and legitimate command over militias.”
LFJL reminds the elected legislature and the newly appointed Prime Minister of their obligations to enforce the rule of law. “As a member of the previous government, Prime Minister Abu Shagur has the benefit of continuity and knowledge. We call on him to use this continuity and knowledge to move beyond simply condemning these actions and to take all the steps necessary to ensure that these violations are dealt with promptly, fairly and transparently and to take all steps to prevent non-recurrence,” added Saudi.