On the 12th anniversary of the Libyan revolution, Adala for All association calls for important steps towards peace and democracy

On the 12th anniversary of the Libyan revolution, Libya continues to face a number of crisis on various political, social, and even geographical fronts. In addition, the abundance of firearms in the country means there is an ever-present risk of sporadic and localized conflict escalating into open war.

Adala for All association (AFA) calls on the Libyan authorities to reverse the implementation of laws which restrict and impede freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. AFA demands the ceasing of policies of intimidation, harassment of activists, assaults on lawyers and judges, and extensive abuses against marginalized groups of migrants, women, and detainees. AFA denounces the dangerous Law No. 5 of 2022 related to combating cybercrimes, and regulating the conditions for practicing media activity, which poses risks to the diversity and multiplicity of the media scene, while threatening the integrity of any upcoming electoral process. AFA reaffirms that impunity hinders Libya’s transition to a state of peace, democracy, and to the the rule of law that guarantees the separation of powers.

The association renews its call for an urgent suspension of disputes over the constitutional rule, and pleas for the concerned parties to find an alternative to the closed United Nations fact-finding mission as a way to continue to investigate ongoing crimes and violations.


Immediate retraction of repressive laws on civil society

Security agencies and armed groups across Libya continue a systematic campaign against freedom of expression and association, targeting independent civil society. The campaign is being led by the Internal Security Service in Tripoli and Benghazi, including individuals of the Madkhali Salafist movement, utilizing Gaddafi-era laws together with claims of compliance with moral and religious values. The competing Libyan security authorities in the east and west continue to vie for control of the country, to eliminate critical and independent voices, threatening any existing political processes and thereby putting at risk the legitimacy of any upcoming elections. Furthermore, the Civil Society Commission supports these repressive practices aimed at terrorizing independent civil society, instead of denouncing them.

AFA calls on the Libyan Parliament for the immediate abolition of Law No. 5 of 2022 (Anti-cybercrime law), and Government Resolution No. 811 of 2022 (Regulating the conditions for practicing media activity), and demands the authorities not to implement them but instead to draft laws in line with the Libyan Constitutional Declaration and international human rights standards, and Libya’s international obligations.

AFA urges the authorities to respect the treaty obligations and duties of Libya and to refrain from the relentless and systematic campaign against Libyan and international civil society organizations, journalists and the media, incited by religious factions. The association warns against the dangers of repressive practices on freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, forms of defamation of civil society activists through video-clips in which detainees “confess” under clear coercion of spreading “insults” to Islam and communicating with foreign organizations, and also the banning of peaceful demonstrations in Tripoli, and systematic detention in Sirte by the Benghazi Internal Security Service (ISA).


Addressing the policy of impunity in Libya and finding an alternative to the UN fact-finding mission to continue international investigations into crimes committed in Libya

International and local authorities continue to fail to prosecute those accused in dozens of cases brought against them inside and outside Libya, with many of them having been issued sentences or judicial orders to pursue them. Most of Libya continues to face severe human rights violations, including possible crimes against humanity, amid complete impunity. This threatens the integrity of the electoral process and impedes Libya’s transition to peace and democracy.


The Libyan file was transferred to the International Criminal Court in 2011, with the reporting of crimes committed in Libya continuing to this day. The court is currently considering a number of cases, including the April 2019 attacks on Tripoli, mass graves -including Tarhouna mass graves – and detention centers in Libya. AFA reiterates the importance of continuing the international investigation into crimes committed in Libya, including acts of killing, torture, imprisonment, rape, and enforced disappearance in prisons that may amount to crimes against humanity, according to the reports of the UN Human Rights Council and the fact-finding mission in Libya.


AFA insists on the importance of establishing a strict methodology to reducing impunity in Libya, supporting the besieged civil society, and finding an alternative to the closed UN fact-finding mission to be able to continue investigating ongoing crimes and violations, and guarantee support for the accountability process, including the use of international investigation mechanisms for the restoration of the rule of law in Libya.


The association demands access to the International Criminal Court team to help investigate crimes included in the Rome Statute and committed since 2011 in Libya. The association also asks the international community  toinsist on the implementation of arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court.


Following the end of the mandate of the fact-finding mission, it is necessary to have an alternative mechanism to complement the work of the mission and its predecessors in guaranteeing justice for the victims and to combat the existing culture of impunity in Libya. The alternative mechanism could include a hybrid special court, or a special rapporteur on violations in Libya, and the adoption of a resolution by the Human Rights Council for an international investigation mechanism that guarantees progress in collecting evidence and examining the criminal responsibility of those accused of gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.


Prioritising the finding of a solution to the dispute over the constitutional rule

The elections in Libya were postponed indefinitely two years ago, due to disagreements of political factions over the legal basis and eligibility of controversial candidates. It is crucial to expedite the creation of a fair constitutional base that satisfies the desires of the people and concerned parties according to which fair, transparent and impartial elections are held. In the event of the proposed constitutional base not obtaining the necessary legal approval, we call on the Libyan Dialogue Committee and the United Nations Mission to form a technical committee of Libyan legal experts – similar to the February 2014 committee – whose task would be to prepare a draft law to help organize the presidential and legislative elections, guaranteeing holding the elections before the end of 2023.

Furthermore, we call on the United Nations Mission, the European Union, and the Libyan authorities to immediately support and enable the High National Elections Commission and civil society to monitor the referendum and elections, through:

  • Enabling all Libyans to exercise their right to vote, run for election, and access polling stations safely. This could be achieved by working with the Civil Status Authority.
  • Launching awareness campaigns to inform and increase citizens’ and voters’ awareness of elections and referendums.
  • Training the staff of the “Libyan High National Elections Commission” on international standards for elections and referendums.
  • Delegating international observers from the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and other competent bodies to monitor referendum and elections.
  • Enabling Libyan civil society organizations to monitor the elections.
  • Enabling civil society associations to monitor media campaigns and their funds during the elections and referendum on the constitution.


Important steps towards peace and democracy

  • In accordance with the basic principles of human rights and Security Council Resolution No. 19,2570, countries coordinating with the UN Support Mission in Libya should pressure the Libyan authorities to urgently develop a comprehensive reform strategy for the security sector, and form a specialized technical committee to examine members of the security sector and armed groups, organize their dissolution, disarm their members, rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society.
  • Countries should use all diplomatic, financial and economic means available to reduce threats to peace by pressuring foreign and Libyan parties to accept the withdrawal of foreign forces.
  • EU member states and European institutions should review immigration and border management policies, and the grave violations committed against tens of thousands of women, men and children, including the freezing of any agreement facilitating illegal pushbacks and withdrawals, any support to Libyan parties allegedly committing grave abuses or involved in human trafficking, and condition any cooperation with the Libyan authorities on the implementation of concrete measures to protect the rights of refugees and migrants. This could include the adoption of asylum legislation and the ending of illegal detention of foreign nationals.
  • Countries should review arms transfers and security cooperation with all parties with a military presence in Libya, in order to reduce the risk of contributing to the violation of the arms embargo imposed by the UN. Cooperation should be on the condition of stopping any direct or indirect military participation in Libya, including the funding of foreign entities.
  • Countries should pressure the Libyan parties to abide by the road map of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, and to respect the basic principles of human rights included in the map and to guarantee providing a suitable environment for the holding of free and fair elections.
  • States should strongly condemn perpetrators of human rights violations and any Libyan parties’ or foreign forces’ attempts to disrupt the political process, including attacks on journalists and civil society representatives. Any individuals or groups responsible must be held to account and punished according to the law.

Despite it being twelve years since the Libyan revolution and despite many challenges and much frustration due to political maneuvering and ongoing, widespread violations of human rights, Adala for All association and Libyan and international civil society continue their endeavor to guarantee justice and the protection of human rights in Libya.


Adala For All Association