Tripoli: April 3
A group of Libyan lawyers is still awaiting a response from the prime minister Abdurrahim El-Kib, after it . . .[restrict]wrote an open letter expressing its concern over the government’s attitude to human rights, saying that there were no circumstances in which any citizen should not be treated differently before the law. The group decried any suggestion that violations should be seen “in the context” of past crimes and violence.
Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL), an independent non-governmental organisation working to protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in Libya, wrote to the prime minister to protest a statement from the Libyan delegation before the UN Human Rights Council, in response to the Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Libya that violations should be taken “in context. ”
“We are particularly concerned that the statement was made by a senior representative of the Ministry of Justice, a person who we would expect to promote the rule of law.”
Having agreed that four decades of Qaddafi oppression and the armed conflict had scarred Libyans, the LFJL argued : “However, we believe that the only way we can ever rebuild our country is by implementing the rule of law and by applying the principle of accountability equally to all perpetrators of human rights violations.
“The Libyan delegation’s response to the Report of the Commission for Inquiry on Libya raises serious concerns regarding Libya’s commitment to hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations, irrespective of who the perpetrators, or the victims, may be.
“In particular, we ?nd the Libyan delegation’s response concerning the con?ict between Misrata and Thwerga, and purporting that the displacement of thousands of people must be seen in ‘context’ is alarming. There is no context, other than the law, by which to view such violations. Further, con?rming that a fair and transparent investigation into the deaths of Muammar Gadda? and Muttasim Gadda? whilst, again, attempting to provide a justi?cation, raises serious concerns to the ability to hold those responsible accountable or to ensure due process. ”
The LFJL continued: “Finally, the justi?cation of the human rights violations which the report attributes to the thuwar, as merely a reaction to the atrocities committed by the Gadda? regime, suggest that, in the opinion of our Ministry of Justice, human rights are applied subjectively.”
Noting that the UN concluded that human rights violations were continuing, the lawyers stated: “We deem it extremely irresponsible and inappropriate for a representative of the Ministry of Justice, the national body entrusted with upholding the law, in any way, to attempt to justify these violations. We ask the Libyan authorities instead, to adopt the necessary measures in order to prevent these violations from being committed and to investigate fully and transparently all violations which have thus far been committed, regardless of who the perpetrator or the victim may be.
“If Libya is to become a country truly governed by the rule of law, the culture of impunity must be addressed. The reports of ongoing human rights violations, including the allegations of torture, must be investigated and those responsible held to account. Impunity for current violations resulting from a sense of revolutionary legitimacy is dangerous and perpetuates the culture that existed under the Gadda? regime, where all was justi?ed in the name of the 1969 Revolution.
” Libya’s transition to a country that is governed by the rule of law, that is truly democratic and represents all Libyans requires it to break away from the Gadda? inheritance and also from a perspective that sees human rights through the prism of the February 17 Revolution. ”
The lawyers concluded: “We therefore call on you, as the Prime Minister of the Interim Government, to ensure that your ministries do not undermine Libya’s new respected position in the world and, more importantly, do not undermine the rule of law by suggesting that human rights are applied subjectively or may be justi?ed by any alleged revolutionary legitimacy.”