After years of rioting and wars in Libya, officials have determined that a new strategy must be implemented to put those who have committed heinous crimes to justice. However, the fairness requested will only occur with the cooperation of Libya and it’s people.
Following the lead of other neighboring Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, the protests in Libya could probably be categorized as one of the most detrimental. In 2011, the people of Libya called for the resignation of their leader Muammar al-Quaddafi, protesting in the streets and taking over cities such as Zawiyah gaining control over the city’s oil refinery. The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Quaddafi and urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate into the actions of “widespread and systematic attacks,” lead by Quaddafi towards the people of Libya. With many lives lost and cities being taken over, Quaddafi and his family went into hiding until a few months later, the government of Libya announced that Quaddafi had been killed by rebel troops in his hometown of Surt.
Being released from the reign of Quaddafi meant that it was now time for the people of Libya to rebuild the damage done to the country and it’s political system. Speaking on behalf of the people of Libya, the Prosecutor for the ICC Fatou Bensouda addressed the UN Security Council describing Libya’s desire to become, “a stable, democratic society that fully observes the rule of law and punishes perpetrators of crimes that shock the conscience of humanity.” However, in order to reach this status, Libya must first show that it is ready to implement fairness and begin correcting its legal process.
Many changes to Libya’s political and legal system were requested, such as guaranteeing that detainee’s were brought to proper facilities in order to receive due process rights, to cease the inhumane treatment of prisoners in Libya. Furthermore, the Prosecutor urged the importance of compliance with requests and arrest warrants executed by the ICC, finding that it was time for the Libya Government to hand over the son of the former leader, Saif Al-Islam Qadhafi. In finding that it was time to give Libya a chance to prove that they are able to provide genuine and fair trials, the ICC decided that it would allow Libya to try former senior intelligence official Abdullah Al-Senussi for committing crimes against humanity, in Libya’s national courts.
With other people hiding out in Libya who have committed or are still committing crimes, the Prosecutor found that the ICC and Libya government alone would not be enough to complete investigations of these suspects, but instead the international community must begin to bring support.
Will Libya be able to begin anew and comply with the requests of the ICC and try those in their own courts fairly? What can be done to help Libya change its legal system to attain its goal of becoming a more democratic and fair society? How can other international countries help in reaching this goal?