NPWJ releases Handbook to support Trial Monitoring in Libya

Brussels-Tripoli, 21 November 2013

In the framework of its project to support Libya’s democratic transition through justice and accountability, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) has produced a Handbook aiming at assisting the efforts of the developing network for trial monitoring in Libya in establishing an effective project that will have the ability to follow high-profile cases as they arise and to contribute to justice sector reforms in the national justice system.
Following the Libyan revolution, there is a clear desire and expectation within Libya for justice and accountability to form part of the backbone of Libya’s transition from dictatorship to democracy. In particular, Libya has to address past violations during the conflict in 2011 (and subsequent events) and during the 42 years of the Gaddafi regime, to support an effective transition from authoritarianism to democracy and the rule of law. To reach these goals, it is important for the nascent Libyan civil society to have the necessary capacity and the knowledge to engage effectively with political actors and with grassroots constituencies in the conceptual development and implementation of transitional justice solutions. Engaging lawyers, civil society and the media in monitoring Libya's trials concerning the conflict and previous human rights violations in a professional and constructive manner will also contribute to promote transparency and accountability within the Libyan judiciary.
Trial-monitoring projects have been implemented in various contexts, both at the international and national levels. They constitute a unique tool for those who are interested in enhancing the fairness, effectiveness and transparency of judicial systems. Indeed, at its most basic level, trial monitoring is an activity which supports the right to a public trial and contributes to the transparency of the judicial process. Trial monitoring can serve as a diagnostic tool for assessing the manner in which key aspects of the justice system function and can therefore play a unique role in supporting judicial reforms, especially when organised as a wider and longer-term project.
The present Handbook is largely inspired by the extensive experience of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in trial monitoring activities, as well as of such activities carried out in other parts of Africa and at the International Criminal Court. It is firmly based on the best practices and lessons learned and distilled in the 2012 Revised edition of the document “Trial Monitoring: A Reference Manual for Practitioners” published by OSCE/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), from which much of this Handbook is drawn. This Handbook endeavours to adapt the various trial-monitoring practices to the Libyan context and to the specific circumstances prevalent in the country. Its drafting has also been informed by direct discussions with Libyan legal professionals interested in participating in a trial monitoring network, which took place during a field visit in the country from 14 to 17 June 2013.      
NPWJ in Libya
NPWJ has been working on the Libyan transition since early 2011 and has been on-the-ground since early October 2011. It has had a permanent presence in Tripoli since March 2012 and has been working to create a network of Libyan actors to engage different sectors of Libyan society on transitional justice. Its work in Libya combines the provision of transitional justice information (both in cooperation with the institutions and in partnerships with civil society), including on outreach and documentation, with research and analysis of public expectations and perceptions.
NPWJ is partnering with a wide range of civil society organisations from across the country, including both more established and emerging ones. It aims to help build and reinforce the capacity of Libyan actors, including NGOs, academics, lawyers and media, public authorities and opinion-leaders, to play their role in incorporating accountability, human rights and the rule of law in the democracy transition and post-conflict reconstruction of their country. On the institutional side, NPWJ is working with the Ministry of Justice, and its Higher Judicial Training Institute, in providing training and expertise to the judges and prosecutors who have been charged with the enormous task of dealing with those suspected to have committed or directed atrocities during the conflict, and during the previous regime. NPWJ has also established a trial monitoring program, which is being run in collaboration with the Tripoli Bar Association and aims to promote transparency and accountability within the Libyan judiciary.

For further information on the activities of NPWJ in Libya please contact Stefano Moschini, Libya Program Coordinator, at or +218917450375, or Gianluca Eramo, MENA Program Coordinator, on or +32-2-548-3912.