Libya: NPWJ fosters dialogue on accountability and criminal justice challenges faced by the legal community

29 Jan, 2013 | Press Releases

Tripoli, Libya, 29 January 2013

On 28 January 2013, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) convened in Tripoli a colloquium on Criminal Justice Procedures and Transitional Justice at NPWJ’s Tripoli office, bringing together local lawyers, prosecutors, judges and human rights activists. The colloquium is the fourth of a series of colloquia in Libya, held earlier in Tripoli and Benghazi, in cooperation with the local Bar Associations and civil society partners. The speakers for the fourth colloquium included Noori Bakai, chief prosecutor of East Tripoli and Marieke Wierda, Senior Human Rights Transitional Justice Officer for UNSMIL.

The colloquium aimed at generating a productive dialogue within the legal community on issues related to criminal justice in Libya. Given that in Libya no special court, tribunal or alternative prosecutorial mechanism have been established yet, criminal trials under the regular justice system remain so far the only mechanisms that contribute at establishing the rule of law through ensuring individual criminal accountability.

During this colloquium, participants addressed issues raised by the draft law on Transitional Justice, the Amnesty Law and the Political Isolation Law, stressing the many challenges faced by Libyan lawyers, prosecutors and judges, in particular those related to the issue of prisoners. As a result of the revolution, there are more than 7,000 people who are currently in detention without legal process and with no realistic possibility for trials that reflect accurately the crimes suffered as a whole during the conflict. The conclusions from the discussion also highlighted the need to establish Special Courts managed by a task force with relatively good experience. Moreover, Libya’s existing Criminal Code provides for statutory limitation of 10 years for crimes, after which there can be no prosecution. Unless repealed, this provision entails the risk of preventing the prosecution of serious crimes committed during the Gadaffi era.

As the country embarks on legislative reforms, the Libyan authorities can break with the legacy of impunity and abuses that typified Gaddafi’s rule with a new respect for the rule of law and a commitment to restoring justice and dignity to victims. Doing so requires not only the investigation and prosecution of the crimes and violence perpetrated during the revolution, but also efforts to confront a history of oppression and human rights abuses that dates back decades under the rule of the former regime.

NPWJ has been working on the Libyan transition since early 2011, in the framework of its program entitled “Supporting Libya’s Democratic Transition through Justice and Accountability.” NPWJ has also held a series of meetings and workshops with civil society and government representatives in Benghazi, Misurata, Tripoli and Sabha to generate discussion on the needs and perceptions within Libya about its transitional justice process, also to develop ways to reach out to victims and the broader community on these issues.

  • Visit also the special page on No Peace Without Justice’s ongoing transitional justice programme in Libya
  • Brochure on Transitional Justice and Libya (Arabic)
  • For further information on the colloquium and activities please contact: Libya Program Coordinator Stefano Moschini, – Tel: +218-(0)917450375, and Libya Legal Program Officer Halla Al Mansouri, email: – Tel: +218-(0)919955359