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Libya officials pledge new constitution, Gaddafi role unclear

Libyan officials on Sunday promised a new constitution and "a Libyan form" of democracy, but provided no explanation as to what role current Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] might play in the new government. Libya currently has no constitution, but rather, is governed by a book Gaddafi wrote in the 1970s, as well as Gaddafi himself. Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim gathered the media after midnight [Reuters report] on Sunday and indicated that the decision is an attempt to force the opposition's hand, alleging that they are more interested in obtaining power for themselves than actually establishing a democracy.

The announcement comes less than two days after a UN announcement that investigators would enter Libya next week [JURIST report] to begin looking into alleged human rights abuses by both rebels and Gaddafi's armed forces. The inquiry into the conditions in Libya had been approved by a unanimous vote [JURIST report] of members of the UN Human Rights Council on February 25. The three-person team will be led by Cherif Bassiouni [official profile], who indicated that Libyan officials know that the investigative team will be arriving in Libya [Reuters report] next week. The panel will cooperate with the International Criminal Court [official website], which last month opened its own investigation [JURIST report] into alleged abuses in Libya.

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