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UN urges Libya to pursue transitional justice strategy

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) [official website] on Monday called on Libyan authorities to implement a transitional justice strategy [UN News Centre report] in order to rebuild and reshape its decades-long history of dictatorial cruelty and last year's civil war. The report, Transitional Justice - Foundation for a New Libya [text], makes several recommendations that UNSMIL believes will move Libya's national congress and new government toward a more democratic state, a transition the organization concedes will not be easy after the 40-year autocratic rule of Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Among the suggestions, UNSMIL called for a victim-oriented approach to the new Libyan judicial process and improved due process, noting that prosecutors should end the continued detention of about 700 people without trial. Additionally, the report recommended increasing public dialogue and debate in Libyan society, establishing reforms to prevent future human rights violations, and addressing conflicts among internal groups for an easier reconciliation and a better understanding of the country's historical causes of conflict.

In August the National Transitional Council of Libya [official website, in Arabic] transferred its power [JURIST report] to the newly elected interim legislature, marking a significant step toward the country's democratic development since the Libya conflict [JURIST backgrounder]. The UN welcomed the transition [UN News Centre report] and reiterated its support for Libya's move toward democracy. The national assembly was elected [CFR report] in July, and the draft of the electoral law was finalized in February after the earlier version was revised [JURIST report] to address criticisms of the public. UNSMIL welcomed the new electoral law [JURIST report], commenting that the country is coming closer to a democratic society. Libya was criticized in January [JURIST report] for allegations of torture and human rights violations, and the country remains fragile in transition.

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