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Libya high court dissolves UN-backed parliament

[JURIST] Libya's Supreme Court on Thursday declared the UN-backed elected parliament unconstitutional. The ongoing crisis in Libya has created two rival parliaments [Reuters report], one based in the nation's capital Tripoli, and the other, which was declared illegitimate by the high court, based in the northeastern city of Tobruk. The court, in a televised ruling, found that the June 25 election of the House of Representatives and the subsequent appointment of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni illegal under the country's provisional constitution. The internationally recognized Tobruk-based government fled to the northeast of the country after rival militias forced the government out of Libya's three major cities: Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata. Tripoli, home of Libya's Supreme Court, has been under the control of the militia group Operation Dawn since August. They have reinstated the previous parliament, the General National Congress (GNC) who brought the challenge before the high court.

Libya remains politically unstable three years after the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war that deposed former dictator Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary]. In October Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released a report accusing rival militias in Libya of committing serious human rights abuses [JURIST report], including war crimes. In the same month Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah [USA Today profile] pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to 17 charges related to the September 2012 attack [WP backgrounder] on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, including some charges that warrant the death penalty. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] condemned [JURIST report] the targeted attacks on human rights groups and activists by armed groups in Libya.

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