[JURIST] Ahmed Ibrahim, former minister of education and information for Libya, was sentenced to death on Wednesday for inciting citizens in Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown and place of death, Sirte [map], to oppose the rebellion. He is the first member of Gaddafi’s ministry to receive a death sentence [AP report], which is to be carried out via firing squad. Ibrahim was also a high ranking member of the “revolutionary committees,” organizations of Gaddafi’s loyalists known for enforcing his policies. Human rights activists have raised concerns [HRW press release] that the Libyan criminal courts based in Misrata do not meet international standards. The conviction must be confirmed [BBC report] by the Supreme Court before the sentence can be carried out.
This conviction and sentencing come amid debate between the UN and Libya over the proper venue to try Gaddafi-era officials. Human rights groups and the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] have raised objections to the fairness and due process procedures of the newly-established judicial system multiple times [JURIST report]. The ICC and the Libyan courts have both asserted that their own system is the most appropriate venue [JURIST report] for the trial of Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. The ICC has been monitoring the conflict [JURIST feature] since 2011, when the UN Security Council voted unanimously to refer the Libyan revolution to its venue. Although its jurisdiction is subject to a State’s proceedings, the ICC will trump that State’s right when it cannot genuinely provide due process.