[JURIST] Libya’s Supreme Constitutional Court on Monday refused to accept the appointment of Ahmed Maetig as the country’s new prime minister, declaring the nomination unconstitutional. The rejection of the Islamist-led parliament’s appointment was not accompanied by any further details or instructions [AP report], and the parliament has said it will comply with the court’s decision, leaving interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni in office. Maetig’s election win came after he earned 121 votes [Al Jazeera report], just surpassing the 120 needed under Libya’s constitution, and has been contested by some politicians and judicial experts. Although Thinni announced his resignation [Al Jazeera report] in April, he has refused to hand over power to Maetig or recognize his cabinet. Maetig has stated that he will respect the court’s decision. The top UN envoy to Libya has praised the decision and also promised to respect it.
Questions about the rule of law in Libya have arisen in the wake of the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war that deposed Muammar Gaddafi. In a briefing to the UN Security Council in May, International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] said that Libya faces a deep political crisis[JURIST report] and serious security challenges, inhibiting its ability to rebuild itself as a modern democratic state. In March Saadi Gaddafi was extradited [JURIST report] from Niger back to Libya to stand trial for crimes allegedly committed during his father’s rule. In February a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] warned against [JURIST report] recent amendments to Libya’s penal code. Law No. 5 of 2014 imposes prison sentences on any individual “undermining the February 17 revolution” and for “publicly insulting one of the legislative, executive or judicial authorities.” Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi have also faced charges of crimes against humanity before the ICC. In October the ICC ruled [decision, PDF] that the case against al-Senussi is inadmissible before the ICC [press release] and can only be heard by domestic courts in Libya but noted that the decision did not affect the issue with regards to the charges against Gaddafi. Back in 2011 Saadi Gaddafi was implicated [JURIST report] in a plot to flee to Mexico by the Secretary of the Interior.