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Libya must implement transitional justice strategy to address rights violations UN

17 September 2012 – A new United Nations report released today calls on the Libyan authorities to implement a transitional justice strategy that will help the North African country kick-start a reconciliation process to deal with the systematic cruelty of decades of a dictatorship and a civil war last year.

“A transitional justice strategy can contribute to defining how Libyan society will go forward, and lay the foundations for a new democratic society,” the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in the report, Transitional justice – Foundation for a New Libya , which provides a set of recommendations for the national congress and new Government to put into action within the next year.

Libya is currently undergoing a transition toward a modern democratic State, after decades of autocratic rule and the toppling of Muammar al-Qadhafi, who ruled the country for more than 40 years until a pro-democracy uprising last year – similar to the protests in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa – led to civil war and the end of his regime.

The report advocates for the inclusion of truth-seeking in the transitional justice strategy, and recommends a victim-oriented approach. It also calls for a prosecutorial strategy to end the continued detention of some 700 persons without legal process.

“As noted in the report, Libya is at a critical juncture in its history and there is an opportunity for the country to lay a solid and lasting foundation for a just society based on human rights,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNSMIL, Ian Martin.

“This report is meant to assist the new Libyan authorities in building the new Libya. We strongly encourage them to give transitional justice the priority it deserves and to consider instituting an official public consultation on this matter of critical national importance.”

The report’s recommendations also include increasing public dialogue and debate in Libyan society, establishing mechanisms and reforms to prevent future human rights violations, and addressing conflicts among communities and groups so that reconciliation takes into account historical root causes of conflict.

It also underlines the role of civil society organizations to provide support to victims, and encourages the Government to facilitate and foster them as they are an important part of the transitional justice process.

“For democracy to be fully achieved in Libya, human rights and the rule of law must prevail and long-lasting reconciliation must be achieved,” Mr. Martin said.

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