Annual Report: Libya 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Libya 2013

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In February, small protests in Tripoli and Benghazi calling for equality and condemning sexual harassment and violence against women were publicly criticized by powerful militia leaders and others. Several of the organizers received threats and discontinued their public activism.

Justice system

The justice system remained virtually paralysed and unable to process the thousands of pending cases, as police stations and court complexes remained closed in parts of the country. Some hearings into high profile cases, such as that against Abuzeid Dorda, former head of intelligence body the External Security Agency, were initiated and adjourned, amid concerns over respect for fair trial guarantees.

Prosecutors, criminal investigators, members of the judicial police and lawyers defending people accused of having fought for or supported Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi faced intimidation, threats and violence from armed militias.

  • In August 2012, a poster appeared around Misratah, naming and denouncing 34 lawyers representing alleged al-Gaddafi loyalists. It accused the lawyers of “seeking to obtain money and secure the release of dregs [as al-Gaddafi loyalists are commonly referred to] at the expense of the blood of martyrs, the injured, and the missing”. The poster was removed after protests by the Lawyer's Syndicate and others but some of the 34 lawyers received anonymous threats.

No steps were taken to reform the judiciary and implement a systematic vetting mechanism to remove judges involved in unfair trials, arbitrary detention and other human rights abuses during the al-Gaddafi era.

Death penalty

The death penalty remained in force for a wide range of crimes. At least five people were sentenced to death in their absence in November. No executions were carried out in 2012.

Unlawful killings

Dozens of security officials, including from the former al-Gaddafi government, were shot dead or were targeted with explosive devices in eastern Libya, particularly in Benghazi and Derna, in apparently politically motivated killings. No meaningful investigations were known to have been carried out.

  • On 30 October, Khaled al-Safi al-Adli, a member of al-Gaddafi's Revolutionary Committee, was shot dead in Derna by unidentified assailants.


No findings were made public concerning civilian casualties resulting from NATO's air campaign against al-Gaddafi forces in 2011. NATO maintained that the issue of victim reparations was the responsibility of the Libyan authorities.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Libya in January/February, May/June and August/September.
  • Libya: The forgotten victims of NATO strikes (MDE 19/003/2012)
  • Libya: Rule of law or rule of militias? (MDE 19/012/2012)
  • Libya: 10 steps for human rights: Amnesty International's human rights manifesto for Libya (MDE 19/017/2012)
  • ”We are foreigners, we have no rights.” The plight of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in Libya (MDE 19/020/2012)