Libya: Thirteen Years After the Revolution

[On February 20, 2024, the Libyan American Alliance held a discussion commemorating the revolution that deposed Muammar Qaddafi. Speakers included Amb. Keith Harper, the former U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (2014-2017) and Christopher “Kip” Hale, Chief of Staff – Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA) for Ukraine and  former Investigation Team Leader at the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Libya. This blog summarizes my takeaways from that discussion. The views are those expressed by panelists and not necessarily mine.]

The bipartisan Magnitsky Act, formally known as the Russia and Moldova Jackson–Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, is pertinent to the situation in Libya, and should be a tool for “building justice and democracy and ensuring accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and human rights abuses.” Libya continues to suffer from criminality in governance and accountability for all is needed.

Khalifa Haftar has control of a joint military commission that has been exempted from any parliamentary supervision, effecting a consolidation of military control. He is an American citizen, yet U.S. politicians lack the political will to prosecute him. Although Libya is not a signatory to the ICC, the UN Security Council can and did refer the question to the ICC, but it is unclear where the ICC will go with it as ICC resources are not up to their mandate.

The Human Rights Council in Geneva will not pursue any country-specific mandate (e.g., Israel).  The fact-finding mission on Myanmar was an exception because the OIC, EU, and Muslim countries were all on the same side.

America’s Torture Victims Protection Law allows suit in American courts, but only after exhausting remedies in the subject country. This is impossible for Libya, which has no constitution, no popular mandate, and no rule of law, only a battle between power and wealth. America has no “crimes against humanity” statute.

A pending rapprochement between Turkiye and Egypt could be the key to a source of pressure that could spark an international push towards a unity government. There may have to be an appointed government to transition to an elected government.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute






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