Home Reports HOT debate in Misrata between the divided HoR boycotters

HOT debate in Misrata between the divided HoR boycotters

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LIBYAPROSPECT – MISRATA

On Sunday the 19th of July, a debate took place in Misrata, taking part in this debate were: the boycotters of the HoR who are with the talks in Skhirat, such as Suleiman Al-Fiqi and Fathi Bashagha; the boycotters of the HoR who are against the talks in Skhirat, such as Hanan shalloof and Muhammad Tharaat; Muhammad Sowaan, the Head of the Justice and Construction Party (Al-Adalaa Wa Al-Binaa) and the journalist Suleiman Al-Bayouthi. There were even lawyers and counsellors who have participated in the talks in Skhirat, that were in the audience on Sunday.

The panel focused mainly on the points of the draft, the pro-dialogue side highlighted the importance attending the dialogue, and that the main problem now is the state of the country which has perpetuated through increasing terrorist activities, they believe that the reason the draft should be signed is to put an end to the chaos, it was also described as “a golden chance” to save Libya from sinking.

Whereas, the anti-dialogue side, refuse to sign on the draft, because they believe it will make the country worse, due to the fact that they believe there is an underlying agenda enacted by the UN.

Some attendees in the audience have said, due to the high turnout, this meeting was very productive and a good opportunity for people to listen to both sides of the argument. However, they would have been more effective if the, city council and the GNC were not absent from the talks in Misrata.

Many observers believed that the debate was good and shows that Misrata is moving in the right direction, instead of fighting about who is right and wrong, they are sitting down and talking about it without the use of force.

LIBYAPROSPECT has taken a neutral stance between, those who boycotted the HoR but attended the dialogue in Skhirat and initialled the draft, such as Suliman Alfeqi and Fathi Bashagha, and those who boycotted the HoR and refuse to be a part of the dialogue, such as Hanan shalloof and Muhammad Tharaat who openly talked about their discontent with the dialogue.

mesrata02Hanan Shalloof starts off by saying that the talks taking place in Skhirat, are not a dialogue nor a negotiation, they are a mixture of both, and it is not a dialogue with the technicality of a dialogue nor is it a political negotiation. She said that, in the HoR, some members (like herself) boycotted the House, so the other members took the House from Benghazi to Tobrok, the boycotters clashed with the others, in turn, the boycotters took the case to the court. The court ruled in favour of them, the verdict stated that the House of Representatives in Tobrok was not sovereign, and therefore cannot rule the country.

She claimed that Bernardino Leon, the UN envoy to Libya, changed the focus of the issue from a judicial one to a constitutional one. Shalloof said that the draft resembles another temporary constitution, currently there is a temporary constitution in Libya, but the UN maybe trying to change it.

mesrata03Shalloof explained that revolutions, military coups, or even weak governments do cause the government to collapse, and so the country falls into chaos. It is typical and is expected, the government will fall, but the Judiciary is independent and superior, therefore shouldn’t be affected by the collapse of the government. The drafts seem to undermine the judiciary, which will in turn destroy the government.

She believes that, if the UN undermine the Judiciary so will the citizens, all of the drafts do state that they respect the authority of the judiciary, but they see the HoR as the legislative authority. This is contradictory as the court has ruled against the HoR.

Shalloof raises the question, what does it mean to respect the courts? She gives two scenarios, before the concord and after the concord. Shalloof begins with the latter scenario, if we say that all parts taking part in the dialogue do agree on the drafts, we will see that the body which can alter the constitution is the HoR, once the HoR have the mandate to govern, they will form the government and begin to fund the country. Shalloof added that, in this case the government will have to appoint new members of government and other job sectors, the members who lose their jobs can go to the courts, and argue they have lost their job for wrong reasons as the government is illegal and illegitimate. How will this matter be dealt with in the court? The HoR will not be in the courts’ records as the courts do not recognise them. For example, the Libyan central bank, the company of Libyan investment, the attorney general, and other bodies who provide the government with the budget, will suffer from this issue.

Shalloof then gave the before concord scenario, raises an important question, if both bodies, the General National Council (GNC) and the HoR are both legislative bodies, who will govern? If this case of confusion arises, the GNC will be the legislative body, as it is recognised by the judiciary, and not the HoR.

Shalloof sad that it is not fair, the Libyan people have had no say in what happens in the dialogue, the Libyan people have not had the chance to agree or disagree with the dialogue, which means the dialogue should not proceed. Evidence for this is that there have been protests taking place in various parts of the country from revolutionary and civil society organisations.

She said that we were shocked at the positions in the drafts, there are 5 people from the HoR and 5 people from the state council who will appoint and confirm the Heads of Department. In the fourth draft, it states that there are going to be 6 major departments which need a Head of Department to be confirmed, not including the Head of the Higher Court, whereas in the fifth draft, it states there are 7 including the Head of the Higher Court.

This begs the question, where did 7th position come from? When the GNC and the HoR demanded amendments to the fourth amendment, however, none mentioned adding appointment of the higher court. Why does the State Council and the HoR need to talk about appointing the Head of the Higher Court. The judiciary is supposed to be an independent body with no influence from the legislature or the executive, why is the UN giving politicians the final decision?

Shalloof says that, we need to stand with the higher court. She added that UNSMIL has ignored the point of security, they kept creating drafts that just make things worse. To make matters worse, UNSMIL has also received pressure from the G8 to find a solution faster. Shalloof added that the issue in Libya is similar to a civil war, it is not enough to come up with draft, the UN should monitor this issue.

The only consistent thing in these drafts are women’s rights, she says even though we want to support our women, but the draft must conform to sharia law, as Libya is a Muslim country with traditions. UNSMIL also moved away from the representing Libyan woman, as there were women in the dialogue who do not even wear a headscarf, why are there no woman with headscarves?

Publishing the opinion of Shalloof is necessary, as she is talking about the issue with the UN undermining the judiciary as well as the contradictions in the draft, her opinion is one which many people, especially in cities like Misrata and other places agree with. LIBYAPROSPECT is opening the discussion on the dialogue and discussions in Skhirat as it did with the other side of the argument who are pro-dialogue.

Muhammed Dharrat, a boycotter of the HoR who is against the dialogue in Skhirat as he says the UN is trying to impose their own agenda on the Libyan people, and that they do not care for security in the country, they want to make sure the people a disarmed so the Libyans are left vulnerable. He gave the example of Bosnia in 1993, when the UN ruled that all Bosnians must hand in their weapons, and told the Bosnians that they will be protected by the UN. As soon as the Bosnian people gave in and handed their weapons in, Serbia invaded and declared war, which resulted in one of the worst massacres ever, 8,000 people from all ages were lined up and killed. Where was the UN? Dharrat believes that the UN wants history to repeat itself. He goes on to say, if the revolutionaries do hand in their weapons, there will be no one to protect them, should we wait for the UN to protect us?

mesrata04Dharrat also went further in criticise the disarmament process, he said that the Libyan people should not be deceived by the UN, he claims they did not come to create peace between the Libya’s, but they came to make one group more powerful than another, when the revolutionaries {Libya Dawn} freed the airport, and pushed back the army, Leon came at the same time to try and limit the advancement of the revolutionaries, and bring back the previous power balance. We see this in the results of the dialogue, the priority in these talks is the disarmament process, and he claims that Leon did not want a dialogue he just wanted to disarm the revolutionaries.

“The revolutionaries, took their weapons from militants loyal to Gadhafi in 2011 during the uprising, now the UN want to take these weapons and return them to Gadhafi militants with a draft that is not even worth the ink it was written with” said Dharrat. This will be the biggest catastrophe in the history of Libya. If we sign on the draft in Skhirat, and hand in the weapons. Dharrat says that this is down to the GNC, to abstain from signing on the draft, and not give in to the threats.

However, on the other side of the table is the pro dialogue camp, the journalist Suleiman al-Bayouthi, who took part in the dialogue in Skhirat, has said that the initial agreement in Skhirat can be used as evidence to show that Libya is on the right road to treat the wounds, which were torn open by the mayhem on the ground between the rival factions. He said that he believes, if the GNC attends the next meeting in Skhirat, then Libya will begin the next step to start a better and prosperous transitional period, away from the firefight.

mesrata05On his side, Mohammed Sowaan, the head of the justice and construction party, attended the dialogue and initialled the draft. LIBYAPROSPECT is expecting an exclusive interview with him in the near future.

Supporting this view, Fathi Bashagha, who is a boycotter of the HoR, but is attending the dialogue in Skhirat has commented on his position and the reasons behind it. He said that there is no other way to reach political agreement in Libya without the dialogue being the front foot in achieving political stability and peace in Libya, he has assured the other sides that there is no UN secret agenda, as the UN envoy sat down with every group involved and collated their views on a draft.

LIBYAPROSPECT is still following up with the details of the dialogue, and will explore the debates on the dialogue and their results, stay tuned.