By: Abdulrazag Elaradi
I was hesitant to publish this article, for two main reasons. The first is the embarrassment that may face any person who finds himself obligated to say what he believes to be right, against the general trends, and the second is that the issue I would like to write about has not been released by the judges yet, in its final form. The last point is somewhat easy because a conversation by a legal professional is enough to mitigate it, which has happened, but the second will not stand in the way of publishing what we truly believe to be right?
Gadhafi ruled with steel and fire. Under his rule political, economic and social oppression prevailed. His rule was unjust in every sense of the word. His regime was backward and promoted bribes, personal favors and nepotism. It can be said, without exaggeration, that his corruption exceeded ever other era described as corrupt, while he claimed to have overturned the royal regime in order to eradicate it. He oppressed all groups of the Libyan people. He hung the youth, pursued his opposition abroad, committed massacres inside and outside the prisons, tore up the homeland and promoted hatred within it, killed the desire to work in people, killed their love of their homeland, and killed the spirit of giving and building.
His corrupt predatory machine did not account for the sanctity of citizens or foreigners. He violated treaties and the international law, and his rule became like a group of gangs fighting in the woods. The times came around in a full circle and the opportunity arose for the youth of this country, burdened by four decades of upbringing by the dirty machine of the regime. They only knew the model of Gadhafi’s rule, who did not allow Libyan academic frameworks to open their eyes to any other way of rule or to study the experience of any other country, other than those issued by the head of the regime.
The young men rose against this stagnant and flabby regime, by the grace of God and the assistance of the UN through NATO. They succeeded in toppling the oppressor of this age and this bitter historic era. The February revolution was described as a blessing in its statement of victory, which started with a reference to the crimes of the former regime and the actions of its factions, which killed the youth, peacefully demonstrating, with all forms of weapons described by the statement as brutal crimes that are in blatant violation of human rights freedoms and all forms of national and international customs and conventions.
However, the dawn visitors returned to what they were; arbitrary detentions, prisoners without trial, kidnapping and forced disappearance, and torture that in some cases exceed the torture of the predecessors. It is hurtful to say that some of those who were victims became the executioners. The Gadhafi regime is over and it will not return. All those who wager on its return are delusional. The Seventeenth of February revolution succeeded in toppling the tyrant and his regime, but it did not succeed in establishing a state. As a result of this failure, we found ourselves in a new war that led to the loss of many more lives, widowed women, orphaned children, destroyed cities and forced its children to flee, internally and externally.
New crimes were committed against the Libyan people, killing, kidnaping, torture, rape and displacement. We now have a surplus in persons with permanent disabilities. The war faded gradually in some parts of the country by the grace of God first, and then by the attention of some of those who love this country. In the horizon there were signs of a solution that would put an end to the division and pave the way for holding the criminals accountable, establishing justice and achieving reconciliation, to promote the culture of forgiveness and tolerance. In spite of the problems on this path, this dialogue must be made to succeed and facilitate the establishment of a stable state with full legitimacy, where the abuser is punished, justice prevails, and the law is applied. This division must be ended and the state must be built anew, under the new “Libya”.
None of those who committed crimes against humanity must escape punishment, whether during Gadhafi’s rule or during the February era. Those who challenge these rulings and the Libyan judiciary today, who were loyal to the former regime, will not find in the future those who are fair to them from among the February followers, except this honest judiciary. Churchill, over the remnants of the city of London, and all the other destroyed British cities, asked them, what about the judiciary? They answered him, it is the only institution not destroyed during the Second World War. Then he made his famous remarks: Then Britain will be ok. Then Libya is ok. We have no doubt that the judicial rulings passed last Tuesday are honest ones, and a new success for the Libyan judiciary in the justice test. This is evidence that Libya can build a credible state if its people are allowed a minimum level of stability and are given the chance to move without pressure or coercion.
Those who committed crimes against the Libyan people, with indisputable evidence, must be punished. This principle cannot be discussed, bargained over, or disputed. The talk and discussions can start when it is time to apply it. In a country with factors of social, economic and political instability, living in a state of division where all forms of weapons are used among brothers of the homeland, religion and sect, matters must be viewed from more than one angle, and measured with more than one scale. The enforcement of the decisions of the honest Libyan judiciary, which have fulfilled the rules of litigation and fair trials, perhaps must take into account the security, social and political circumstances and variables in the country. I believe fully that the enforcement of the decisions is an integral part of seeing justice through. The enforcement of the judicial rulings is a way to strengthen the state and highlight its power.
In spite of this, it is possible that it is the absolute opposite of this. Unfortunately, there are people among us who can employ it politically by exploiting such moments, ride the wave of any form of dispute, even if the wrong is clear and the risk is apparent. We cannot intervene in the rulings of the judiciary or demand a change in the direction of justice, but we can reasonably and wisely demand that the issue is dealt with, especially when the final phases of litigation are complete, and matters are turned over to the enforcement authority who decides the time of enforcement and signs off on the final decision.
We can also address the supporters of right, the well-known living, by reminding them of what God Almighty says, “And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him nor exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law)”. God has pledged to support the family of the victim until their rights have been restored, by punishment, payment, or forgiveness, even if matters take a long time, for everything has an end.
When the state is established and the authority is settled, when the legitimacy is unified and we live under the laws and all-inclusive justice, the fulfillment of justice and implementation of judicial rulings shall be a pillar of the state centrality and a monopoly on violence. People will calm down and this will mean the acceptance of the decisions, thus allowing for projects of reconciliation and forgiveness away from revenge and exploitation by ill-intentioned persons. Before anything of this, any quake can eliminate any hope we have left, and undermine what we have paid in sacrifices, resources of our lands, and stability of our country. There is no escaping harmony between justice and equity for victims on one hand and putting an end to division, stopping the oppression and avoiding more victims on the other, as well as expediting efforts to establish the state and avoid its postponement for decades.