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Libya: Between Judiciary’s Delicacy and Tolerance Aspirations


By: Omar Rhuma

Discussions on judicial rulings are not easy while the country is charged with mixed interactions between efforts seeking dialogue and agreement on one hand and different parties who seek out any comment or discussion on the issue to make accusations, libel, or perhaps unfair classification. Therefore, there may be those who prefer silence to avoid the problem of unjust classification.

Omar Rhuma

The reason for this is the delicacy of discussions about the Libyan judicial institution, as the judiciary, when it remains above political conflicts, fighting and classification, it becomes the valve and a guarantee to reduce the burden of actually starting reconstruction in general.

It may be used to remember Churchill’s famous saying after the war, as he was standing over the ruins of the city of London. He asked, “What about the judiciary?” They answered him, “It is the only institution that was not affected by the destruction during the Second World War.” And thus he made his famous statement: “Then Britain is alright”.

We also have the famous saying by Montesquieu, who said, “Mercy is the essence of the law. Only tyrants impose the law harshly.”

As for our predecessors, they said: “One judge in heaven, and two judges in hell”. They also said, “To err in forgiveness is better than to err in punishment”.

Were all these experienced politicians wrong in what they said about the nature of matters and the foundations of building the state? Or did the days teach them and hone them, allowing them to realize that the judiciary is the cornerstone of building nations, thus making Britain the kingdom where the sun did not set.

In the Libyan case, we have a statement by the Head of the Investigation Division at the Public Prosecutor’s Officer, our friend Al Sour, who addressed the integrity of the judiciary and the opportunities and environment granted to the accused. He mentioned that the verdicts were varied, which is reassuring. He also stressed that well-known principles affirm that the appeals before the Supreme Court are guaranteed by the law.

We long to establish a country of justice and law. There is no room to discuss the integrity of the judiciary. However, the integrity of the judiciary and its decisions do not translate to the uselessness of intervention by politicians and maintaining social peace, and a movement towards reconciliation, bridging the gaps, soothing the injuries of the country, and bringing the curtains down on an era that has come to an end.

The rights activist Al Musef Al Marzouqi, well known for his objection to the death penalty, advises suspending the verdict in view of its many negative repercussions for the image of the new Libya, as well as in view of its repercussions in terms of the chances of the national dialogue, which is looked upon as the solution to move the country out of its current crisis and to open a new page in its history, so that it becomes a civil and democratic state that guarantees justice, rights and freedoms, for which the martyrs have been martyred.

The popular reactions in some cities and the general amnesty passed by parliament in Tubroq reflect the nature of this scene, and the days will remain the judge on this matter.

We are faced with an avalanche, and a community division whose features will become clear in the first round of upcoming elections, unless we can address this situation and put an end to the growing state of polarization.

As a result, I see a need for balancing between granting integrity to the fair judiciary, which is open to appeals before the Supreme Court, and the state of law and separation of powers, which we long for, and that is not appeased by the death penalty but rather healed by forgiveness and general amnesty.

We cannot bring the different viewpoints closer without bridging all gaps. We must differentiate between dealing judicially with the system of the former regime and its appendices and the violations after the February revolution. This can only be done by focusing on the issue of dialogue and agreement, which will no doubt require more time and effort until we reach a state of initial stability that we can build on, to attain full stability, then we can leave the judiciary to deal with the various issues of the people in all walks of life. The time for sacrifice did not come to end with declaration of liberation. Sacrifices for the homeland are still in the cradle, and must be represented by concessions and a spirit of forgiveness, because the homeland is more important than private interests. Defending Libya peacefully is more important that defending people. We have many experiences of forgiveness and concession before us so that everyone can stand on a solid ground called Libya, after that, we will take things as they come.