Libya death sentences cast long shadow over rule of law

August 12, 2015, 8:01am

Libya death sentences cast long shadow over rule of law

In July, a court in Tripoli ruled against more than 30 officials and personalities who had served under Col Muammar Gaddafi's government. The rulings included nine death-penalty verdicts, four acquittals and a range of other prison sentences for war crimes.

Those condemned to death by shooting squad include Col Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam and former chief of military intelligence Abdullah al-Senussi, a figure who was once feared by Libyans on an almost mythical level - arguably for good reason.

The International Criminal Court also wanted Mr Gaddafi and Mr Senussi for alleged war crimes during the 2011 revolution that ended the colonel's 42-year rule.

Successive Libyan governments insisted on prosecuting these men on home soil.

They believed they could show the world a fair trial could be conducted.

Perhaps, this was a cardinal mistake.

Transitional justice is a complicated affair often emotionally charged.

This was complicated even further in Libya because it transitioned from one war to another.

Today, Libya is not secure - for anyone.

Rana Jawad BBC