New York - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised
serious questions about justice in Libya Monday and urged the country's
leaders to charge or release an estimated 7 000 detainees, many held
since last year's revolution that ousted long-time dictator Muammar
In a report to the UN Security Council, Ban said
elections to a new national assembly on July 7 marked "a major
milestone" in Libya's transition towards a modern democratic state, and
drew to a close decades of autocratic rule.
But he said Libya
faces serious political and security challenges, with a resurgence of
several local conflicts and increased instability in the east, as well
as "huge challenges" in trying to secure the country's borders, control a
proliferation of weapons, promote national reconciliation and rebuild
the justice system.
The oil-rich North African nation remains deeply divided following Gaddafi’s killing during a brutal civil war.
with arms, Libya is trying to build its institutions from scratch as
Gaddafi ruled alone for four decades, without a legislature. The country
must also build its police and military forces, disarm dozens of
disparate and warring militias, and appease eastern cities that have
declared the east a semiautonomous region.
said he remains deeply concerned about the length of detention and
treatment of detainees, citing cases of mistreatment and torture,
including three men who died at a detention facility run by local
security authorities in Misrata on April 13.
Libyan officials that incidents of torture or mistreatment would be
investigated and perpetrators duly punished have not been translated
into effective action," he said.
Threats and intimidation
said some 3 000 of the estimated 7 000 detainees are held in facilities
run by the Ministry of Justice, and another 2 600 under local military
councils or security committees, most without being charged and
vulnerable to mistreatment. He did not say where the remaining detainees
"I urge the country's leadership to accelerate
measures ... to charge conflict-related detainees or release them, so
that no one is held outside the framework of the law," he said.
secretary-general said almost all judges and prosecutors have reported
back to duty, but across the country they continue to face threats and
intimidation from revolutionary brigades, and occasionally from former
regime loyalists. As a result, in most parts of the country regular
court sessions aren't being held except for family and civil law cases,
The secretary-general urged Libya's leaders "to form a
new government that is inclusive, broadly participatory and has the
support of the Libyan people."
Last week, parliament named eight
candidates for the key post of prime minister. The candidates are
expected to present their platforms this week and parliament will vote
to select the prime minister on September 13.