The international ministerial meeting in Paris on security in Libya on February 12, 2013, should include building a strong justice system as an integral part of its discussions. The Paris meeting, hosted by the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, will bring together senior Libyan officials and foreign ministers from the US, UK, Italy, Denmark, Turkey, the UAE, and Qatar, as well as representatives of the UN and EU.
Efforts to bolster Libyan security forces are needed, Human Rights Watch said. But mechanisms to vet those forces and provide oversight are also required, and independent courts are essential to ensure that those who commit abuses are held accountable.
"Libyan authorities and their international partners need to improve public safety and build up professional security forces," said Hanan Salah, Libya researcher at Human Rights Watch. "But it's a grave mistake to think this will bring security without simultaneously building up the courts, fostering independent judicial institutions, and promoting mechanisms to protect rights."
Human Rights Watch last week released its World Report 2013 chapter on Libya in Tripoli, which looked at abuses during 2012. Nearly a year-and-a-half after the overthrow of Gaddafi, Libya is still plagued by serious rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests, torture, and deaths in detention, the report said.
"Lasting security requires a functioning justice system," Salah said. "Those who care about a truly stable and democratic Libya should be building the security services and justice system hand in hand."