Libya’s Parliament debates vetting law

Libya

Libya’s parliament, the General National Congress, is debating a draft bill that would bar anyone deemed to have had ties to the former regime from state institutions for 10 years. A version of the draft law published on the GNC’s website listed 36 reasons for excluding Libyans from political life.

They include those who participated in Gadhafi’s coup in 1969; members of the notorious Revolutionary Guards, which were formed to hunt down the dictator’s opponents; those who took part in reform efforts in the 2000s led by Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam; and those who worked for leading magazines, newspapers, news agencies or served as an ambassador under Gadhafi.

The bill’s supporters say such sweeping measures are needed to allow the ministries and state institutions in the fledgling democracy to develop free of the toxic influence and corruption of the Gadhafi era and to stop the cycles of bloodshed like what happened in Benghazi.

If implemented, the law would bar a chunk of current lawmakers and government officials, regardless of whether they defected to the rebel side during the eight-month civil war that ended with the killing of Gadhafi in October 2011.

Many of the leaders of the rebellion, including the head of the opposition National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, as well as the rebel’s wartime prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, would be barred. Abdul-Jalil was justice minister under Gadhafi, while Jibril, who is the leader of the largest political party in parliament, was a top strategist with Seif al-Islam’s Libya Tomorrow project.

Even the country’s current president, Mohammed el-Megarif, would be eliminated because he served as Libya’s ambassador to India in 1980.

Another body, called the Supreme Agency for Standards of Integrity and Nationalism, vets Libyans for links to the regime. Sifting through thousands of pages of documents culled from the archives of the regime’s Revolutionary Committees, the agency’s workers search for evidence of links to Gadhafi’s government or security agencies by current officials.

Source: Libya Herald, Dec. 26, 2012, http://www.libyaherald.com/2012/12/26/gnc-approves-legislation-for-isolation-law-targeting-qaddafi-officials/

Source: Washington Post, Feb. 18, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/libyas-struggle-to-deliver-justice-and-reconciliation-fuels-violence-and-instability/2013/02/17/a673a548-7945-11e2-9c27-fdd594ea6286_story_1.html

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