Tripoli: OMCT and the Libyan Judges Organisation hold panel debate and workshop on the prohibition of torture in Libya

  • Event Date: 03.07.12
  • Event Time: 15:03:00

Commemoratingthe United Nations Day in Support of Victims of Torture the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT) conducted a series of events in Libya onthe prevention of torture, cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment.

On June 26,2012, the OMCT jointly with the Libyan Judges Organisation and the Libyan Groupto Monitor Human Rights Violations held a public panel discussion on June 26,2012, entitled “The prohibition of torture in Libya : Why, how and when?” The panel recalled the obligationsfor the new Libyan State to prevent and to protect from torture, cruel, inhuman or degradingtreatment and addressed strategies for civil society to prevent torture and toensure access to justice for victims of torture. The event held at the headquarters of theTripoli Bar Association was attended by lawyers and human rights and civilsociety activists, representatives of the UN mission to Libya andthe international community, members of international human rightsorganisations and the media.

June 26 event at the Tripoli Bar AssociationHeadquarters, the three panellists were, from left to right, Professor Salah AlMarghani, Libyan Professor of Law and High Commissioner for the NationalElections Chilean human rights lawyer Robert Garreton, ex-Special Rapporteur toDRC and member of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and his consecutivetranslator, and Tunisian Judge Kalthoum Kennou, President of the Association ofTunisian Judges and Commissioner to the International Commission of Jurists.

Subsequently theOMCT and the Libyan Judges Organisation held its first workshop entitled “TheProhibition of Torture and Other Forms of Ill-treatment in the Justice System”from June 27-29 in Tripoli. Participants included 25 Libyan judges, prosecutors and lawyersfrom across Libya. The workshop addressed the international legal framework againsttorture and other ill-treatment, questions of implementation and compatibilityof national legislation, existing lacunas in domestic law with regard to thecriminalization of torture, and of judicial safeguards protecting arrested,accused and detained persons. The workshop also discussed different mechanismsfor the Libyan transitional justice process, and the role of the legalcommunity in ensuring victims with access to justice for torture andill-treatment. Finally, a core concern considered by the participants was theissue of sexual violence and ways to create a confidential and secure system forvictims to access justice.

First day oftraining, the two trainers were Kalthoum Kennou and Roberto Garreton, next tothem is Marwan Tashani, the head of the Libyan Judges Organisation.

Following thethree day workshop, the participants formulated a set of recommendations,including for the future members of the drafting committee of the newConstitution, and future members of the legislative and executive government.Those included:

- to enshrine the absoluteprohibition against torture and all forms of ill-treatment without exceptionfirmly in the constitution;

- to recognise the universal principlesof human rights law, and the obligations of the state with regards to theprohibition of torture;

- to review the statute oflimitations attached to criminal or civil proceedings with regards to cases oftorture;

- to amend domestic laws so thatthey fall in line with the provisions of all international instruments ratifiedby Libya;

- to ratify the Optional Protocolto the Convention Against Torture;

- to amend the provisions of thePenal Code in order to criminalise all acts of torture, including complicity intorture, and including acts committed under official orders;

- to allow human rights and civilsociety organisations to carry out visits of detention facilities and assessthe conditions of individual detainees;

- for the authorities to takeappropriate measures to provide support to victims of torture;

- to organise training courses inorder to sensitise law enforcement officers, members of government bodiesmandated with supervising detention facilities, members of the judiciary,forensic doctors and medical staff, as well as all other relevant individualsinteracting with detainees.

The workshop ispart of a two year effort of the OMCT to increase victims’ access to justiceand building specialized civil society capacity against torture andill-treatment in Libya. The project is conducted jointly with the InternationalRehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture and possible due to the generousfinancial support of the European Union.

For furtherinformation please contact:

BelkisWille, Human Rights Officer (Middle East and North Africa) at the OMCT,, + 41 22809 49 39