Libya’s First Anniversary of Revolt in a Situation of Instability
On Friday, Libyans planned celebrations for anniversary of the uprising that led to the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gadhafi, endind his 42 years’regime. The anniversary wend on for several days in the city of Benghazi, where began the upheaval. The revolt spread all over the country. In March, 2011 NATO intervened military in the conflict and backed the pro-democrat protesters which succeed to topple Ghadafi, killed on October 20 in Sirte. The Chairman of the National Transitional Council, Abdul Jalil called on TV the unity “all Libyans, whether they supported the revolution or not.” H also warned that his government “will be tough towards people who threaten our stability. The thuwwar [brigades of former rebel fighters] are ready to respond to any attack aimed at destabilising” the country,” as Libya faces sporadic tensions between militias.
Despite the enthusiasm expressed by the population during the anniversary, Libya is facing grave issues. NTC struggles to impose rule of law, the oil production is halted, corruption damages economy, infrastructure are old or devastated etc. Moreover, the first challenge for the government is to reduce militias nuisances and to take control of the multiple ex-rebels. Militias have succeed to carve up neighborhoods in Tripoli and other cities, establishing their hold with checkpoints at the entrances.
On Thursday, the NGO Amnesty International (AI) released a report stressing the human rights abuses committed by militias and the threat that they represent for the transition toward the settlement of accountable institutions after the fall Gadhafi. The Amnesty International Senior Crisis Response Adviser Donatella Rovera said “A year ago Libyans risked their lives to demand justice. Today their hopes are being jeopardised by lawless armed militias who trample human rights with impunity.” The report pointed out the weakness of the National Transitional Council (NTC) to take control over some Libyan territories, ”Hundreds of armed militia groups, established at local levels during the fighting, continue to operate largely independently of the central authorities, often effectively controlling specific areas or neighborhoods.” Moreover, AI visited in January and February 11 detentions facilitates which were not under the authority of the transitional government but used by militias, “At ten of the locations detainees said they had been tortured or ill-treated there, and showed Amnesty injuries resulting from recent abuse,” the NGO noted. The report pointed out several crimes and “grave abuses” such as the execution of 12 men died in custody, and reported that “Militias from Misratah drove out the entire population of Tawargha, some 30,000 people, and looted and burned down their homes in revenge for crimes some Tawargha are accused of having committed during the conflict.” AI expressed concerns about the lack of actions from the NTC, and the impunity that those militias seem to enjoy.
On Tuesday, thousands fighters from militias across western Libya held parade in Tripoli. It was a show of force of 100 militias that announced a unified military council.