The creation of a constitutional court law in Libya has been controversial among members of Parliament in the war-torn country. Some members feel that the court should be used to help bring about a new constitution, while others believe that it could be used to thwart the constitutional process. The debate over the role of the court highlights the deep divisions within Libyan society, and underscores the challenges that the country faces in its efforts to rebuild after years of conflict.
The House of Representatives in East Libya voted to establish a Constitutional Court on Tuesday, but the move was met with criticism from the High Council of State in Tripoli. The High Council, which acts as a Senate, said that the establishment of the court would undermine the authority of the council and the legitimacy of the overall government. The House of Representatives has said that the court is necessary in order to ensure that the Constitution is followed and that the government is run smoothly.
Libya’s internationally recognized government has condemned the eastern-based parliament’s move to appoint a new army chief, saying it shows “disregard for the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary”.
In a statement, the Council of Ministers said the move violates the legislature’s own rules and procedures, and called on the parliament to rescind the appointment.
The Council also called on the international community to stand with Libya’s internationally recognized government and “to support our efforts to achieve a peaceful and democratic transition”.
The Parliament’s issuance of the law establishing a Constitutional Court violates the constitutional basis of this authority approved by the Constitution of 1951, which stipulates that the judicial power is assumed by the Supreme Court and other courts established within the limits of the Constitution, according to the law.
The new Constitutional Court, however, would be above the Supreme Court and would have the final say in constitutional matters, Overturning any decisions made by lower courts. This grant of authority to the Constitutional Court is a clear violation of the existing constitutional order and establishes a dangerous precedent that could undermine the rule of law in the country.
The move comes after Speaker Aguila Salah called for calm and criticised the government for its handling of the protests. In response, Council chairman Khaled Al-Mishri announced the suspension of communication with Parliament Speaker Aguila Salah.
This rift between the two leaders represents the deepening divide within the Libyan government. The protests have exposed the cracks in the government’s unity, and it remains to be seen how these divisions will be resolved.
The Constitutional Court is not a legislative body, and therefore its establishment is not a matter of legislation. Instead, it is a constitutional issue, according to the statement. This means that the Constitution governs the establishment of the Constitutional Court, and any changes to the Court must also be made in accordance with the Constitution.
Al-Mishri’s words highlight the deep divisions that exist within Libya’s government institutions. On one side is the Parliament, which has taken a step that Al-Mishri argues will undermine trust between the state and Parliament, and on the other side is the State, which is opposed to the Parliament’s decision. These deep divisions make it difficult to find consensus on any issue, let alone something as contentious as the constitution.
The Libyan Parliament has defended a new law that has been condemned by international human rights groups. The law in question would establish a special court to hear cases involving crimes against the state, including terrorism and espionage.
In a statement, the parliament said that the law “achieves justice and has no effect on the constitutional path”. Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni also defended the law, saying that it was necessary in order to combat terrorism.
Human rights groups have criticised the law, saying that it could be used to target political opponents and suppressed dissent. They have also raised concerns that the special court could violate international fair trial standards.
Since 2011, Libya has been in turmoil due to the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi had been in power for four decades before being ousted. This has led to a power struggle in the country, with various factions fighting for control. The situation has been further complicated by the fact that Libya is an oil-rich country, making it a desirable prize for those in power.
The fighting has led to a humanitarian crisis, with many people being forced to flee their homes and thousands of people being killed. While there have been some attempts to reach a political settlement, the situation remains volatile and it is unclear when or if peace will return to Libya.
Anadolu Agency contributed to this report. Editing by Ericson Mangoli