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Libyan Political Dialogue Committee has Accomplished its Mission

Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff

2016-03-23_181820

Libyan dialogue members set date for signing the Libyan Political Agreement

As we assess the historical political events and conflicts in contrast with the current political climate in Libya and the way forward with the UN-backed Government of National Accord, there is no doubt that the parties who played a critical role in the Libyan political dialogue contributed one of the most important steps towards Libya’s future. Through the dialogue, these parties were able to reach a political agreement that had the support of the majority of Libyan people.

But one of the challenges that has presented itself time and time again is the inability to transition responsibility and hand over power from one legitimate entity to the next.

Once the amendment of the constitutional declaration has taken place the life of the Libyan Political Dialogue Committee should come to an end and is replaced by the committee defined in Article 13 of the additional provisions of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) which provides for the referral to a committee comprising the chairmanship of a judge from the Supreme Court who shall be nominated by the Court’s general assembly and agreed by the two parties, and the membership of two members from each of the House of Representatives and State Council, who shall be selected by their respective authorities.

Today the amendment of the constitutional declaration is a major roadblock and disputed matter when looked at from a political point of view. However, it is very risky to assess this situation using political calculations. In implementing of the LPA any legally or constitutionally controversial moves must be avoided and any such moves would open the door for legal challenges in the future that would destabilize the political transition.

Legally or constitutionally, questionable moves must not be condoned or welcomed by any of the parties involved, either Libyan or international.

 The question that needs a final resolution is whether the amendment of the constitutional declaration by the GNC was in accordance with the legal proceedings as described in Annex 4 of the LPA.

From a legal perspective, the right of amendment belongs to the GNC, which passed the amendment in its last session, as long as the meeting was legally conducted according to its by-laws.

From a political perspective, the Libyan political dialogue resulted in Article 65 being drafted without mentioning who should perform the amendment of the constitutional declaration. In a prior draft, Article 67 (which is the current Article 65) mentioned that the House of Representatives is the body that should amend the constitutional declaration. However, due to a GNC objection during the negotiations, Article 65 was finally drafted without specifying the responsible body and rather placed the accountability on following the legal process.

While politically the rival parties can argue on who should pass the amendment, and frankly either the GNC or the HOR would be acceptable to allow Libya to move forward, this matter should only be qualified using a legal assessment.

The opinion of legal experts is that since Libya’s Supreme Court in a prior ruling clearly gave legitimacy to the GNC then the amendment of the constitutional declaration passed by the GNC was in fact in accordance with the law.

Article 64 which allows the Libyan Political Dialogue to convene after the adoption of the LPA at the request of any party to the Agreement has elapsed and no longer is applicable. It now is replaced by Article 13 of the additional provisions in the LPA. With this, the life and term of the Libyan Political Dialogue committee has come to an end and they have served their purpose.

One important question remains. Considering the LPA has been amended into the constitutional declaration, should it not be that the LPA, like all constitutional matters, now fall under the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court?

The Libyan Political Dialogue committee has accomplished its mission and now without interference the responsibility belongs to the state institutions and executive bodies as per the constitutional declaration.

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