An ongoing question for scholars and constant challenge for practitioners is how to combine peacebuilding with transitional justice. There are, clearly, no easy solutions. The case of Libya demonstrates this vividly and is the focus of an article I recently wrote regarding the country’s experience with transitional justice mechanisms since the end of the Gaddafi regime. The result is a paper, entitled, Transitional Justice without a Peaceful Transition – The Case of Post-Gaddafi Libya. The paper will be part of the book: Building Sustainable Peace: Timing and Sequencing of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Peacebuilding, edited by Arnim Langer and Graham K. Brown (Oxford University Press 2016). For those interested, the abstract of the paper, the full version of which can be found here, is below. The other contributions to this fantastic and promising volume can be found here. As always, your thoughts and feedback are welcome and appreciated.
This paper examines Libya’s experience with transitional justice since the conclusion of the country’s 2011 civil war and the onset of its post-Gaddafi transition. The core of the paper focuses on three transitional justice mechanisms: retributive criminal justice; lustration under Libya’s Political Isolation Law; and the amnesty granted to revolutionaries under Law 38. None of these mechanisms have been implemented within a peace or peacebuilding process. Libya’s experiences with all three of these transitional justice approaches have acted to perpetuate, rather than alleviate, a climate of selective impunity and vengeance against those associated with the previous regime whilst simultaneously elevating the revolutionary legitimacy of Libya’s rebel groups and militias. Transitional justice efforts to date have, as a result, frustrated the construction of a post-war peace. The paper concludes by arguing that the current UN-led peace negotiations may offer an opportunity to integrate transitional justice and peacebuilding processes.