Beyond Revolution: Ending Impunity and Lawlessness During Revolutionary Periods
34 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2012
Date Written: April 12, 2012
In early 2011, mass protests erupted throughout Libya, political elites defected to form the resistance National Transitional Council, and the international community eventually intervened in the conflict. The result was the ouster of long-ruling leader Muammar Gaddafi and the beginning of considerable political change in Libya. Following the Gaddafi regime’s overthrow, the regional militias that displaced him refused to surrender arms to the interim government and continued to perpetrate illegal detentions, displacements, rapes, and summary executions. This Note assumes that events in Libya constitute an ongoing revolution, and locates the violent episodes associated with it in a historical tradition of violence inherent in revolutionary periods. While revolutionary violence may be politically justifiable ex post, given the network of international and regional law it is no longer legally justifiable. As such, interim Libyan leaders and their successors should ensure both revolutionaries and former Gaddafi supporters are held accountable for their crimes. A hybrid approach, starting with a truth commission with eventual limited prosecutions, is the best way to bring a stable peace to Libya.
Keywords: Libya, Arab Spring, revolution, violence, international law, accountability, truth commission, prosecutions
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