Azza Maghur | Commentary on the Statement by the LPDF Legal Committee of 23 March – Al Marsad

Leading constitutional lawyer and member of the Libyan Council for Human Rights, Azza Maghur, writes on the Libyan Political Dialogue (LPDF)’s Legal Committee’s statement which was issued this week on 23 March 2021. She argues in this essay that the mandate of the LPDF‘s Legal Committee is restricted to following up on the work of the Joint Constitutional Committee and not to control, or monitor, its deliberations.

(LIBYA, 26 March 2021) – My observations will be limited to the LPDF Legal Committee’s conclusion of its recommendations, which specifies the following:

Based on the role of the Legal Committee in following up the work of the Constitutional Committee of each Chamber and monitoring its deliberations, the proposed meeting in early April should reach decisions regarding: (1) The Constitutional Rule; (2) The selection of the seven sovereign positions; and (3) Setting up a monitoring mechanism that will be used to oversight the achievements of the new Executive Authority according to the Roadmap”.

I would like to comment on this paragraph of the above-mentioned Legal Committee’s statement with the following:

The Role and Tasks of the Legal Committee of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF):

(a) In relation to the role of the  Legal Committee, Article No. (4), Paragraph (A), Item (2) of the Roadmap stipulates that “the LPDF shall set up a Legal Committee to follow-up on the progress in the constitutional process. The LPDF shall define the structure and functions of the Legal Committee.”

Accordingly, the task of the Legal Committee is to follow-up, not to control. It is a role based on following up on the work of the Joint Constitutional Committee and submitting reports and opinion on its work; It does not go beyond this jurisdiction to the point of monitoring its deliberations.

We do not know whether the LPDF has assigned its Legal Committee other tasks other than its follow-up mission. If this is assigned to it, it will be determined by the competence of the LPDF itself as stipulated in the Roadmap and does not go beyond this mandate. It does not include the jurisdiction of oversight.

(b) The issue of deciding on the seven sovereign positions is a complex one, and it needs to put in place a mechanism before deciding on them, and in the event of selection, this may require a mechanism similar to the selection of the Executive Authority. It also requires that it does not contradict the legislations in force or the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). That is, the selection should not contradict the provisions of the legislations in force, which requires a national legislative intervention.

(c) The Legal Committee and the LPDF have absolutely nothing to do with “setting up a monitoring mechanism that will be used to oversight the achievements of the new Executive Authority according to the Roadmap.”

This is a broad mandate that the Legal Committee attributed to itself as well as to the LPDF, because if this jurisdiction is claimed by the Legal Committee based on Item No. 6 of Article No. (4) of the Roadmap, then its interpretation of this jurisdiction is largely erroneous.

In fact, Item No. 6 was included under the heading of Commitments and Deadlines and accordingly it is restricted to this designation; that is, in relation to the rules governing the Roadmap and its scheduled dates. Actually, Item No. 6 of Article No 4/C stipulates that “all state institutions shall work to fulfill their obligations on schedule. They shall be held accountable for their work before the Libyan people, and their work shall be followed up by the LPDF.

What is meant here is that the state institutions, as mentioned in the Roadmap, must fulfil their obligations under the Roadmap according to the scheduled dates, for example the Constitutional Rule and the necessary legislations are required within a period not exceeding 60 days, or the 24 December 2021 stipulated date for holding the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, or the provision of prompt financial support to the High National Elections Commission (HNEC), or the agreement on the sovereign positions. In all these references, it is not intended at all to monitor or oversightthe achievements of the new Executive Authority,” according to the referred to statement of the LPDF Legal Committee. In fact, there are no words in the Roadmap on monitoring and overseeing the achievements of the Government of National Unity (GNU).

As for dealing with the High Electoral Commission and setting a timetable before the Legal Committee submits a follow-up report on the work of the Constitutional Committee for both the House of Representatives and the State Council, and before it completes its work on the Constitutional Rule, and to publish it based on Article No (4) Paragraph C, Item No. 6, and on the principle of transparency, and refer it to the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), this is premature and is governed by Law No. (8) of 2013 on the Establishment of the High National Elections Commission.