Human Lives Human Rights: Libya’s first-ever presidential election, that was scheduled to begin on 24 December got postponed after the authorities failed to confirm a list of eligible candidates.
A number of human rights violations that characterized the run-up to the election need to be authorities, rights groups say.
There had been disputes over electoral laws and the eligibility of candidates during the election preparations. Armed groups and militias repeatedly repressed dissenting voices, restricted civil society and attacked election officials in the lead-up to the now postponed elections.
Meanwhile, the rights groups say that it is not possible to establish an electoral environment free of violence and intimidation, when armed groups and militias enjoy rampant impunity and are integrated into state institutions without any scrutiny to pull out those responsible for crimes under international law.
Rights groups demand the Government of National Unity and the Libyan Arab Armed Forces must immediately instruct all armed groups and militias under their command to end their harassment and intimidation of electoral officials, judges and security staff. They must also release all those held simply for expressing their views on the elections.
Just a month ago, Emad al-Sayeh, the head of the High National Elections Commission (HNEC), expressed concerns over election security after armed men raided and forcibly closed at least four of its regional offices, disrupted the voter registration process, and looted voting cards.
Several HNEC and Ministry of Interior officials responsible for providing election security also complained about being threatened by members of militias and armed groups.
It is worth to mention that Militias and armed groups have also abducted at least 21 protesters, journalists and activists in cities such as Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata, Ajdabiya and Sirte over their support for particular candidates or views on the electoral process.
Rights groups call on the Libyan authorities to use the postponed elections as an opportunity to break the cycle of impunity and ensure that those suspected of committing crimes under international law are excluded from positions that would allow them to commit further violations, interfere in investigations or grant them immunity.