On 15 August 2018 the Criminal Circuit of the Court of Appeal of Tripoli reportedly sentenced sentenced 45 militiamen of Qaddafi regime to death for killing demonstrators in Tripoli in 2011, according to the justice ministry. International community while recognizing efforts by the Libyan judiciary to hold people to account for crimes committed during the 2011 Uprising, especially amid armed conflict and political polarization. strongly opposes the imposition of the death penalty as a matter of principle. For those who likes to have a better picture of death penalty situation in Libyan legal and judicial system let me add some points from my personal interaction with this system: the criminal justice in Libya, both ordinary and military, are formally modeled after the continental European models, mainly resembling the old Egyptian/French (the Napoleonic Code of 1808) pattern of criminal procedure and courts systems. Still, with regard to substantial criminal law, Libya has an unusual amalgamation of Sharia criminal law with secular laws borrowed from the French and Italian codes. At the core of the criminal justice system, there are 1953 Criminal Code (CC) and Criminal Procedure Code of 1953 (CPC) with their various subsequent amendments and decisions and interpretations of the Supreme Court as well as the Law No. 6 of 2006 and its amendments on the Organization of Judiciary. In addition, there are Sharia-based criminal laws such as Hodūd, Qisās and Dyāt Laws introduced through the late 1970s and 1980s by the previous regime to get an extra Islamic legitimacy as well. The military criminal justice system has its special military criminal code and military procedure code.
The ordinary Libyan Penal Code 1954 broadly prescribes capital punishment for state’s security related offences like as espionage or treason activities (arts. 165, 166, 168, 169, 170, 171, 179, 181, 182, 196, 197, 201, 203, 204, 206, 207, 211). For example, article 206 imposes the death penalty for those who call "for the establishment of any grouping, organization or association proscribed by law," and for those who belong to or support such an organization. Or article 207 considers the death penalty for "whoever spreads within the country, by whatever means, theories or principles aiming to change the basic principles of the Constitution or the fundamental structures of the social system or to overthrow the state's political, social or economic structures or destroy any of the fundamental structures of the social system using violence, terrorism or any other unlawful means." Also according to this code (arts. 197, 202, 296, 305, 306) some serious violations of public health and security (such as poisoning of water or food, or spread of disease resulting in multiple deaths, vandalizing, looting or killing people) might be punished by death. Under the Law No. 7-1990, drug trafficking is also punishable by death (art. 34). Based on the current provisions of the Libyan penal code, murder aggravated by planning, ambush or poisoning, or in the furtherance of a felony, is punishable by death.
Law No. 13 of 1973 and Law No.6-1994 in particular allows the application of Sharia criminal law on intentional killing (Qisās) and armed robbery (Hirāba). Hence, in Libya law armed robbery (Hiraba) and intentional killing is punishable by death. However The court can issue the death penalty as Qisas for the cases if the heirs of victim (A’aqilah) does not pardon the convicted or do not compromise with payment of blood money/Dya. Under the Qesas Law all intentional homicide are punishable by death provided the victim’s heirs demand the execution. Armed robbery with homicide is also punishable by death under the Hiraba Law Nr. 5-1993.
Last but not least, the military penal code also includes a number of offenses punishable by death, including assisting the enemy, undermining the defense or the territorial integrity of the state, returning to combat against Libya (in cases of released prisoners of war), mistreating the wounded, insurrection in face of the enemy, desertion to a hostile, cowardice, dereliction of duty in face of the enemy and military crimes violating humanitarian law. Very briefly, there are more than 14 criminalizations with capital punishment in the military penal code. These include Articles 7, 8, 13, 42, 43, 44, 45, 54, 55, 56, 63, 64, 65, 87, 88, 94, 104 and 109.
On 24 May 2015 the GNC for the second time (once done in December 2013) voted to amend the Constitutional Deceleration of 2011 making Islamic law, the foundation of all legislation and state institutions in the country. A special committee was established to review all existing laws to guarantee they comply with Islamic law. A similar committee was established by the Ministry of Justice, Salah Almargani, .i.e. Decision No. 1621 of 2013 on the Establishment of an Expert Committee to review all the national Legislations in view of the Islamic sharia provisions.
Under the new Islamization project done by GNC in 2016, this internationally unrecognized parliament enacted a series of laws which contain death penalty. Specifically Law No. 22-2016 that amended Law No. 70 of 1973 on Application of Adultery Hadd. Under this new change, the death by stoning will be implemented in the case of a married convicted. The GNC claims that it is still the legitimate lawmaker based on the Ruling of 6 November 2014 by the Constitutional Chamber of the SC. In the same relationship, the GNC’s Statement issued on 19 April 2016, says that they made the Law No. 20-2016 on Apostasy and Insulting Sanctities, prescribing death sentence for the apostate. However, there is no such text available in their publications.
In a positive way, the GNC in its recent lawmaking-initiatives abolished law No. 17-1972 on Criminalization of Parties which had several offences with death penalty (art. 3).
Death penalty sentencing within the current transitional period, within which different traditional, tribal, Islamist and secular forces are in conflict, presents a very challenging atmosphere for international human rights advocacy in particular with regard to extremely low capacity of the Libyan judiciary in holding fair trial standards. We do not know about any confirmed death sentences at the level of Supreme Court during 2012-2018.