But much remains to be done, in particular with regard to security, justice and human rights. Hundreds of heavily armed militias, mainly composed of former opposition fighters, continue to operate outside any legal framework and in defiance of orders from the
The transitional authorities have so far been unable or unwilling to hold militias to account for widespread abuses - including unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary detention, and revenge attacks. Gangs have targeted entire communities, forcibly displacing residents and looting and burning their homes to make it impossible for them to return.
Victims have mostly been suspected Gaddafi loyalists and sub-Saharan African migrants accused of involvement in the former regime's repression. But more recently detainees accused of minor offences such as stealing or drinking alcohol have been mistreated in the same way. Others are detained simply to extort money or property from them.
Such impunity has increased instability, with militias increasingly challenging the transitional authorities, refusing to transfer detainees to state custody, to hand over or even register weapons, or to relinquish control of key installations.
Trust in institutions and their legitimacy depends on their ability to deliver the services they are supposed to provide. With the judiciary largely paralysed and in the absence of an authority able to hold militias to account, many people are left feeling they have no recourse to justice. Not surprisingly, some are turning to militias to solve problems that should be settled in courts of law. Others are joining militias hoping to reap political and material benefits which derive from the use of force.
The gradual consolidation of militia rule has been an impediment to the establishment of the rule of law, an issue for too long neglected by the
The Libyan transitional authorities face momentous challenges on many fronts, but this is no excuse for inaction on human rights. Concrete measures must be urgently undertaken to get the judiciary back to work and to ensure that it does so effectively and impartially. Unless abuses committed by all sides before, during and after the conflict are investigated and the perpetrators held to account, it will not be possible to restore confidence in the judiciary. So-called judicial parallel and unaccountable structures set up by militias should be disbanded immediately.
As efforts get under way to integrate former fighters into the army and security forces, it is crucial that robust vetting and screening mechanisms are put in place - both by the
Efforts are also needed by the international community, especially through the
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