Libyan Lawyers, Civil Society Organizations Support National Elections

ABA ROLI has trained hundreds of Libyan lawyers and civil society members to help ensure fairness and transparency in the upcoming national elections.

ABA ROLI trained hundreds of Libyan lawyers and civil society members to help ensure fairness and transparency in the national elections.

July 2012

Following the end of Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, Libyans had the opportunity to participate in democratic elections on July 7. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) worked with bar associations in Tripoli, Zawiya, Khoms, Misrata, Benghazi, Green Mountain and Al Marj to train lawyers and members of civil society organizations on Libyan elections law. The trainings were organized to help ensure fairness and transparency in the national elections.

Lynn Sferrazza, ABA ROLI senior legal advisor in Libya, and Paul Simonett, ABA ROLI regional director, are moved by the commitment of ABA ROLI’s local partners.

“After 42 years of Gaddafi’s brutal and traumatic dictatorship, and a hard-fought revolution, it is not hard to imagine why Libyans are committed to holding free, fair and transparent elections,” said Sferrazza. Simonett said that the outstanding work done by Libyan lawyers and civil society organizations to prepare for the elections was "awe-inspiring”.

Lawyers and Libya’s bar associations—which have a long history of challenging Gaddafi’s rule—played a pivotal role in successfully waging the Libyan revolution against Gaddafi’s regime, and since his fall from power, the bar associations have been working hard to ensure Libya’s democratic transition. Through the July 7 elections, Libyans selected an assembly that will appoint a constitution-drafting committee and a new government.

ABA ROLI supported a team of Libyan lawyers from the Tripoli, Benghazi and Mistrata bar associations draft a handbook on Libya’s elections law. The handbook covers elections procedure; complaint mechanisms; dispute resolution; collecting, protecting and presenting evidence in election cases; campaigning procedures and violations; out-of-country voting; the role of lawyers in elections; and international elections standards. ABA ROLI distributed more than 600 copies of the handbook to Libyan bar members who attended its nationwide training programs.

ABA ROLI’s current program in Libya is supported by the United States Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative. ABA ROLI began to work in Libya in January 2012.

To learn more about our work in Libya, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org

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