Constitutional Provisions

The 2011 Constitution of Libya (as amended in 2012) does not protect the rights to life and to freedom from inhumane treatment. Article 14 guarantees the freedom of assembly, demonstration, and peaceful sit-ins "in accordance with the law".

The Constitution does not regulate use of force by law enforcement agencies.

Treaty Adherence


Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 State Party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints No
CAT Optional Protocol 1 Not party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties

1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Not party


Adherence to Regional Human Rights Treaties
1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights State Party
1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court State Party
Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions No
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties at Regional Level
Malabo Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights Not party
Adherence to Regional Human Rights Treaties
2004 Arab Charter on Human Rights State Party

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

There are few functioning law enforcement agencies in Libya amid the ongoing armed conflict and armed violence. 

Law No. 65 (2012) regulating the right to peaceful protest allows assemblies to be prohibited based on national security grounds and further allows a protest that has begun to be dispersed by the authorities merely for failure to comply with minor conditions of the protest. NGOs have called upon the Libyan authorities to adopt clear guidelines to govern the use of firearms by law enforcement officials during assemblies so as to bring their training and conduct into line with international standards.

Police Oversight

There is no independent civilian police oversight body in Libya.



Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya (2014)

In its resolution S-15/1, the United Nations Human Rights Council established an international commission of inquiry on Libya with the mandate to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya, to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and, where possible, to identify those responsible, to make recommendations, in particular, on accountability measures, all with a view to ensuring that those individuals responsible are held accountable. 

The Commission of Inquiry concluded that international crimes, specifically crimes against humanity and war crimes, had been committed by Qadhafi forces in Libya. Acts of murder, enforced disappearance and torture were perpetrated within the context of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population. The Commission found additional violations including unlawful killing, individual acts of torture and ill-treatment, attacks on civilians, and rape.

The Commission also concluded that the anti-Qadhafi forces, the thuwar, had committed serious violations, including war crimes and breaches of international human rights law, the latter continuing at the time of the present report. It found these violations to include unlawful killing, arbitrary arrest, torture, enforced disappearance, indiscriminate attacks, and pillage. It found in particular that the thuwar were targeting the Tawergha and other communities. 


African Commission v. Libya (2016) 

In its judgment in this case, the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights noted that prolonged secret detention constitutes a serious violation of human rights that can lead to other violations such as torture or other ill-treatment. The Court held that Saif Ghadafi's incommunicado detention violated his rights to liberty and security under the African Charter. 

African Commission Press Statement on the Human Rights Situation in North Africa

In February 2011, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights expressed its particular concern 

about the serious and massive violations taking place in the Great Socialist Peoples’ Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. It condemns the violence and use of force against civilians and suppression of peaceful demonstrators.

The African Commission called on the Government of Libya

to immediately end the violence against civilians and take necessary steps to ensure that the human rights of its citizens and all its inhabitants are respected [and] ... to uphold the right to freedom of expression, assembly, the right to peaceful protest and ensure the security of its citizens, as provided by the African Charter.


2011 Constitution of Libya (as amended in 2012)

Law No. 65 (2012) regulating the right to peaceful protest

Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya (2014)

African Commission v. Libya (2016 Judgment) (English version)