By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 18 June 2014:
The Supreme Judicial Council, in a bluntly worded statement, declared that the General National Congress . . .[restrict](GNC) does not have the authority to dismiss or appoint the Attorney General, referencing the absolute need to observe separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of the government.
In its 11th meeting of 2014, held on Monday, the Council discussed the issue of the recent dismissal of Abdulqader Radwan and the appointment of Sadiq Al-Sour as his replacement.
Sour, for his part,turned down the appointment citing his desire to respect the rule of law and proper processes in place for such appointments. Radwan wrote a letter to the Council asking it to take a clear stand against the actions of the GNC.
Following Tuesday’s meeting the Council released a statement saying that the jurisdiction of the appointment of Attorney General belongs to the Supreme Judicial Council and is based on a decision made by the Council, a decision based on very specific articles in the laws regarding the judicial system.
Furthermore, the Council stated that it considers the GNC’s actions regarding the General Attorney an infringement of the legislative authority on the judicial authority. The Council pointed out that the constitutional declaration stipulated “its independence as part of the implementation of the separation of powers principle.”
In recent comments to the Libya Herald, made after the Supreme Court ruled that the GNC’s election of Ahmed Maetig as Prime Minister was illegitimate and after Maetig stepped aside, prominent political figures in Libya weighed in on this issue of separation of powers.
Mustafa Abushagour, former Deputy Prime Minister and himself once a candidate for Prime Minister, speaking to Libya Herald, called the ruling for the unconstitutionality of Maetig’s election “a monumental step in establishing democracy in Libya.”
He went on to state, “The separation of powers between the three institutions and the rule of law are bedrocks of democracy. This ruling establishes the independence of the judiciary.” He continued by saying that he hopes “all parties accept this ruling to further strengthen the fragile democratic process gained through the glorious revolution.”
Meanwhile, lawyer Azza Maghur, a member of the Constitutional Drafting Assembly, posted a response to the Supreme Court ruling on her facebook page, stating that this ruling is the “correct democratic path.”
Speaking directly to Libya Herald, Maghur stressed that the decision was not against Maetig himself, but against the process by which he was chosen as PM. “It is a decision that redressed the recklessness of the GNC,” she stated. “The GNC thinks it is above all, including the people who elected it. The Supreme Court gave a lesson to the GNC, showing them that they are the people’s tool towards democracy, not above the people.”
Maghur told Libya Herald that the GNC is bound by a constitutional declaration and “cannot do whatever it wants.” She concluded by emphatically stating, “We still have rules. We are not a country of militias. The Supreme Court has restored what remains of a state called Libya.”