By Sami Zaptia.
London, 16 September 2020:
Libya’s Tripoli Interior Ministry announced Decree (1508/20) to create a mechanism and programme for the categorization and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) of militias into the Ministry.
The decree creates a committee for the above to create a database of militias which will be categorized into three colour-coded groups: green, yellow and red.
It prescribed that the green and yellow groups be reintegrated and rehabilitated while the red group will be disintegrated.
It will be recalled that the issue of DDR had originally been that of the Warriors Affairs Commission (WAC). In March 2014 WAC rebranded itself under the new name, the Libyan Programme for Reintegration and Development (LPRD). It had ambitious plans to DDR the former fighters, but the reality of Libyan politics meant that its militias today run the country behind a façade of civilian rule.
In its July 2015 report summarizing its 2011-2015 activities, the LPRD said that it had registered over 162,000 former fighters who were interviewed by social and psychological experts. It also reported that it has established a network of 31 branch offices across Libya to provide nationwide training and support.
It said that 60,000 ex-fighters went through its elementary awareness courses covering religious and cultural tolerance, and political understanding.
It had also awarded learning scholarships to 5,000 fighters and appointed the same number to work in the new governmental security boards.
The LPRD had stress that it had never had the mandate nor the state-wide support to run a disarmament programme, which it had agreed is normally a critical component of a reintegration programme in formerly civil war struck areas.
The LPRD said in its report that it had received in total only LD 187 million of funds from the government. It said it had spent LD 69 million and LD 118 million were sitting in its bank accounts for spending on further projects after Libya’s political crises is resolved.
It must be kept in mind that every government since the 2011 February 17 Revolution has in one way or another attempted to DDR the country’s militias – without success. It will be seen if the current Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha can fare any better.