Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Diana Eltahawy, said Wednesday that Libyan authorities should use the postponed elections as an opportunity to break the cycle of impunity and ensure that those suspected of committing crimes under international law are excluded from positions that would allow them to commit further violations, interfere in investigations or grant them immunity.

Amnesty International indicated that the postponement of Libya’s first-ever presidential election, originally scheduled to begin on 24 December, after the authorities failed to confirm a list of eligible candidates, illustrated the need to address the myriad human rights violations that characterized the run-up to the election, adding that preparations for the election had been taking place in a highly volatile climate characterized by disputes over electoral laws and the eligibility of candidates.

Establishing an electoral environment free of violence and intimidation is all but impossible when armed groups and militias not only enjoy rampant impunity but are integrated into state institutions without any vetting to remove those responsible for crimes under international law,” said Diana Eltahawy.

She added that for elections free of coercion to take place, the Government of National Unity and Haftar's forces must immediately instruct all armed groups and militias under their command to end their harassment and intimidation of electoral officials, judges and security staff, saying they must also release all those held simply for expressing their views on the elections.