“Many of those now joining the police force are civilians and have not had proper police training,” Mangan said. “This has created frustration among both judges who can’t rule on the cases for lack of evidence, and prosecutors who don’t have enough evidence to proceed with cases.”
Judicial independence remains in question, given that judges will be required to try members of an administration that for years directed the way they operated.
The Libyan authorities insist that they take judicial independence seriously, and are capable of running proper trials. In their correspondence with the ICC on the Saif al-Islam and Senussi case, they have cited as evidence their decision to set up a Supreme Judicial Council, made up entirely of judges.
The council was set up at the end of last year to examine how the country’s legal system can be improved.
One of its more controversial proposals is a bill changing the way that members of the judiciary are selected. Although it may yet be amended before becoming law, the present draft recommends that judges with close links to the Gaddafi regime would not be eligible to serve unless they had shown support for the 2011 revolution.
A former legal advisor to the Gaddafi regime, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested that this was a step in the wrong direction that could undermine the judiciary rather than make it more independent.
“Existing measures are sufficient to deal with judicial independence – we do not need an additional law,” he said. “The executive has no representation on the Supreme Judicial Council and no additional power over the judiciary. There are already existing measures in place to deal with those that collaborated with the former regime and abused their powers.”
Kevin Jon Heller, a senior lecturer at Melbourne Law School in Australia, says the real problems lie with the executive rather than the judiciary.