UN Authority Figures

U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Libya

Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sit caged in a courtroom in their original trial in Benghazi, Libya, accused of deliberately injecting 400 hospitalized Libyan children with HIV. (CBC News, May 6, 2004)

Mission of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: "The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) is the United Nations body of Member States responsible for setting out global strategy to prevent crime and promote stable criminal justice systems. The 40-member UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice formulates international policies and recommends activities in the field of crime control...The Commission offers nations a forum for exchanging expertise and information on matters of crime prevention and criminal justice and to determine strategies and priorities for combatting crime at the global level....Priority areas mandated by the [Economic and Social] Council when it established the Commission in 1992 are: international action to combat national and transnational crime...and improving the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice administration systems." (Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice web-site)

Term of office: 2006-2011

Libya's Record on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice:
"The law prohibits such practices, but security personnel routinely tortured prisoners during interrogations or as punishment...The reported methods of torture and abuse included chaining prisoners to a wall for hours; clubbing; applying electric shock; applying corkscrews to the back; pouring lemon juice in open wounds; breaking fingers and allowing the joints to heal without medical care; suffocating with plastic bags; depriving detainees of sleep, food, and water; hanging by the wrists; suspending from a pole inserted between the knees and elbows; burning with cigarettes; threatening with dog attacks; and beatings on the soles of the feet...Ashraf Ahmad Jum'a al-Hajuj, a Palestinian medical professional who for eight years was held on charges that he deliberately infected Libyan children with HIV was released in July 2007. In January he filed suit...arguing that he was tortured repeatedly in detention...the torture included rape by a German shepherd, fingernails ripped off, and electric shocks. He also testified that he was present when five Bulgarian nurses detained with him were tortured. In an August 2007 interview, al-Hajuj provided a detailed account of these incidents, which included beatings, electric shocks, and injections with what police officers claimed was the HIV virus...[S]ecurity services first arrested him in January 1999, forced him to wear a hood, and detained him without clothes in a 12-foot-square cell for 10 months. For several days he was detained in a room with three dogs, which police officers ordered to attack him as they attempted to extract a confession. Police also bent his knees against his chest, tied his hands and feet around his legs, threaded an iron bar through the rope and spun him around the bar "like a roasted chicken." For months, police forced him to sleep hanging from the wall with his hands tied behind his back...The law provides for an independent judiciary, but it was not independent in practice. The law stipulates that every person has the right to resort to the courts, but security forces had the authority to pass sentence without trial, particularly in cases involving the political opposition. The government used summary judicial proceedings to suppress domestic dissent. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi may, at his discretion, interfere in the administration of justice by altering court judgments, replacing judges, or manipulating the appeal system. The judiciary failed to incorporate international standards for fair trials, detention, and imprisonment...[D]efendants often were not informed of the charges against them and usually had little contact, if any, with their lawyers." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2008, Libya)