France has vowed to punish those responsible for the April 23 car bomb blast at its embassy in Tripoli that destroyed half the building and wounded six—two French guards, and four resident of nearby buildings that were damaged, including an 18-year-old woman who suffered spinal damage. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who immediately flew to Tripoli, vowed: "The terrorists who wanted to attack France and Libya and undermine the friendship between them will pay." Prime Minister Ali Zeidan visited the scene of the devastation with Fabius. There was no claim of responsibility, but suspicion immediately fell on al-Qaeda's North African arm, AQIM, which has repeatedly threatened retaliation for the French intervention in Mali. On April 25, two suspects arrested following a lightning investigation led by a French judge and a team of foresnics experts dispatched by Paris. (Libya Herald, Tripoli Post, April 25; Al Jazeera, NYT, April 23)
Ahmed Qaddaf al-Dam, cousin of Moammar Qaddafi, was arrested at his home March 19 in central Cairo by Libyan forces. The arrest of Qaddaf al-Dam coincides with the second anniversary start of the air campaign in Libya by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that assisted rebels in toppling Qaddafi's regime. Qaddaf al-Dam, who is said to have beeb a trusted accomplice of the former leader, has said he plans on filing a complaint with the Egyptian public prosecutor and Libyan authorities. The Egyptian-controlled Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported that Libyan authorities will gain control of al-Dam and plan on prosecuting him. The specific charges faced by Qaddaf al-Dam are still unknown.
The International Criminal Court on Feb. 7 ordered Libyan officials to hand over the former intelligence chief for Moammar Qaddafi and allow him to meet with his lawyer. The ex-spy chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, has been indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity stemming from the alleged murders and persecution of Libyan protesters during the Libya conflict and uprising in 2011. Despite the order, however, Libyan authorities continue to contend that the ICC is a court of last resort and that the transfer of al-Senussi is unnecessary given that Libya is prepared to try him in a domestic proceeding. Al-Senussi's lawyers contend, however, that the former intelligence chief will not receive fair treatment in any Libyan tribunal, thus making an international trial obligatory. If Libya refuses the extradition, the ICC may report the matter to the UN Security Council for investigation.
The son of Libya's deposed leader Moammar Qaddafi appeared in court in Zintan, Libya, on Jan. 17. Saif al-Islam Qaddafi is accused of transferring information related to Libya's national security to an International Criminal Court (ICC) delegation. He is also accused of insulting Libya's new flag and attempting to escape from prison. Saif al-Islam's trial was postponed until May because he was not represented by a lawyer at the hearing. One of Saif al-Islam's co-defendants in the case related to information on Libya's national security is his ICC-appointed lawyer Melinda Taylor.
A Tunisian court on Jan. 7 unconditionally released the only suspect held in custody over the deadly attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Ali Harzi, was ordered freed for lack of evidence, but must remain in the greater Tunis area pending further investigations. Harzi had been detained in Turkey and deported to Tunisia, where he had been held for months. The FBI was first granted access to Harzi for questioning in December. Shortly after the FBI interviewed Harzi for three hours, the Tunisian wing of the militant group Ansar al-Sharia released pictures of the three investigating FBI agents online.
Two Egyptians were killed and two injured in an apparent attack on a Coptic church near the Libyan city of Misrata Dec. 30. "Unknown assailants targeted a church building in the town of Dafniya, in Misrata [province], causing the death of two Egyptian citizens and wounding two others," official news agency LANA reported. "The explosion happened after the mass ended and people were on their way out." There were an estimated 1.5 million Egyptians living and working in Libya before the 2011 revolution. About two-thirds left during the war but many returned in 2012.
The Libyan government closed the country's southern border with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan on Sunday and declared southern Libya as a military zone. The move was in response to growing lawlessness in Libya's southern provinces of Ghadames, Ghat, Obari, al-Shati, Sebha, Murzuq and Kufra. Representatives of the southern provinces had been boycotting legislative sessions due to the government's failure to assist in curbing the violence in the region. Government officials indicated that the closure would only last until order has restored. There was indication that some of the problems in the southern provinces were due to deteriorating conditions in Mali and the expected international military response.
Undocumented foreign nationals in Libya are at risk of exploitation, arbitrary and indefinite detention, as well as beatings, sometimes amounting to torture, Amnesty International (AI) reported Nov. 13. The report urged Libyan authorities to confront issues of xenophobia and racism, which may in part be inspired by the prevalent belief that some foreigners were "mercenaries" who had supported the ousted regime. The report is based on visits with 2,700 foreign nationals in detention centers throughout Libya between May and September of this year, including pregnant women, and unaccompanied minors held over migration offenses. According to AI, many detainees displayed bruises said to be linked to the abuse, such as being beaten with metal wires, water pipes and rubber hoses. Among other hardships, the report indicated women at the centers are vulnerable to sexual violence from male guards. According to Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at AI, despite the overthrow of Moammar Qaddafi in 2011, undocumented foreign nationals currently face worse situations than before.