Libya: From Repression to Revolution: A Record of Armed Conflict and International Law
M Cherif Bassiouni (eds) (Martinus Nijhoff, 2013)
By Ilias Bantekas
This timely book contains a number of useful documents on the Libyan crisis as well as several analyses by a team of experienced researchers under the guidance of Professor Bassiouni. Although much has been written about the situation following the fall of Ghaddafi in Libya and the legal or other bases for the invasion by foreign forces (under whatever pretext), it is not self-evident that the non-Libyan audience understands the context of the Libyan situation (including the politics, history, international relations, law, etc) before, prior and subsequent to the events of post-2011. To make the situation more compounded, the Libyan uprising has resulted effectively in the creation of two de facto regimes controlling parts of the country’s territory, with several armed groups fighting among themselves or against the established de facto regimes. Why the international community is viewing one as the legitimate government and not the other, while at the same time the non-recognised entity is entering into long-term agreements with western multinationals is equally an interesting development. Besides the plethora of sovereignty-related issues arising from the Libyan situation, there are other notable repercussions, which the analyses and the documents contained in this book could shed some light on. By way of illustration, several hundred infrastructure, construction and energy contracts could either not be completed, or were otherwise expropriated or destroyed as a result of the conflicts in Libya. The contracts and their successors have demanded prompt, fair and adequate compensation but the situation is far from clear-cut. In equal measure, the politics behind the invasion of Libya, which is seen as a paradigmatic application of the responsibility to protect (R2P) doctrine is not without criticism.