Political and religious leaders from across Libya gathered in Tripoli on Saturday (December 10th) for a national reconciliation conference.
“We are capable of forgiveness and tolerance,” said Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the National Transitional Council (NTC). “We are capable of absorbing our brothers who fought the rebels and also capable of absorbing every person who committed an act or words against this revolution.”
Addressing attendees at the first National Dialogue for Justice and Reconciliation, Abdel Jalil added, “The only way to restore stability to the country and build a state of law and justice is national reconciliation and compromise among the various Libyan parties.”
The event was also attended by interim premier Abdurrahim El Keib, head of the Supreme Council for Fatwas in Libya Sheikh Dr Sadiq al-Ghariani, tribal representatives from across Libyan society and several foreign guests, including Tunisian Islamist leader Rachid Ghannouchi and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. Leading Libyan Islamist Ali Sallabi also participated.
“Libya needs to bring about transitional justice as a necessary tool to achieve national reconciliation, and national reconciliation is a prerequisite for building the constitutional institutions of the state,” El Keib said.
“Those who carry out torture, rape and mass murder and who stole people’s money must be brought to account,” El Keib said, adding that the future of Libya cannot be built on revenge.
Sheikh al-Qaradawi also called on Libyans to show forgiveness and tolerance, saying that Libya has adopted a flag, freedom and true democracy. “Libya is wide enough for everyone, and the Libyan people are capable of rebuilding Libya,” he said.
“The people of Libya are among the most united peoples of the world and have a single doctrine, religion, customs and history,” remarked Rachid Ghannouchi, head of Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement.
Meanwhile, NTC chief Abdel Jalil announced that laws on transitional justice and general amnesty were nearing completion.
“Amnesty here includes those in Kadhafi’s brigades who did not fight, and also fighters who fought fighters unless they committed war crimes,” according to political analyst Idris al-Tayeb.
Al-Tayeb told Magharebia that the forum was important and that it should focus on the constitution, elections and how to build the state. He added that victims should be compensated and that reconciliation was necessary for social peace.
However, Omeish said the conference did not discuss the problems of revolutionaries, referring to the establishment of a commission to assist veterans with finding employment, rehabilitate them and reintegrate former fighters into the community. Abdul Hadi Shamateh, President of the Libyan Rebels Federation (Athal), said that loyalty to former fighters requires laws preventing Kadhafi loyalists from returning to power.
“We need national consensus and we must instil a new culture in governance and not limit political change, where penetration of these (remnants of the regime) would hinder achievement of justice,” he said, adding that the reconciliation law proposes a ten-year political ban on former regime members.
For his part, Islamic scholar and revolutionary leader Sheikh Onis al-Mabrouk said the reconciliation conference “will bring about good because, in God’s words, ‘Peace is better’.”