The outcome of the case acknowledged the severity of the danger present throughout Libya, on top of the lack of governing body. This appeal has been selected as country guidance for humanitarian protection appeals in Libya.
The implication it has that anyone from Libya, irrespective of regional location, would be at risk upon return and therefore able to deploy Article 15 (C) of the Qualification Directive. Article 15 defines ‘serious harm’, and part (c) states serious harm consists of ‘serious and individual threat to a civilian’s life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict’. Indeed, the Upper Tribunal ruled that the high level of violence and the lack of comprehensive government and laws present in Libya sufficed to meet the high threshold of Article 15 (c).
The case sought to demonstrate that the nature and extent of security in Libya moves in a ‘fast’ and ‘unpredictable’ way. The appellant needed to prove a three-fold demonstration of article 15 (c); namely, that an internal armed conflict existed in Libya; indiscriminate violence existed in Libya; and, as a result of this, a serious and individual threat to life existed.
The case deployed evidence from UN bodies and human rights organisations, Libyan articles, international press, and commentary by country experts and political analysts. The current situation in Libya was summarised by the country expert, Ms Pargeter, as follows:
“1.1 Ever since the revolution that toppled Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, in 2011, Libya has been mired in deep crisis. The political scene is in complete chaos and there are currently three competing governments, all claiming that they are Libya’s rightful executive power, and none of which has any proper authority on the ground. The security situation is equally catastrophic. There is ongoing violence across the country and real power continues to lie with the array of militias and revolutionary brigades that proliferated during and after the revolution. Indeed, the country has fragmented beyond recognition and comprises a broad array of local power brokers, ranging from militias, tribes, towns and Islamist groups, all of whom are competing for control and dominance.”
The case found that only one of the three main political bodies in Libya was recognised by international communities, the ‘Government of National Accord’ (GNA). However, Ms Pargeter opines the GNA exercises minimal legitimacy according to the general Libyan public, and the effectiveness of the body has been reduced to two men, Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, and his deputy. Moreover, on top of the three main political bodies, there exists an array of smaller militias in operation. These include the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (SCBR), which has perceived affiliations with al-Qaeda. The research for the case found the current prospects for political consensus in Libya to be ‘remote’.
The case also addressed the humanitarian situation across Libya. In November 2016, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 1.3 million people living in Libya today need urgent humanitarian assistance, for example in the form of medical care, hygiene, education, and food and water.
The assessment of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) found that “Libya continues to be embroiled in deadly violence and multiple armed conflicts, non-international in character, affecting several regions, and contributing to a general breakdown of law and order”.