Libya’s Supreme Court on Thursday announced the dissolution of the country’s internationally recognized and United Nations-backed government, further deepening the political crisis in the strife-torn nation. The court’s ruling prompted celebratory gunfire in the capital city of Tripoli, which has been under the control of Islamist militia since August, according to media reports.
“The Constitutional Circuit in the Supreme Court has ruled on Thursday to accept the appeal concerning the illegality of developments leading to the elections,” LANA, a Libyan news agency, reported Thursday, referring to the June 25 elections that brought the House of Representatives to power.
Currently, Libya has two sets of governments and parliaments, and only one of them is internationally recognized. The General National Congress, or GNC, based in Tripoli and dominated by Islamist militia aligned with the Libyan Dawn group and forces from the city of Misrata, has selected its own prime minister to challenge the authority of the House of Representatives led by Abdullah al-Thani, which is recognized by the U.N. and Western nations.
The verdict was issued in response to a petition from an Islamist GNC lawmaker who asked the court to rule on the constitutionality of the June elections, according to local media reports. However, because the court is based in Tripoli, which is completely under the control of Islamist militia, its ability to function independently is in doubt.
Fighting in Libya, which began following the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, has only intensified since Islamist militants seized Tripoli and has reportedly led to the deaths of over 2,000 people this year alone. According to a report by The Associated Press, nearly 400 people have been killed in clashes in Tripoli and Benghazi in the past three weeks.