The UN was hijacked on Libya

The Libyan conflict which started as a demonstration later escalated into armed violence that made the UN intervention inevitable. This intervention was necessitated to protect the lives of civilians. The situation soon degenerated into a civil war.

In response, the UN Security Council adopted a comprehensive resolution 1970 as a measure to stop violence, ensure accountability and facilitate humanitarian aid.

The resolution referred the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to give it jurisdiction over crimes committed in Libya after February 15, the day of protests started in Benghazi. Libya is not a party to the ICC Rome Statute. In that case the ICC prosecutor was required to report regularly to the Security Council.

The manner in which the ICC handled the issue of Libya appears to have served and favoured the interests of the US and NATO allies.

The outcome of their investigation necessitated another resolution. Gadaffi and some members of his family were as a result indicted by the ICC.

However, one may wonder whether the rebels did not committee similar crimes?

The second major aspect of Resolution 1970 was the imposition of an arms embargo. All states were prohibited from providing arms to Libya on top of not allowing transit to Libya of mercenaries.

The question is whether the embargo was applied to all the parties in the conflict. There are allegations that the rebelsâ arms supply lines were linked to NATO. There are also reports of special forces fighting alongside the rebels in contravention of the same resolution. The Security Council has been conspicuously silent on this matter.

The above contradictions could have been avoided if the AU peace proposal was accepted by NATO. The AU proposal had called for a ceasefire, creation of humanitarian corridors, a new constitution and democratic elections. Incidentally this AU peace plan had been accepted by both parties, only to be rejected by US, Britain and France.

Probably the US, Britain and France had other interests and expectations that could not be guaranteed by any other means other than armed force. The interest of NATO was to take advantage of the situation and justify the 'regime change project'.

All the above notwithstanding, the situation on the ground may have been influenced by the Machiavellian principle of the 'end justifies the means'. Under the influence of the UN, Britain and France, Resolution 1973 was adopted by the Security Council and it formed the legal basis for a military intervention in the Libyan civil war. It demanded 'an immediate ceasefire' and authorized the international community to establish a no-fly zone and to use all means necessary short of occupation to protect civilians.

However, the manner in which NATO managed and executed the operation raises questions regarding its intentions in the Libyan crisis. Many civilians are reported to have lost their lives at the hands of NATO bombings. NATO has not owned up to any of these accusations. Indeed, NATO took sides in the conflict and its activities appeared to be geared towards serving the interest of the rebels.

Now that NATO achieved the objective regime change, the management of the transition should be made in the best interest of all Libyans. Therefore, the best thing to do is to punish whoever perpetuated war crimes and crimes against humanity regardless of which side of the conflict they belong...

[Source: By Mike Sebalu, New Vision, Uga, 04Sep11. The writer is a member of the East African Legislative Assembly]

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Libya War
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