Archives For Human Rights Investigations

Barclays Bank is implicated in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata. Analysis of the accounts of Instalaza, the manufacturer of the cluster munitions used in Misrata, by Profundo shows that Barclays Bank has been a major funder of the Spanish arms manufacturer.

In 2007, Instalaza generated annual revenues of € 14.9 million, resulting in a net profit of €0.2 million. On 31 December 2007, Instalaza owned total assets of € 31.8 million. These assets were financed by the following financial stakeholders:

Shareholders: € 17.1 million 53.8%
Banks: € 12.0 million 37.7%
Other: € 2.7 million 8.5%

The banks involved included:.

Deutsche Bank (Germany): €3,068,951
Cajalón, part of Grupo Caja Rural (Spain): €2,692,750
Caja España (Spain): €2,153,297
Caja Mediterráneo (Spain): €1,602,438
Bankinter (Spain): €852,310
Barclays Bank (United Kingdom): €593,978
Ibercaja (Spain): €498,993
Banco Popular (Spain): €299,308
Banco Sabadell (Spain): €87,906
La Caixa (Spain): €33,000
Others €117,856
Total €12,000,787
Source: Instalaza SA, “Depósitos De Cuentas: 2007”, Instalaza SA, 2008.

Some of the bank loans have been repaid since 2007 but the following banks still had loans outstanding on 31 December 2009:

Barclays Bank
Banco Popular
Caja España
Deutsche Bank

Media reports suggest the cluster munitions were fired by Libyan forces. In fact, neither Qatar nor the USA have signed to sign up to the CLuster Munitions Convention.

Under the terms of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010, it is a criminal offence to encourage or assist in the development, production or acquisition of cluster munitions. According to the UK government this includes “the direct financing of cluster munitions.” (Chris Bryant, Houses of Parliament, Hansard 7 December 2009

Terms of the Act include:

(1)It is an offence for a person to—.
(a)use a prohibited munition,.
(b)develop or produce a prohibited munition,.
(c)acquire a prohibited munition,.
(d)make arrangements under which another person acquires a prohibited munition,.
(e)have a prohibited munition in the person’s possession,.
(f)transfer a prohibited munition, or.
(g)make arrangements under which another person transfers a prohibited munition..
(2)It is an offence for a person to assist, encourage or induce any other person to engage in any conduct mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g) of subsection (1)..
(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or to a fine, or to both..

Updated 10 June

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression (although it cannot currently exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression). It was set up in 2002.

The prosecutor of the ICC is Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council on May 4 that “crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in Libya,” but for now he is targeting just three people for arrest.

“I will request the judges to issue arrest warrants against three individuals who appear to bear the greatest criminal responsibility for crimes against humanity committed in the territory of Libya since February 15, 2011,” Moreno-Ocampo said.

It seems from media reports that he will issue arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif and the one other shortly.

It will be interesting to see whether the charges against Gaddafi will include the cluster bombing of Misrata.

We hope there will also be full investigation of any rebel, NATO or coalition war crimes.

To date, the ICC has only EVER charged people from Africa. What are the chances of anyone from the USA (Who do not accept its jurisdiction anyway) being charged?

Certain large human rights organisations, in particular Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, are wedded to this project so loathe to criticise it.

Nevertheless, Human Rights Investigations calls for

1) An end to the selective enforcement of human rights by the ICC which could be said to amount to institutional racism.

2) Human rights activists to organise themselves using the internet, blogs, twitter and all the other tools at our disposal to investigate and expose human rights abuses, especially the massive human rights abuses perpetrated by the richest and most powerful governments.

Update 19 July

The Associated Press reports the African Union has called on its members to disregard the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Moammar Gadhafi, an official confirmed 2 July 2011. The decision was passed by the African Union 1 July stating that the warrant against Gadhafi “seriously complicates” efforts by the organization to find a solution to the Libyan crisis.

Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Jean Ping also told reporters that the ICC is “discriminatory” and only goes after crimes committed in Africa, while ignoring those he says were committed by Western powers in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Jean Ping - formerly Foreign Minister of Gabon and President of the General Assembly of the United Nations

“With this in mind, we recommend that the member states do not cooperate with the execution of this arrest warrant,” said the motion, which was shown to The Associated Press and whose passage was confirmed by Daniel Adugna, a spokesman in the AU commissioner’s office.