Archives For African Union

NATO has been described as the rebel air force, but it is more accurate to describe the rebels as NATO’s ground forces. The National Transitional Council has little independence and NATO controls the rebel ground forces, arms them, trains them, provides advisers, provides massive fire support and decides on strategy. NATO controls the air and sea and little moves on the ground without NATO’s permission.

As the rebel fighters took Zawiya, NATO faced a last-minute appeal from the Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim for a negotiated solution. The precise circumstances that led to the decision to proceed with the attack on the capital, with the inevitable humanitarian disaster that followed are uncertain, but the decisions made will be subject to examination.

It is worth having a look at the footage of Muammar Gaddafi touring the capital, to appreciate what a beautiful, well-developed city Tripoli had become and also to understand some of the obvious popular support he enjoys in that city:

Sarkozy, Cameron and Obama and the NATO high command share the belief in the efficacy of violence combined with vigorous prosecution of the information war is the best way forward. NATO, of course, has no interest in fulfilling UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which established the no fly zone and mandate to protect civilians with

“the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution”

In making their decision the western leaders would have been encouraged by the enthusistic participation of the western media in producing pro-war propaganda, who faithfully and uncritically report information provided by NATO, government spokespeople and intelligence sources. Anything which may seriously threaten the pro-war narrative is either not reported or downplayed (e.g. rebel atrocities, ethnic cleansing of Misrata and Tawergha, RAF massacre in Zlitan, peace initiatives, support for Gadaffi regime from Libyan people).

Support for Admiral Stavridis’ information war was also provided by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo who has been a very enthusiastic participant in NATO psy-ops.

In any case, in an attack coordinated by NATO, rebels from the Western Mountains entered Tripoli from the west and ships delivered fighters from Misrata, fresh from ethnically cleansing Tawergha, into the city. NATO airstrikes were launched against the residential area of Abu Salim.

The short-term results from a humanitarian perspective were predictable: widespread destruction, looting, a collapse of public services, executions, widespread death and destruction and the deaths of hundreds of civilians (particularly black people), militia and fighters on both sides. As AP reports:

The streets where rebel fighters bombarded snipers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were strewn with bullet-ridden corpses from both sides Thursday. Streams of blood ran down the gutters and turned sewers red.

The long-term consequences of this are unpredictable, but Sirte on the coast and Sabha in the south-west are next to be turned into slaughter-houses and how long guerrilla warfare and other violence will continue is anyone’s guess.

HRI supports the African Union’s continued attempts, to find a peaceful and sustainable solution which is inclusive of all parties to the conflict.

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.