03 March 2011
1. ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation in
1. Institute for Security Studies –Mass Exodus and the Responsibility to Protect under international law: the case of
1. Ramesh Thakur: UN must prevent Libyan slaughter
1. International Crisis Group:
Deadly political protests continue in
The uprising, which has been reported as the bloodiest yet against a long-term ruler in the
Swift international reaction
While stronger measures may still be needed to ensure the protection of the population, international response to the Libyan crisis has been firm and swift, with action being taken in a shorter period of time than ever before in a mass atrocity situation.
The Human Rights Council met on February 25 and opened a Special Session on “the situation of human rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.” The Council adopted Resolution S-15/2 which called for the following: 1) the Libyan government to cease all human rights violations; 2) an international commission of inquiry to be dispatched to
On March 1, the General Assembly unanimously suspended
The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1970 on February 26 which, in addition to imposing an embargo and financial sanctions, made reference to
Regional and unilateral measures
The Peace and Security Council of the African Union, in its February 23 Communiqué, decided to dispatch a mission to
States including the
Responsibility to Protect: what now?
The Responsibility to Protect has been invoked profusely by civil society, the media and government officials including in the Security Council, the General Assembly and the HRC. Action taken thus far by the UN and states should be applauded, however the international community must continue to consider measures that will prevent the spread of violence and address the humanitarian needs of the population, especially in the western regions still isolated and under attack from Gaddafi’s forces. You will find below analysis and Op-eds exploring some options –As Irwin Cotler, a member of the Canadian Parliament and former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, stated in his New York Times Op-Ed, Libya and the Responsibility to Protect, “The situation in Libya is a test case for the Security Council and its implementation of the RtoP doctrine. Yet it remains the case that, as the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, put it, “loss of time means more loss of lives.” The Security Council must do more — and fast. It is our collective responsibility to ensure RtoP is an effective approach to protect people and human rights.”
1. ICC to probe Gaddafi over violence
Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, and his key aides will be investigated for alleged crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, the chief prosecutor has said.
Speaking at a press conference in
"We have identified some individuals with de facto or formal authority, who have authority over the security forces," that have clamped down on a rebellion that started on February 15, he said.
Alan Fisher, Al Jazeera's correspondent at
See full article
2. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reports on crimes committed in Libya, warns that fundamental issues of peace and security are at stake
(…) Before we discuss the deeply disturbing situation in
Clashes between security forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo and armed groups opposing them have resulted in significant civilian fatalities in several areas of
The government has a clear responsibility to protect its civilian population. Its armed forces must carry out those responsibilities professionally and impartially. (…)
(…) Fundamental issues of peace and stability are at stake, most immediately at this moment in
(…) These accounts -- from the press, from human rights groups and from civilians on the ground - raise grave concerns about the nature and scale of the conflict. They include allegations of indiscriminate killings, arbitrary arrests, shooting of peaceful demonstrators, the detention and torture of the opposition and the use of foreign mercenaries.
We are also hearing reports of women and children being among the victims, as well as reports of indiscriminate attacks on foreigners believed to be mercenaries. We know from the Red Crescent and the ICRC that there are dangerous impediments to medical treatment and access of humanitarian workers.
We do not have conclusive proof, but the reports appear to be credible and consistent. I strongly believe that the first obligation of the international community is to do everything possible to ensure the immediate protection of civilians at demonstrable risk. (…)
(…) I would like to underscore the statement of the High Commissioner to the Human Rights Council Ms. Pillay. As she reminded Member States, when a State is manifestly failing to protect its population from serious international crimes, the international community has the responsibility to step in and take protective action in a collective, timely and decisive manner. (…)
(…) My Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to protect have reminded the national authorities in Libya, as well as in other countries facing large-scale popular protests, that the heads of State and Government at the 2005 World Summit pledged to protect populations by preventing genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, as well as their incitement. (…)
(…) Some of the proposals being considered by you include: the imposition of trade and financial sanctions, including targeted measures against the leadership such as a ban on travel and the freezing of financial assets.
Some Member States call for a comprehensive arms embargo. Others draw our attention to the clear and egregious violations of human rights taking place in
See full speech.
Summary of Resolution 1970:
Deploring what it called “the gross and systematic violation of human rights” in strife-torn Libya, the Security Council this evening demanded an end to the violence and decided to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court while imposing an arms embargo on the country and a travel ban and assets freeze on the family of Muammar Al-Qadhafi and certain Government officials.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1970 (2011) under Article 41 of the Charter’s Chapter VII, the Council authorized all Member States to seize and dispose of military-related materiel banned by the text. It called on all Member States to facilitate and support the return of humanitarian agencies and make available humanitarian and related assistance in
Through the text, the Council also decided to establish a new committee to monitor sanctions, to liaison with Member States on compliance and to respond to violations and to designate the individuals subject to the targeted measures. Individuals and entities immediately subjected to the targeted sanctions were listed in an Annex to the resolution.
The Council affirmed it would keep the actions of the Libyan authorities under continuous review and would be prepared to strengthen, modify, suspend or lift the prescribed measures in light of compliance or non-compliance with the resolution.
See full Press Release
3. Human Rights Council on
(…) Ms. Pillay recalled that under international law, any official at any level ordering or carrying out atrocities and attacks could be held criminally accountable and widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population could amount to crimes against humanity. (…)
(…) Numerous speakers called on the General Assembly to suspend Libya’s membership on the Human Rights Council…Concern for foreign nationals in Libya was also expressed by numerous delegations, as there were reports that foreigners were being blamed for the instability in the country and thus subject to attack. Speakers further called for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry to hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable. (…)
See full debate summary.
Resolution S-15/2 on
(…) 2.Strongly calls upon the Government of Libya to meet its responsibility to protect its population, to immediately put an end to all human rights violations, to stop any attacks against civilians, and to fully respect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly;
3.Strongly calls upon the Government of Libya for the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained persons, including those who were detained before the recent events, as well as for the immediate cessation of intimidation, persecution and arbitrary arrests of individuals including lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists;
4.Urges Libyan authorities to ensure the safety of all civilians, including citizens of third countries, to refrain from any reprisals against people who have taken part in the demonstrations, to facilitate the departure of those foreign nationals wishing to leave the country, and to allow the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance to those in need; (…)
(…) 6.Further urges Libyan authorities to respect the popular will, aspirations and demands of its people and to do their utmost efforts to prevent further deterioration of the crisis and to promote a peaceful solution ensuring safety for all civilians and stability for the country;
7.Recalls the importance of accountability and the need to fight against impunity and in this regard stresses the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks in Libya, including by forces under government control, on civilians; (…)
(…)10. Calls on the Libyan authorities to guarantee access to human rights and humanitarian organisations including human rights monitors;
11 Decides to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya, to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated, and , where possible identify those responsible to make recommendations, in particular, on accountability measures, all with a view to ensuring that those individuals responsible are held accountable, and to report to the Council at its seventeenth session, and calls upon the Libyan authorities to fully cooperate with the Commission;
12. Requests the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide all administrative, technical and logistical assistance required to enable the above-mentioned commission of inquiry to fulfil its mandate; (…)
(…)14.Recommends to the United Nations General Assembly, in view of the gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Libyan authorities, the consideration of the application of the measures foreseen in OP8 of General Assembly resolution 60/251; (…)
See full resolution.
See full Special Session summary.
4. Statement by the Group of Friends on Responsibility to Protect on the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
The Group of Friends is an informal cross regional group of UN member states that share a common interest in the responsibility to protect (R2P) and advancing this norm within the UN-system.
1. The Group of Friends on Responsibility to Protect expresses its grave concern at the recent grave human rights violations committed in
2. The Group of Friends wishes to reiterate paragraphs 138 and 139 of the World Summit Outcome document (A/RES/60/1), and in particular the responsibility for individual countries and the international community to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, including their incitement.
3. We welcome the press statement issued by the Security Council on 22 February 2011, which calls upon the Government of Libya to meet its responsibility to protect its population, as well as the statement by the Secretary-General’s Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect on the same matter.
4. We also welcome the recent statements and communiqués by the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the European Union.
5. We strongly call upon the government of
6. We call upon all the relevant bodies of the United Nations to take urgent and appropriate measures to put into practice the commitment of the international community to the Responsibility to Protect.
1. Mass Exodus and the Responsibility to Protect under international law: the case of
Southern Member States of the EU are currently worried about a potential mass exodus of refugees from
See full analysis
(…) The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights should impose immediate measures on the Libyan government to end the massive human rights abuses occurring throughout the country, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Human Rights Watch, and INTERIGHTS said today. The three human rights organizations submitted a joint request to the commission on February 24, 2011, asking it to act on
(…)"Colonel Gaddafi has long claimed a leadership role for
The organizations' letter sets out human rights violations in
The three organizations asked the commission to impose immediate "provisional measures" on
See full article.
3. Fear grows for
(…) Amnesty International has warned of a growing humanitarian crisis as thousands of migrants flee
(…) "The international community must also provide aid to the UNHCR and other bodies struggling to deal with this crisis. They must also act quickly, before the problem gets even worse," said Michael Bochenek.
• Neighbouring countries to allow entry to all arrivals from
• Receiving countries to address the immediate needs of arrivals (shelter and accommodation, food, medical services) pending their referral to appropriate services and procedures that address their situation more directly
• The international community should assist countries receiving those fleeing
• Allow Libyan nationals temporary protection to allow time for the situation in
• States to screen, separate, and respond appropriately to those who are implicated in serious criminal acts, notably crimes under international law
• For the referral of those who have been recognized as refugees or are asylum seekers to national asylum procedures or to UNHCR
• Provide assistance to those third-country nationals who do not claim international protection with assistance to enable them to return in safety to their homes (…)
Read full article.
III. Op-Eds on RtoP in
Ramesh Thakur is a professor of political science at the
In 2005, world leaders unanimously agreed that in situations where governments were manifestly failing in their sovereign duty, the international community, acting through the United Nations, would take "timely and decisive" action to honour the collective responsibility to protect people against atrocity crimes.
The United Nations' record on the Arab world is no less patchy than the West's. Having degenerated into internal security states backed by the
Describing R2P as one of his most precious achievements, Annan used its preventive pillar as a prism to mediate in the post-election violence in
The language of R2P refers to state inability or unwillingness as the catalyst for the international responsibility to protect being activated. But often the state itself is the perpetrator of atrocity crimes when security forces, meant to protect people, are instead let loose in a killing spree.
That is the situation today in
R2P provides the normative and political cover to deal robustly, promptly, effectively and, if necessary, militarily with Gadhafi's threat to his people. Action will also help the UN and the West to cleanse their consciences of the stain of being passive spectators in
R2P is narrow - it applies only to the four crimes of ethnic cleansing, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes - but deep: There are no limits to what can be done in responding to these atrocity crimes. Conversely, global support for R2P is broad but shallow.
Over the past week, the UN Security Council, Human Rights Council and Ban Ki-moon have called on Libya to respect its responsibility to protectand uphold human rights and international humanitarian laws. On Saturday, the Security Council imposed sanctions on
The crisis has escalated beyond the point of return. Calls for restraint are no longer enough. When Gadhafi says protestors deserve to die and his son warns of a river of blood, the world must meet the challenge, not duck it yet again. Helped by many Libyan diplomats defecting en masse and joining calls for international intervention, the Security Council must forthwith implement R2P and declare and enforce a no-fly zone - if Libyan pilots fly, they die.
For Gadhafi's trial at the ICC to be morally credible, it must be backed by criminal investigations of the foreign banks that have parked his ill-gotten gains in violation of global anti-corruption agreements, and public shaming of Africans who elected Libya to the Human Rights Council and Westerners who armed his thugs.
See full article, and March 1st article in the Toronto Star called “It’s time for the UN to hold Gadhafi responsible and invoke doctrine of ‘responsibility to protect’”
Tim Dunne is Professor of International Relations and Director of Research in the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, University of Queensland.
(…) should the international community respond to make sure
Initial signs are hopeful. The UN Security Council Resolution of 26 February called for 'decisive action' and 'tough measures' against the Qadhafi regime. R2P was invoked for the first time in a Security Council resolution against a specific country. This is already being seen by R2P advocates as a pivotal sign of the norm's growing acceptance as a guide to international action.
But the circumstances triggering the Security Council's deliberation are unusual. First, the Libyan Ambassador to the UN denounced the Qadhafi regime, leaving it without a single ally. Second, the measures adopted – travel bans, freezing assets, criminal court investigations – are robust but will do nothing to prevent further atrocities if the army and security forces remain loyal.
(…) Leaders of Western governments are contemplating tough action, including a no-fly zone and securing a humanitarian corridor to ease the passage of refugees.
Unless Qadhafi goes quickly, it is likely that the international community will take tougher action against his regime. But will this be done at the behest of the Security Council? Veto-wielding powers such as
The letter demands that the US and NATO develop operational plans to command Libyan waters and air space. Consistent with the position that the neo-conservatives adopted in relation to
For neo-cons, as well as some internationalists who support the Obama Administration, the UN is too weak and divided to take effective action. They would rather see it replaced by some kind of league of democratic states which has both the power and, in their eyes, the moral authority to taken international action.
The problem with actions outside the UN Security Council is that they are in breach of a rules-based international order, and as Foreign Minister Rudd put it in his recent speech to the UN Human Rights Council, states such as Australia which aspire to be 'good international citizens' must 'build, sustain, and enhance' global and regional rules.
It is the last part of this quotation that provides an intriguing possibility for coercive action against the Qadhafi regime should the UN Security Council fail to authorize action. NATO forces took action against
Back in 2000, former South African President Nelson Mandela criticized the Kosovo intervention not on the grounds that NATO powers had circumvented the Security Council, but because they had failed to act when Africans had been slaughtered.
Should Qadhafi and his army fight to consolidate their power, it is hoped that the Security Council authorizes all necessary coercive measures that are likely to succeed and that meet the test of proportionality. Mandela should be given an answer to his question about double standards.
See full article
Irwin Cotler is a member of the Canadian Parliament and a former minister of justice and attorney general of
(…) In its statement condemning the violence, the Security Council included a critical reference to
(…) Since then, the doctrine was most notably applied in the case of
(…) So the
But lest we get too excited too early about what is happening in regard to
First, the firm response to the situation in
Collectively, there is just no one left to defend him. Any resistance to tough action in the Security Council was reportedly overcome by a strong and unequivocal letter in support of the proposed resolution by
Second, although the Security Council has taken stronger action in a shorter period of time than it ever has before on any other mass-atrocity situation, travel bans, financial sanctions and international criminal investigations won’t have a demonstrable impact on civilians on the ground in the short-term. Qaddafi, his family and his regime are fighting for their lives, and these are far-off consequences that only begin to matter if they survive in power.
Third, while critical steps have been taken, more must be done to complete the transition of power and avoid the chaos and loss of life that would be caused if the world watches
Specifically, by losing control of his territory, Qaddafi can legally be described as no longer being the leader of the country. (…)
(…) The situation in
See full article.
4. No-fly zone will help stop Gaddafi’s carnage
The writer is former Australian foreign minister, president emeritus of the International Crisis Group and author of ‘The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All’
State sovereignty is not a licence to kill. No state can abdicate the responsibility to protect its people from crimes against humanity, let alone justify perpetrating such crimes itself. When it manifestly fails in that protection, it is the responsibility of the international community to provide it, if necessary – should peaceful means be inadequate – by taking timely and decisive collective action through the United Nations Security Council. (…)
The Security Council, after moving with painful caution the first few days of the crisis, has over the weekend invoked the responsibility to protect principle and – in a historic first – agreed on a substantial package of measures to implement it: an arms embargo, asset freeze, travel bans and, importantly, reference of the situation to the International Criminal Court.
These measures are necessary and important, but they fall short of the threat or use of military force. Will they be enough to stop the killing? Or is it instead time to apply and enforce a no-fly zone, or to go further still and send in ground forces? This is a horribly difficult call, and not even the most passionate advocate of the responsibility to protect can pretend otherwise.
Declaring a no-fly zone is not the soft option it may seem: it must mean being prepared to shoot down jets and helicopter gunships that breach it, and that will mean a huge risk of hostage-taking or reprisal against any intervener’s nationals still in the country. Any invasion force, assuming one could be mustered at short notice, would raise the stakes much higher still.
(…)The second great hope of advocates of responsibility to protect was that consensus in principle would make agreement much easier on what to do in practice. But that has proved harder, as experience in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Sanctions, embargoes and the diplomatic isolation of Mr. Gaddafi are the inescapable minimum of what is now required. But if they do not bite immediately, and the carnage continues, there will be no option but to do more. Military options should always be a last resort, but they cannot be excluded in extreme cases.
It will be desperately difficult to get agreement on foreign boots on the ground, quickly or at all. But a strongly enforced no-fly zone is a realistic option, easier to contemplate as the last vulnerable expatriates leave the country and likely to be just as effective in forcing Mr. Gaddafi’s capitulation. Planning for it should start immediately. For all that it has done so far, the ball remains in the Security Council’s court; not only the credibility of the responsibility to protect principle is at stake, but its own.
See full article.
Liberal Senator Roméo Dallaire commanded the United Nations Assistance
The people-powered revolution that has spread through North Africa and the Middle East since Tunisian citizen Mohamed Bouazizi's self-immolation in December 2010 has hit a crescendo with
"I will fight to the last drop of my blood," declared the embattled, delusional and megalomaniacal Libyan leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Calling protesters "cockroaches" and attributing
We appreciate our government's concern for Canadian citizens in
An international arms and military technology embargo to prevent the sale and further delivery of equipment or support to Libyan security forces must be imposed, while refraining from commercial sanctions that would affect civilians more adversely.
The UN Security Council must impose sweeping sanctions on Gadhafi, his family and regime retainers responsible for the repression. Their assets should be frozen immediately and an explicit travel ban should be enforced. While the
Echoing calls by courageous Libyan diplomats, American lawmakers, UN officials and advocacy groups, a no-fly zone should be established under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and enforced, perhaps by NATO, over
Support from the international community, and Canada especially, should be offered for building Libyan civil society and the national institutions neglected and denied during Gadhafi's four-decade, one-man rule.
Although the Security Council has expressed "grave concern" and called on
The Arab League's suspension of
But strong words must be paired with strong action.
Our response may very well determine whether the next authoritarian government threatened follows Gadhafi's lead. This is not about picking winners; it's about being on the right side of history by saving human lives.
We have seen the cost of inaction, delay and obfuscation on innocent populations elsewhere. The Responsibility to Protect is about the world engaging when a civilian population is under attack -either from its own government or because its government lacks the means or will to protect it.
See full article.
Since the refusal of Gbagbo to leave office after being defeted by Alazzane Ouatara in last November’s presidential election, tension and violence have continue to rise in Cote d’Ivoire, demanding increased attention and pressure from the international community. This week, the deteriorating security situation has resulted in some of the worst fightging since the election, with now over 30,000 Ivorians fleeing to
Côte d'Ivoire: Is War the Only Option, the latest International Crisis Group report, examines the escalation of political violence and armed confrontations since Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in the November presidential election and has sought to retain office by manipulating institutions and violence. The report says war is imminent, with Gbagbo's army and militias already beginning to clash with the former insurgent Forces Nouvelles in
The requirements to avoid a disastrous new conflict include Gbagbo stepping down; Ouattara offering to negotiate, with civil society help, an agreement for unity, national reconciliation and an interim transitional government with him at its head (but without the irreconcilable former president); the UN peace-keeping mission standing firm to carry out its civilian protection mandate; and the international community unequivocally supporting any decisions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), including deployment of a military mission.
“The Gbagbo regime is a serious threat to peace, security and stability in the whole West African region”, says Rinaldo Depagne, Crisis Group's West Africa Senior Analyst. “Any proposal to end the crisis that endorses or extends the Gbagbo presidency would only prolong the chaos and increase the risks”.
The election was part of a peace process that began after the September 2002 rebellion and was endorsed by several accords, the latest the 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement that all candidates, including Gbagbo, accepted and that set out compromises on organisation and security for the balloting. Ouattara won the run-off with a margin of more than 350,000 votes over Gbagbo.
The UN certified that result, but Gbagbo used the country's highest court to throw out votes arbitrarily so he could stage a constitutional coup. Since then, he has relied on violence and ultra-nationalist rhetoric to cling to power. Over 300 people have been killed, dozens raped and many more abducted and disappeared by security forces. ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) have recognised Ouattara as president-elect and asked Gbagbo to step down, but he is apparently prepared to resist to the end, even if it means throwing
The international community has an important role to play in assuring a peaceful outcome. The UN Security Counsel must support the UN Operation in
“The most likely scenario is an armed conflict involving massive violence against civilians that could provoke unilateral military intervention by neighbours”, says Crisis Group West
See full report
(…) Leaders from both sides of the worsening political crisis in
(…) Human Rights Watch has documented massive recruitment by both sides in recent weeks in the financial capital,
Human Rights Watch has also documented the recruitment and deployment of Liberian mercenaries in recent weeks, and credible sources indicate that some Liberian mercenaries fought alongside Gbagbo's forces during the February 24 clash. The possible use of former fighters from
(…) Clashes have also erupted in recent days in the
During the civil war and its aftermath, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and others documented serious violations of international humanitarian law by security forces and militia loyal to Gbagbo as well as the Forces Nouvelles. These included summary executions, torture, attacks on the UN, and the recruitment of child soldiers. There has been virtually no accountability for these crimes.
In the event of an armed conflict, both sides are obligated to respect international humanitarian law, or the laws of war. The laws of war prohibit deliberate or indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian property; require the humane treatment of all prisoners, wounded, and civilians in custody; and oblige parties to facilitate access to humanitarian aid. Individuals who deliberately or recklessly commit serious violations of the laws of war are responsible for war crimes.
"Civilians have long borne the brunt of armed conflict in
See full article.