A Sudanese woman and her two daughters fled from Misrata to Tripoli in response to the counter-revolutionary violence carried out by the anti-Gaddafi forces in Misrata. They are still loyal to the revolutionary leader., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Libyan conflict: ‘Probe Nato over deaths’
August 25 2011 at 07:32am
By ANDISIWE MAKINANA and SAPA
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has hinted that the International Criminal Court should investigate Nato for the loss of civilian life in Libya arising from its apparently helping the rebels take the capital, Tripoli.
This help would have exceeded Nato’s UN mandate to protect civilians.
But Motlanthe said it remained to be seen whether the ICC would have the will to investigate whether there had been co-operation between Nato and Libyan rebels in the advance on Tripoli.
Answering questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Motlanthe said it appeared Nato was trying to create the impression that the rebels had been acting on their own when they took Tripoli.
“There are clear links and co-ordination at that level,” Motlanthe said in replying to Ben Skosana (IFP), who had asked who would be held accountable for deaths in the Nato bombings.
“The question is whether the ICC would have the wherewithal to unearth that information and bring those who are responsible to book, including the Nato members or commanders on the ground.
“UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which was aimed at protecting civilians, initially from bombings by the government of Muammar Gaddafi, was in a sense overstretched by the Nato forces.
“We know they are attempting to create the impression that the rebels are acting on their own in their attacks in Tripoli, but there are clear links and co-ordination.”
This had created a problem for the UN Security Council and future interventions.
“As you are aware the situation in Syria is also of grave concern, but precisely because of this precedent created in Libya, the UN Security Council has not been able to agree on how to intervene in Syria,” Motlanthe said.
He said those who did not vote for Resolution 1973 on Libya had abstained, allowing it to be adopted, but the precedent had created serious doubts about permanent members of the Security Council.
He said the difficulty with the Libyan situation was that no one knew who the rebels – a “potpourri of ethnic groupings” – were.
The Libyan situation was unfortunate in that Gaddafi had presided over the country with a small group of generals and no formal institutions beyond tribal bodies.
The only hope for Libya was that its citizens were highly educated.
Motlanthe reiterated that the government’s position was in line with the AU’s and that the AU road map was the only honourable route to peace, stability and the democratisation of all institutions in Libya.
Meanwhile, a group of “concerned Africans” has written an open letter criticising the attacks on Libya, saying Africa ran the risk of being recolonised.
“Nato has violated international law… they had a regime change agenda,” said one of the signatories, University of Johannesburg head of politics, Chris Landsberg. “The re-colonisation of Africa is becoming a real threat.”
The letter was signed by more than 200 prominent Africans, including ANC national executive member Jessie Duarte; political analyst Willie Esterhuyse, of the University of Stellenbosch; former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils; lawyer Christine Qunta; former deputy foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad; former minister in the presidency Essop Pahad; Sam Moyo, of the African Institute for Agrarian Studies; former president Thabo Mbeki’s spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga; and poet Wally Serote.
“It is very difficult for us to see any peace in Libya,” said Serote.
“The problem has now been exacerbated… eventually the AU will still have to come into play.”
He said even if the criticism were true that the AU was a weak organisation, then Africans needed to find a way to support the body.
Landsberg said it was up to the Libyan people – and not the UN – to decide if Gaddafi, who had been in power for 42 years, had overstayed his welcome.
The letter reads: “Contrary to the provisions of the UN Charter, the UN Security Council authorised and has permitted the destruction and anarchy which has descended on the Libyan people. At the end of it all, many Libyans will have died and have been maimed (and) much infrastructure will have been destroyed.”
The Security Council had not produced evidence to prove that its authorisation of the use of force was an appropriate response to the situation in Libya.
“(The Security Council) have empowered themselves openly to pursue the objective of ‘regime change’ and therefore the use of force and all other means to overthrow the government of Libya, which objectives are completely at variance with the decisions of the UN Security Council,” reads the letter, which was also supported by Cosatu, the SA Communist Party and the Media Review Network.
Landsberg said the UK, France and the US “continue to act as rogue states”.
“The tragedy is that they are not likely to be charged in the International Criminal Court.”
- Political Bureau