Damien McElroy / The Telegraph – 2011-11-04 01:03:26
(November 2, 2011) — NATO forces are to be investigated by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes during the Libyan conflict. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court’s chief prosecutor, told the United Nations yesterday that NATO troops would be investigated alongside rebel soldiers and regime forces for alleged breaches of the laws of war during the battle to overthrow Col Muammar Gaddafi.
As well as the original charges that Gaddafi and his close family perpetrated attacks on Libyan civilians, there are a series of complaints about the Western alliance and its allies in the National Transitional Council (NTC) under consideration.
“There are allegations of crimes committed by NATO forces, allegations of crimes committed by NTC-related forces â€¦ as well as allegations of additional crimes committed by pro-Gaddafi forces,” said Mr Moreno-Ocampo. “`These allegations will be examined impartially and independently by the prosecution.”
In the last weeks of the war, the Gaddafi regime alleged that 85 civilians were killed in a NATO air strike near the front line town of Ziltan. Khaled Hemidi, a regime general, filed a lawsuit before a Belgian civil court in Brussels accusing NATO of killing his wife and three children in an air strike on June 20 near the town of Surman.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo also said that reports continued to emerge that Gaddafi’s son, Saif, is trying to flee Libya with the help of mercenaries. He said his organisation had “received questions from individuals linked to Saif al-Islam about the legal conditions attaching to his potential surrender”.
Representatives asked questions such as what would happen if he appeared before judges and the various conviction and acquittal possibilities, the prosecutor told the UN Security Council, which referred the Libya case to the ICC.
The court had “clarified” that under its founding Rome statute “he may request the judges not to order his return to Libya after his conviction or acquittal.”
“Judges can also decide if he may be extradited to another state,” the prosecutor said. “We are also receiving information that a group of mercenaries may be endeavouring to facilitate his escape from Libya. We are calling upon states to do all that they can to disrupt any such operation.”
Mr Moreno-Ocampo said it was possible that Libya’s new government could be given jurisdiction in the case against Saif Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi, the late dictator’s brother-in-law and intelligence chief.
In the written text of a speech to the Security Council, Mr Moreno-Ocampo said he was investigating if Gaddafi, who died shortly after his capture by government forces last month, and his former spy chief ordered mass rapes.
The ICC issued warrants on June 27 against Gaddafi, Saif and Senussi accusing them of crimes against humanity during operations against Libyan protests.
Charges against Gaddafi could be formally dropped when the court gets official proof of the former dictator’s death on Oct 20, the prosecutor said.
Saif Gaddafi and Senussi had not been seen since and Mr Moreno-Ocampo said his office was “galvanising efforts” to bring the pair to justice.
NATO Refuses to Investigate Libyan Civilian Deaths
John Glaser / Anti-War.com
(October 4, 2011) — In August, regime officials of Muammar Gadhafi claimed that 85 civilians were killed in a NATO airstrike in the village of Majar. Locals have acknowledged that the Gadhafi spokesman’s figures were inflated, including both those killed and injured.
But now survivors and family members are requesting compensation for the lost lives and property and they’re demanding answers as to why NATO bombed them. They put the death toll at 35, and provided photographs of 28 people they said were victims, which included young men, older women, and children.
NATO denies the claims of civilian casualties, sticking to their initial assessment that the target in Majar, which was hit with precision-guided munitions, was a “military staging area.” Further, NATO has no plans to investigate the incident, despite calls by Amnesty International and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to investigate the true number of civilian casualties and property damage.
“NATO does not have any troops on the ground in Libya and consequently no reliable method to verify the civilian casualty allegations,” NATO spokesman Col. Roland Lavoie told McClatchy news service. It is acknowledged that Gadhafi officials inflated the death count, but history has also exposed NATO as underestimating the true number of deaths resulting from their attacks.
The refusal to compile figures for alleged civilian casualties or conduct investigations at sites such as Majar only adds to this uncertainty.
NATO has ignored calls for investigations into other alleged incidents of killing civilians, of which there have been a few. NATO has admitted to at least one occasion in which a NATO strike hit a civilian home in Tripoli, killing a number of civilians, including infants. The numbers of those killed by NATO strikes in Sirte, one of the most intensely attacked cities of the war, are much higher that the Majar incident, going into the hundreds.
The crimes committed on civilians, a number of them resulting in civilian deaths, by NATO’s rebel allies are also not being investigated by NATO or any other body, but are expected to be significant.
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