Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Libya: The law is clear - it is illegal to arm the "rebels"

Photos: "unarmed" civilians

43869.jpegThe law is the law, and it is crystal clear. Under the UN Charter and Resolutions 1970 and 1973 it would be illegal for any entity to arm the "rebels" in Libya and in so doing, this would constitute a breach of international law, leaving the perpetrators open to criminal liability. And has anyone researched the history of the "rebel" movement?

The legal principle which governs international law

The legal principle of the UN Charter is to avoid war and to ensure peace; that is why any act of aggression outside the specific scope of a Resolution must necessarily pass by a separate Resolution in the UN Security Council. Since the scope of the resolutions covering Libya - UNSC Resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011) - do not include the supply of weaponry to the "rebel" cause in Libya - but instead prohibit it and cover attacks on civilians, then under no circumstances whatsoever would it be admissible, acceptable or legal for any entity to supply weapons or train the "rebels" against the Libyan authorities.

Definition of a civilian

Let us now turn to the definition of a civilian: someone who is not an active member of the military, police or a belligerent group. For this reason, men in uniforms, sporting weapons are not civilians and for this reason if such persons use violence against the Libyan armed forces, then any counter-attack by such forces cannot be deemed to be an attack against civilians.

UNSC Resolution 1970 (2011)

Paragraph 9 prohibits the supply of weapons to Libya:

"9. Decides that all Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, from or through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, and technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance, related to military activities or the provision, maintenance or use of any arms and related materiel, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel whether or not originating in their territories,..."43870.jpeg

UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011)

There is nothing whatsoever in this document which contradicts the scope of Resolution 1970 above. For a start, its introduction is very clear about the need to commit to the territorial integrity of Libya:

"Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,"

Paragraph 4 does not contradict Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1970 on the supply of weaponry. It does not state anywhere that the terms are revoked or annulled. The insinuation that it does is a puerile and very devious attempt to twist around what is very clear under international law. The expression "all necessary measures" is qualified and restricted to the protection of civilians:

"4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,"

and "notwithstanding" does not mean "substituting". It means "in spite of" in the context of "in conjunction with" and not "in contradiction of"; otherwise it would be necessary to state clearly that the terms and conditions of Paragraph 9 of UNSC Resolution 1970 (2011) are revoked, annulled, substituted or replaced. This not being the case, the argument that 1973 allows such supply or weaponry is an indication of the malice of those politicians who propose it and certainly does not constitute a legal basis for action.

Paragraph 8 reiterates the expression "all necessary measures" but qualifies this as pertaining to a ban on flights:

"8. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights imposed by paragraph 6 above,"

Finally, the reference by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that 1973 substitutes 1970 is as much an unadulterated, barefaced lie as the claim that she went into a war zone in the Balkans under fire. The expression "replace" indeed reiterates the implementation of the arms embargo and adds the provision for inspection of sea or air vessels.

"13. Decides that paragraph 11 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall be replaced by the following paragraph : "Calls upon all Member States, in particular States of the region, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), to inspect in their territory, including seaports and airports, and on the high seas, vessels and aircraft bound to or from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, if the State concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited by paragraphs 9 or 10 of resolution 1970 (2011) as modified by this resolution, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel, calls upon all flag States of such vessels and aircraft to cooperate with such inspections and authorises Member States to use all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to carry out such inspections;".

As we see, the legal question is perfectly simple to follow and is very clear to see.

Bombing attacks

43871.jpegAs for the bombing attacks, the scope of the law is to prevent attacks on civilians, therefore attacking Libyan government forces against the "rebels" constitutes a breach of the Resolution and is therefore a beach of international law, leaving the perpetrators liable to prosecution for criminal liability for war crimes.

Under these precepts, I hereby accuse Messrs Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Juppé, David Cameron and William Hague of war crimes for the deployment of military equipment against forces which were not attacking civilians.

Is the world going to stand back yet again as we have another illegal war based upon lies and propaganda and nonsense, or is someone going to take action and nip this in the bud, bringing a case against these perpetrators and hauling these criminals and murderers before the proper legal instances where they belong?

And just before we finish, Google up the Al Qaeda connection to the leader of the rebels, his history in fighting against the USA and British in Afghanistan, the legacy of the Benghazi bombers in Iraq and the history of the fighters themselves. This proves just how incompetent the above-mentioned are to perform their roles as Heads of Government and Diplomacy.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Pravda.Ru

 

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