Attacks on Libyans may be ‘crimes against humanity’

Attacks on civilians in Libya may amount to “crimes against humanity” and the world will not stand “idly by” if they continue, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday.

“These widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity,” Rasmussen said of what he termed the “outrageous” response of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime as protests evolved into full-blown civil war.

While events on the ground in North Africa were fast-moving, Rasmussen underlined that: “I can’t imagine the international community and the UN standing idly by if Colonel Gaddafi and his regime continue to attack his own people systematically.”

The Dane told a news conference at Nato headquarters that Gaddafi’s “violation of human rights and international humanitarian law” had created “a human crisis on our doorstep which concerns us all”, and reiterated his strongest condemnation.

Libyan rebels ceded ground to Gaddafi’s advancing forces on Monday as the United States came under increasing domestic political pressure to arm the opposition and the United Nations appointed a special humanitarian envoy.

‘No intention to intervene’
Rasmussen stressed that “Nato has no intention to intervene in Libya,” despite intensive “prudent planning” for “any eventuality”.

He stressed repeatedly that action would require a United Nations Security Council mandate.

“I take note of the fact the current UN mandate doesn’t authorise the use of armed force,” Rasmussen added, which he said meant calls by some Nato states for the enforcement of a no-fly zone over the desert land would require a change of mindset in New York.

He said the imposition of a no-fly zone “is indeed a very comprehensive undertaking [that] will require a wide range of military assets”.

France said earlier on Monday that the Arab League backed Paris in calling for the step-change, and Rasmussen said he had spoken to the heads of both the Arab League and the chair of the Commission of the African Union.

“We stand ready to assist if so requested and properly mandated,” he said. — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

Old Mutual announces digital AGM

An ambitious plan to create Africa’s biggest digital classroom is intended to address one of the continent’s biggest challenges — access to education

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday