U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon voiced alarm on Thursday over recent reports of civilians killed in NATO’s intervention in Libya and called on all sides to do as much as possible to avoid killing innocent people.
The Secretary”s concerned public statement comes after Gadhafi officials this week claimed that 85 civilians were killed by NATO bombs and Amnesty International called for an investigation of the incident. NATO admits the operation took place but has so far denied any evidence of civilian casualties, despite some corroboration of official claims by independent journalists.
Various recent reports of civilians dying due to NATO airstrikes are troubling given the mandate authorizing the intervention, which justified it on humanitarian grounds. Now in its sixth month, the intervention in Libya continues to deteriorate and shows no signs of waning.
Nor does NATO show any signs of investigating its alleged responsibility in the death of innocent civilians. Holding Western powers accountable in military interventions like this one have little historical precedent, and are unlikely to be realized in the case of Libya.