NATO commanders who authorized the bombing of Libya should be “held accountable” to international law and hauled before the world court for civilian deaths, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said Tuesday.
“NATO’s top commanders may have acted under color of international law, but they are not exempt from international law,” Kucinich said in a statement released by his office. “If members of the Qadhafi regime are to be held accountable, NATO’s top commanders must also be held accountable through the International Criminal Court for all civilian deaths resulting from bombing. Otherwise, we will have witnessed the triumph of a new international gangsterism.”
Although marginalized in Congress, Kucinich is not the first to note NATO crimes in the Libyan war. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon voiced concern over reports in early August of NATO bombs killing up to 85 civilians. Amnesty International has also called for an investigation of the incident.
There have been various other reports of civilian deaths resulting from NATO bombs, including an airstrike on a hospital in July – itself a war crime. A NATO attack on a television and radio station, which killed several people, was also condemned by UN officials as a violation of the laws of war.
Kucinich argued that NATO’s failure to keep to the initial UN mandate of protecting civilians also warrants investigation. “The reasons for the U.S./NATO intervention in Libya keep changing,” he said. “First, it was about the potential for a massacre in Benghazi. When the massacre did not materialize and once the war against Libya was under way, the reasons for intervention changed.”
“Was the United States, through participation in the overthrow of the regime, furthering the aims of international oil corporations in pursuit of control over one of the world’s largest oil resources?” he asked. “Did the United States at the inception of the war against Libya align itself with elements of Al Qaeda, while elsewhere continuing to use the threat of Al Qaeda as a reason for U.S. military intervention, presence and occupation?”
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