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Qaddafi Charged With War Crimes; US Recognizes Libyan Rebels As Legitimate Government

July 26, 2011
By: Carlos Aramayo | Printer Friendly

On June 26, CNN reported that the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Muammar Qaddafi and two of his sons for crimes against humanity. Qaddafi’s intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Sanoussi, was also indicted. The Court accused the Qaddafi clan of crimes perpetrated against Libyan civilians between February 15 and February 18, before the country erupted into an all-out civil war. Human rights groups cheered the developments, but other experts have expressed concerns on the impact the indictments will have in the embattled dictator.

Steven Groves, an expert in human rights and international institutions at the Heritage Foundation in Washington stated, “this indictment will not make Qaddafi more inclined to leave the country or negotiate a peaceful solution.” Groves added that the indictments are “likely to make him more resolved to stick it out,” the Christian Science Monitor reported. In contrast, Human Rights Watch’s International Justice director Richard Dicker said: “It beggars belief that a dictator who has gripped power for over 40 years would be frozen in place by this arrest warrant.”

In an effort to further pressure Qaddafi out of power, on July 15, the United States (US) formally recognized the Transitional National Council – the rebel leadership in Libya – as the country’s legitimate government. The move allows the rebel government access to $30 billion (USD) in Libyan assets held in the US, the Washington Post reported.  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Qaddafi’s regime no longer had “any legitimacy, and that the United States would join more than 30 countries in extending diplomatic recognition to the main opposition group.” So far, Kuwait and Qatar have given the rebels roughly $100 million. France renewed a previous pledge to unfreeze $250 million in assets for the rebels, and Italy pledged to unfreeze $100 million.

On July 24, Germany announced that it would lend 100 million Euros to the Libyan opposition to ease the country’s growing humanitarian crisis in rebel-controlled territories, the Guardian reported. "We have decided to provide the NTC with urgently needed funding for civil and humanitarian measures," said German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle.

On July 25, a United Nations (UN) mission to Tripoli concluded that civilians lack cash, fuel and electricity. The mission’s participants stayed in the Libyan capital for 4 weeks. The goal of the mission was to further assess the needs of Internally Displaced People and other vulnerable groups, to ensure people get the right assistance, and also examined the humanitarian impact of the conflict on civilians.

In a statement, the UN Humanitarian Mission Coordinator Laurence Hart said, “Although the mission observed aspects of normalcy in Tripoli, members identified pockets of vulnerability where people need urgent humanitarian assistance." The mission also expressed concerns over the unsustainable food supply chain for the public distribution systems, especially as the Holy Muslim month of Ramadan approaches and the conflict persists.

With a “no boots on the ground” policy in Libya, Western nations have found it hard to remove Qaddafi from power. His forces have dug in around the capital, Tripoli, and other strategic cities where the dictator retains at least some support among the civilian populations. As a consequence of this policy and possibly reflecting their frustrations, several countries, including Britain and France, have reportedly sent arms, ammunition and other military supplies to the rebels in an effort to accelerate the development of their war-fighting capacity.

For previous news on Libya, please see:
Qaddafi Clings to Power in Libya

CNN – International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Gadhafi

The Christian Science Monitor – Libya's Qaddafi charged with war crimes: a help or hindrance to NATO?

Washington Post – United States recognizes Libyan rebels as legitimate government

Washington Post – France sent arms to Libyan rebels

CBC News – U.K. supplies body armour to Libyan rebels

The Guardian UK – Germany to lend €100m to Libyan rebels

United Nations News Centre – Libya: UN mission to Tripoli finds areas in urgent need of humanitarian aid



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