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Russia Urges UN Probe of NATO in Libya, ICC Loophole Raised, Ban "Misled"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 22 -- Russia on Wednesday asked for a UN investigation of the killing of civilians in Libya by NATO during its bombing campaign there. US Ambassador Susan Rice responded that this was "bombast and bogus claims" meant to distract from the situation in Syria.

  A third Ambassador who spoke, Gerard Araud of France, said that the International Criminal Court can investigate and address the alleged killing of civilians by NATO.

  Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice if the exemption from prosecution of nationals of non-ICC members in the Security Council resolution (1970) referring the situation in Libya to the ICC didn't now mean that the ICC cannot act on NATO members who are not ICC members: like the United States, and Qatar.

  Rice said, "I'm not going to get into legal questions of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction," saying again that it is a "distraction." Video here from Minute 16:55, transcript below.

  When Resolution 1970 was passed -- France at the time pointed the press against fellow EU member Portugal as being "soft" of the ICC referral, while its Ambassador Araud blamed the exemption on Republicans in the US Congress -- Inner City Press had asked Rice if it might have a bad effect. To some, it now has.

(c) UN Photo
Churkin and Rice, previously, "bombast and bogus claims" not shown

  Inner City Press on Wednesday asked Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, since he is asking for "UN" investigation, about the statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that resolution 1973 was strictly complied with.

  Churkin said this "doesn't reflect well on the United Nations," adding that Ban Ki-moon was "misled" by the Secretary General of NATO, and Ban "went public" with it. Video here, from Minute 8:20. So can Ban's UN now investigate? Watch this site.

From the US Mission transcript:

Inner City Press ...Ambassador Rice, on this question of the ICC having jurisdiction to look into this or prosecute it, it seems to some that there is a clause, there was a carve-out, for non-ICC members not being subject to the court for their operations in Libya. So, since there were some, including your own, countries in NATO that are not subject to the ICC, how does that-how does the ICC have jurisdiction over that?

Ambassador Rice: I'm not going to get into the legal question of jurisdiction, lack of jurisdiction, but let me just say this: the prosecutor has said in the open chamber that that is what he's doing. But the point is that this is a distraction and a diversion. And it is a diversion from the fact that this Council's actions and those of NATO and its partners saved tens of thousands-if not hundreds of thousands-of Libyan lives. That is something we should be celebrating. It is certainly something that the people of Libya are celebrating. And if the Libyans want to work with NATO to investigate any concerns they have, we're more than willing to do that. I think it's notable that we've not heard that call from the Libyan government. So let us-let us see this for what it is: it is duplicitous, it's redundant, it's superfluous and it's a stunt. And if others want to go along with it, they can. But I did not hear a majority of the members of the Council indicate that they thought this was necessary. And we're certainly looking forward to hearing from the commission of inquiry.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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