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On Libya, UN "Seeks Clarification" Of Immunity Law As SC Members Fail to File

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 10 -- As Libya is said to move toward election, at least two highly problematic laws were brought into question at the UN this week. Law 38 would grant immunity for any "acts made necessary by the 17 February revolution" and for the revolution's "success or protection."

Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman on May 8:

Inner City Press: there is a report of a proposed law in Libya, called law 38, which would grant amnesty for, quote, 'acts made necessary by the 17 February revolution, and for the revolution’s success of protection.' Some people are saying this is basically an amnesty law that whatever harm may have been created in the course of the rebellion are being forgiven. Does Ian Martin, or does the UN’s accountability people, have any view of this law?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I’d have to check with our colleagues in the Mission in Tripoli. I haven't seen anything on that. That doesn’t mean they haven't been working on this topic, but I haven't seen anything myself. So, I will check, Matthew. Anything else? Yeah?

Later this teaser was received:

Subject: Your question on Libya
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Tue, May 8, 2012
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Ian Martin will speak to the Security Council this Thursday, and he expects to talk to reporters at the stakeout afterward. He will take questions about recent developments in Libya at that time.

  And so when Martin emerged late Thursday to take questions, Inner City Press asked him this one, as well as two others.

  Martin said that some amnesties for fighters are encouraged by humanitarian law, but this cannot extend to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Law 38, however, does not appear to make that distinction. Martin said the UN is "seeking clarification."

  To some, this echoed the UN's position in Yemen when Ali Saleh got immunity.

  Inner City Press asked Libya's representative Ibrahim Dabbashi about Law 38, and also Law 37 which would impose life sentences to praising Gaddafi. Dabbashi expressed some discomfort with these laws, and implied they could and would be changed after the upcoming elections.

Beyond Inner City Press' reporting during the Security Council session that five Council members didn't even file the short reports required by the Council's own Libya sanctions regime -- Martin declined comment on this -- Inner City Press asked about the threat to resign by finance minister Hassan Ziglam, due to corruption in payments to former and claimed former fighters.

Martin said he'd seen this, and that the program to pay former fights had not been well administered, leading for example to the recent incidents at the Prime Minister office. Does corruption run deeper? Is Libya, as alleged, exporting weapons to fighters in Syria? Martin said this is beyond UNSMIL's mandate. Apparently it is beyond the mandate of UNIFIL as well. Watch this site.

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

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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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