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In UN Libya Resolution, US Insistence on ICC Exclusion Shields Mercenaries from Algeria, Ethiopia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 26 -- After passage of a compromise Libya resolution by the UN Security Council on Saturday night, Inner City Press asked French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud if mercenaries aren't let off the hook by the sixth operative paragraph, exempting personnel from states not members of the International Criminal Court from ICC prosecution.

  Araud regretted the paragraph, but said the the United States had demanded it. He said, “No, that's, that was for one country, it was absolutely necessary for one country to have that considering its parliamentary constraints, and this country we are in. It was a red line for the United States. It was a deal-breaker, and that's the reason we accepted this text to have the unanimity of the Council.”

  While a Bush administration Ambassador to the UN in 2002 threatened to veto a UN resolution on Bosnia if it did not contain a similar exclusion, the Obama administration has maintained this insistence on impunity, which in this case applies to mercenaries from Algeria, Tunisia and Ethiopia, among other mercenary countries.

 (In the case of Algeria, there are allegations of official support for Gadhafi).

   While Inner City Press was able to ask UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant about the exclusion for mercenaries from non ICC countries, US Permanent Representative Susan Rice did not take a question from Inner City Press, and none on this topic, despite having mentioned mercenaries in her speech.

Obama, Hillary & Susan Rice: mercenary impunity not shown

  When Libya, but no longer Gadhafi, diplomat Ibrahim Dabbashi came out to take questions, Inner City Press asked him which countries the mercenaries used by Gadhafi come from.

  He mentioned Algeria, Tunisia and Ethiopia -- highlighted by NGOs as non ICC members -- as well as Chad, Niger, Kenya and Guinea. So some mercenaries could be prosecuted by the ICC, and not others, under language demanded by the US Mission to the UN. Watch this site.

Here is the US-demanded paragraph:

6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State.

Footnote: Araud blaming the US position on "parliamentary constraints" seemed to some a way to try to blame a decision by Obama's executive branch on the Republicans who recently took over the House of Representatives. But it was an Obama administration decision. More nuanced apologists blame the Defense Department for pulling rank on State. But the result is mercenaries firing freely.
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At UN, Final Libya Draft Has ICC Referral, Mentions Article 16 Suspension

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 26 -- As final draft of the Libya resolution was being prepared for a 5 pm UN Security Council meeting on Saturday, China said it had to call Beijing for instructions.

 French Ambassador Gerard Araud bragged that the referral of the case of Libya to the International Criminal Court is still in the draft, crowing “I told you so.”

A Western spokesperson added, when asked by Inner City Press, that a perambular paragraph of the new draft explicitly mentions Article 16 of the Rome Statute of the ICC, stating that the prosecution could be suspended for 12 months.

  It's the same language as in the Darfur case, the spokesperson said, in which Sudan's Omar al Bashir is seeking suspension or dropped of genocide charges against him.

The goal is to get those around Gadhafi to stop and defect, a EU Council members spokesperson told the Press. Some had argued that it would push Gadhafi over the edge, this spokesperson said, but we agreed he was already over the edge. But others could defect to avoid prosecution.

The way to do that, another pointed out, would be to set the date of the situation one day forward. Because there are people who could defect today who are already guilty.

What will be done about the mercenaries, from Algeria and elsewhere, alleged by Libya's Deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi? Watch this site.

Update of 4:50 pm -- a Western spokesperson says the vote is moved back from 5 pm to 8 pm, says "mood music" is of urgency. So what's another 3 hours? Hmm.

  Seems the idea is to see if China is bold enough to veto on ICC language.

* * *

As Libya's Shalgam Supports Referral to ICC, Spin of France & NGO, Human Rights

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 26 -- With the UN Security Council deadlocked on whether and when to refer the case of Libya to the International Criminal Court, a letter arrived that might tip the balance. Abdurrahman Shalgam, writing as Libya's Permanent Representative to the UN although on February 25 he compared Gadhafi to Hitler and Pol Pot, wrote to the Council presidency that:

With reference to the Draft Resolution on Libya before the Security Council, I have the honour to confirm that the Libyan Delegation to the United Nations supports the measures proposed in the draft resolution to hold to account those responsible for the armed attacks against the Libyan Civilians, including trough [sic] the International Criminal Court.”

A Security Council diplomat, insisting on being identified in that way, said that the letter may change the positions of, among others, Brazil and of Portugal, previously identified as not supporting referral of Libya to the ICC today. The diplomat added, contrary to an argument made in the press pen, that a letter from a Mission is not enough to join the ICC, it would require a letter from a prime minister or head of state - unlikely.

An African Ambassador going out for lunch was shown the Shalgam letter by Inner City Press and said, “So?”

It is unclear how the letter will play in the Council. Some might argue that if it is a “self -referral,” no ICC language is needed in the resolution. Others might argue that if Gadhafi's own former foreign minister favors the ICC referral, the day after a much applauded speech at the UN, Council members should go along.

Shalgam at UN - some want HIM as next S-G

On his way out, France's Ambassador Gerard Araud said that no Council member has questioned Shalgam's credentials to represent Libya. But he noted that the letter is to the Council president, not to the ICC. Inner City Press asked him if all EU members on the Council support referral of Libya to the ICC in the resolution today. “Ask the EU members of the Council,” he said. The Council will reconvene at 3 p.m.

Footnote: the argument that Shalgam's letter allows the ICC Prosecutor to consider if it is a request for self-investigation came was made to many reporters in the press pen by Richard Dicker, a representative of Human Rights Watch. Previously, complaints have been made to the UN Media and Accreditation Liaison Unit about Mr. Dicker's presence in the press pen, which is often said to only be for UN accredited journalists.

  Recently, HRW criticized Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for being weak on human rights in China, Sri Lanka and elsewhere -- click here for Inner City Press story on Team Ban's reaction. Regardless, the “no NGOs in the press pen” rule has been enforced on others -- but was not on HRW's Dick Dicker on Saturday.We'll have more on the rule of law late in the day.

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At UN, Portugal Denies It Doesn't Support Referring Libya to ICC, EU Blame Game?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 26 -- On the International Criminal Court and whether and when the case of Libya should be referred to it, even the European Union is not united, it emerged Saturday at the UN. As the Security Council met on a draft resolution which would refer Libya to the ICC, a Western -- and we must say, EU -- diplomat emerged to tell the Press that Portugal was not supporting referring Libya to the ICC, due to concerns about retaliation against their citizens in Libya.

Inner City Press e-mailed the Mission of Portugal and asked for a response, ideally to the assembly UN press corps. And it happened: Portugal emerged and told Inner City Press that Portugal supports the draft as is, with the referral of Libya to the ICC, adding that Portugal is open to a compromise to get a resolution done today.

Some skeptics surmise that there may have been an idea of blaming Portugal for dropping from the draft the referral of Libya to the ICC.

An explanation has been requested: watch this site.

Meanwhile, the US Mission tweets in response to Inner City Press that it will have a lot to say on the record. When?

Update of 1:43 pm -- a Afro-Arab state's representative tells Inner City Press that in consultations, Portugal was speaking of putting referral of Libya to the ICC in a separate resolution. Still no response from the Western spokesperson who threw Portugal under the bus.

Meanwhile there's talk of China being 100% opposed to referral, with the counter-proposal of saying ICC will be discussed later coming from India and Gabon -- whose president Ali Bongo is a supporter of Gadhafi, and which dropped out of a planned joint stakeout with South Africa and Nigeria after Friday's meeting. Watch this site.

* * *

On Libya, Will France & UK Drop Referral of Case to ICC for Mere Mention - and Blame it on Portugal?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 26, updated -- As the UN Security Council convened on Saturday morning on the UK draft resolution on Libya, the way the International Criminal Court will be dealt with seemed the major sticking point.

French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud said there “will be a reference to the ICC.” But the issues is whether the case of Libya will be referred to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC, as the case of Darfur was, leading to the indictment of Sudan's president Omar al Bashir.

Inner City Press asked Araud, do you mean referral of the case of Libya to the ICC? But Araud walked away.

UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant stopped and said “there are a number of issues Ambassadors will have to address,” then walked away.

It was explained that the Permanent Representatives' meeting was put back from 11 to 11:30 am, that some compromises had been made in the “experts' meeting” that began at 9 am and a new draft was being printed.

Araud said that there was wide agreement on sanctions, and that this represented a major historical change. On Friday when asked about imposing a no fly zone, he said that from the lessons of Bosnia, no one had even asked for it.

Hardly mentioned so far is the question of foreign mercenaries. Watch this site.

Update of 11:35 am - a Western spokesman now says that while "all" agree on referral of case to ICC at some point, they might want to go in stages. So could a resolution passed today not even deal with issue of th referral of the case of Libya to the ICC, just refer to ICC and the possibility of later referral?

  India's Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri pointed out to the Press that India is not a member of the ICC.

   And at 11:42 am, Susan Rice walked in, without saying anything.

Update of 11:57 a.m. - a Western spokesperson emerges to tell the Press that Portugal is opposing referral of Libya to the ICC because of possible retaliation against its citizens in Libya. A response has been sought from Portugal's Mission.

Update of 12:17 pm -- now a Western spokesperson emerges to sketch out three scenarios on ICC: referral now, referral at a date certain in the future, or merely saying the Council will meet in the future to consider referral. Says they "will" be consensus. Sounds like they could live with the third option, merely mentioning future consideration. Wow.

Update of 12:29 pm -- response to emailed Press question, Portugal emerges and says it supports draft AS IS, with referral of case of Libya to ICC, open to compromise to get it done today. So why did the other Western / EU spokesperson "throw Portugal under the bus"?  Maybe to justify in advance their own selling out of the ICC referral? We'll ask- Watch this site.

* * *

On Libya UN Resolution, France Will Flexibly Insist on ICC, Gabon Breaks Unity; Shalgam Full Text, Resolution Link

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 25 -- After Libyan, but no longer Gadhafi, Ambassador Shalgam brought the UN House down with his speech comparing Gadhafi to Pol Pot and Hitler and calling for the Security Council to quick adopt a courageous resolution (rough transcription of Shalgam below), there was a lot of talk about unity and agreement between Council members. 

  But there is no agreement on referring Libya to the International Criminal Court. And Inner City Press is told that a planned unity stakeout by the Council's three African members broke down after the pull out of Gabon, whose President Ali Bongo is a friend of Gadhafi. So much for unity.

  Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Gerard Araud how important retaining the referral to the ICC in the draft resolution is to France. Araud replied that he will insist on it, but can be flexible on language.

  Moment later, Inner City Press asked the representative of other Council member, who laughed at Araud's conflation of insistence and flexibility. He asked, how is that possible?

  The Council will convene Saturday at 9 am at the expert level, then for consultations by the Permanent Representatives at 11 am. Western spokespeople said that a vote on an adoption of the resolution is possible Saturday.

  But would that only be if the Westerners agree to drop the referral to the ICC?

   While the Council consulted, Shalgam came to speak to the Press, fast transcription below. Among many other things he mentioned "two thousand prisoners who were killed in the prison of Abu Salim in 1996." But he worked for Gadhafi then, and after.  Some wondered, how far back would an ICC referral go? If to the founding date of the ICC, some now renouncing are implicated.

  Maybe that's why the sentence in the draft resolution is "decides to refer the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court."

  After the Council's meeting on Friday afternoon, there were stakeout sessions, the first by Ban Ki-moon who bragged of going to Washington on Monday - “to get his marching orders,” a non-Western observer snarked.

  Ban at the stakeout, with his personal rostrum, repeated word for word what he had said in the Council's open meeting. He then took three questions, each carefully chosen by his spokesman Martin Nesirky. The answers deferred to member states.

  With consultations over, the Brazilian President of the Council read some so-called elements to the press: not even a formal Council Press Statement. Inner City Press asked her if any member or members had expressed reservations about referral to the ICC. She said she wouldn't like to discussed particular parts of the resolution.

  Then Araud of France spoke, first in English including Inner City Press' question about the ICC, then unilaterally in French. He asked if there were no French journalists, then answered his own question, apparently in order to appear on French TV.

Shalgam leaves UN, years of Gadhafi service not shown (c) MRLee

  UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, on the other hand, did not speak to the assembled press. Rather, his Mission sent to all a link to the Ambassador's interview with UN Radio.

  The US Ambassadors were not heard from at all; a question posed via Twitter was never answered. The USUN Spokesman took (tw)issue with a characterization of the Mission in Inner City Press as “AWOL,” Absent With Out Leave,” but then never replied to the response. Perhaps IWOL, then: Invisible With Out Leave. Watch this site.

Fast transcription of Shalgam at UN February 25, 2011 by a Friend on Inner City Press:

Pol Pot, chief of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, was asked why did you execute 1/3 of your people? He said, I did that because of the people. Before invading the Soviet Union, Hitler, he told Rommel ... his general, I intend to invade the Soviet Union. Rommel told him, that will cost us another 2 million. Hitler replied, what is the significance of 2 million Germans dying in the interest of the glory of the Fuhrer, the leader?

What is taking place in Libya, ladies and gentleman, is indeed very dangerous. On 25th of February, a group of peaceful civilians walked out, calling for the release of a lawyer called ... following the case of 16 February, the case of 2000 prisoners who were killed in the prison of Abu Salim in 1996. This group were faced firing on their heads, as if the soldiers who opened fire don't know that the human being has a head, heart, and legs. There are other parts that can be shot at. Tear gas bombs, road blocks that can contain demonstrations. They are asking for democracy, they are asking for progress, they are asking for freedom, they are asking for their rocks. They demonstrate peacefully, they didn't throw a single stone. They were killed. What did brother Muammar Gadhafi say? He said that these people used this hallucination tablets. Tens of thousands would need mountains of these pills to lose their brains and minds and act up. One million turned out in Benghazi yesterday. A mountain of tablets that the Colonel claimed would not be enough. Muammar Gadhafi and his sons are telling the Libyans, either I rule you or I kill you. It is clear this evening, after tens of our brothers were killed in Kadjura [?], eastern Tripoli, he came out in a speech before children who were brought from asylums and some soldiers dressed in civilian clothes, and he told them, I will burn Libya, I will distribute arms to the tribes, Libya will turn red because of blood. Is this because of glory? Or is this because of the people. Muammar Qaddafi cannot give a single weapon to any person in Libya because it will be used against him.

I regret to be in this position. When I heard Qaddafi addressing a secondary school in 1959, he was talking about freedom for Congo. 1960, I listened to him complaining about the French nuclear experiments in Algeria. 1961, I listened to him against the separation between Syria and Egypt. Today, I listen to him telling his people either I rule over you or I kill you, destroy. Don't be afraid. Libya is united. Libya will remain united. Libya will be a progressive state, but I tell my brother Qaddafi, leave the Libyans alone. However you kill, however the atrocities who presented martyrs when they were barefooted, when they were poor in need against Mussolini, [inaudible name] said it clearly, we don't surrender. Either we get victory or we die. We do not surrender. Either victory or death. ...

Is a 6-month child who was killed a follower of bin Laden? Libya was established via a resolution of the United Nations. Please, United Nations, save Libya. No to bloodshed, no to killing of innocents. We want a decisive, rapid and courageous resolution from you. I thank you for your attention.


I think everyone followed my statement before the SC. Now they're going to deliberate, the members, on the draft of the resolution. It was important for us, for the Libyan people, that the Security Council should act now. A real decision to stop what's going on in our country, the bloodshed, firing the innocent civilians, and I hope that within hours, not days, they can do something tangible, effective, to stop what they are doing there, Gaddafi and his sons, against our people.

It's important to us, for the Libyan people that the SC should have now a real decision to stop what's going on in our country, the bloodshed. Firing the innocent civilians, and I hope that within hours and not days they can do something tangible to stop what they are doing there, Qaddafi and his sons, against our people, our innocent.

Q: What are your thoughts about sanctions against Libya?

A: No no no no, there will not be sanctions against Libya as a country. The sanctions would be against Qaddafi and his family, and those people who are killing people with him.

Q: Why did you change your mind?

A: I didn't change my mind. From the beginning, I couldn't imagine in the beginning there was going to be this toll of the victims,the cadavers everywhere. When a government shoot citizens, when it fires at citizens because they are saying no, it can't continue. It's can't be legal for a king or a president while you are killing people just for saying "We want to be free." It's not a crime if someone said, “I want to be free.”

Q: Will there be a no-fly zone?

A: No.

Inner City Press: Have you resigned?

A: No. I am here representing Libya. Libya. The only thing that is more important than Qaddafi, than everyone that is , instead to be your blood. My family. All Libya is my family and my blood.

Q: When did you meet Qaddafi?

A: We were in the same area, in the south of Libya, he was older than me....... he was a young man, maybe he was 17...I am from another village but I was following, he was well-known, he was a follower of Gamal Abdel Nasser, we were proud of him. I was one of his closest – not friends, who worked with him since the beginning of the revolution. Unfortunately, we started with the revolution and the freedom, and ended up killing our people. It's incredible.

Q: What do you say to the other Libyan diplomats?

A: I think that 90% of our missions all over the world are not with Qaddafi. Most of them now, with had a statement, we are working for Libya, and they consider me their minister of Foreign Affairs because I was the foreign minister for 9 years. They are working directly with me.

Q: What do you tell Qaddafi?

A: I am afraid that he is going -- these horrible statements, I dont' know how he's going to finish. I don't know. As I say in the SC, that 3 things won't exist any more. Colonialism, slavery, and the rule of one person. It's finished. And the Arab world is going to change completely. When Qaddafi will flee, or I don't know what will happen, all the Arab world will move quickly for freedom, and we have slogans, Arab unity, by the tyrants? No. Now the people will do it. Now all the Arab world, from the ocean, Morocco to the Gulf, in Bahrain supporting Libya. All of them supporting Libya. All of them, and tomorrow when we finish, when Libya will be free we'll start another country, and within one year you'll have another Arab world. Thank you very much.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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

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