'All targets struck in Libya were military'

2012-03-06 10:12

Brussels - All targets that Nato hit during the bombing of Libya were legitimate military sites, the alliance said Monday, despite the findings of a UN expert panel that said 60 civilians were killed and 55 wounded in the airstrikes it investigated.

Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the finding by the UN-appointed Commission of Inquiry on Libya that the alliance had "conducted a highly precise campaign with a demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties".

Friday's report in Geneva said Nato did not deliberately target civilians but that in five cases where the alliance claimed to have struck command-and-control centres or staging areas, the experts could identify no military targets. The panel said it couldn't reach a conclusion on those issues, citing lack of evidence and urged further investigation.

Nato warplanes flew 18 000 sorties during the 7-month campaign, which ended in October.

Fogh Rasmussen said Nato had looked into all allegations of harm to civilians, including assessments of all Nato records of target selection and other data gathered after the strike.

"This review process has confirmed that the targets we struck were legitimate military targets ... and that great care was taken in each case to minimize risk to civilians," he told reporters. "No target was approved or attacked if we had any evidence or reason to believe that civilians were at risk. Hundreds of possible targets were passed up or aborted at the last minute to avoid any risk to civilians."

In November, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunal, said his office would examine allegations of crimes committed by all sides in last year's fighting, including Nato.

The prosecutor's statement does not necessarily mean a formal investigation will be opened. Following the release of the UN Commission's findings, Moreno-Ocampo may decide there is no need for further investigation or ask judges for authorisation to open a formal probe.

Some human rights advocates and attorneys for the victims have criticised Nato for not acknowledging the bombing caused civilian casualties despite the precautions taken, and for refusing to consider compensation.

  • Fidel - 2012-03-06 10:22

    Hahaha.... Universities, Hospitals, Broadcast stations, Water supply systems and electricity power stations. I like how Nato makes up rules as they go. Brilliant!

      Fred - 2012-03-06 16:18

      Typical reactionary, OCD comment from you Fidel. Yet when there's an article about Al-Quaida's suicide and car bombs in public places that have INTENTIONALLY killed HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS, not a word, or the media is lying, or the so-called West is responsible, not the people actually doing the bombing. It is well known that Nato goes to great lengths to avoid harm to civilians. It is also well known that it targeted only military installations and resources in Libya. It is terrible when civilians get harmed, but the key difference is the intention, the remorse it expresses when mistakes are made, the HUGE difference in civilian casualties between Nato's actions and that of Al-Quaida and the Taliban, and the enormous number of lives saved from the madman Gaddafi. To you, none of this matters. All that matters is that you get to spread your poo about the so-called West, notwithstanding that Turkey, a country of 350 Million Muslims, is Nato's second-largest member country.

      Anthony - 2012-03-06 17:05

      Fidel, Although, I always have been totally opposed to your thoughts, as they are just a repeat and repeat and repeat, of the same BS , radicals have been bombarding us with for FORTY YEARS, almost word for word, letter for letter, I somehow had some respect for you, for you in a articulate way had your say. BUT SINCE YESTERDAY, YOU CONVINCED ME YOU ARE NOTHING THAN A RACIST CHICK BLOATED WILL ALL DUMB "IMPORTANT' WORDS, WHOSE ONLY MESSAGE IS "HATRED" Like any racist, you are an enemy of AFRICA !!!!

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 17:40

      @Fred Your leaders claim the moral high ground over the "terrorists"! Must I put a disclaimer every time I comment on Nato atrocities about Al Qaeda, Iran or Syria? A binary world view once again.

      Fred - 2012-03-19 15:23

      Yes they do, and rightly so. But of course you're upside down on this too.

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