Nato may do ‘in-house legal review’ of Libya strikes

2011-11-11 12:34

Brussels – Nato may perform an internal legal review of some of its operations in Libya to assist any outside investigation into civilian casualties, diplomats accredited to the organisation say.

The review would likely include all incidents in which Nato airstrikes caused civilian casualties, the diplomats said.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss internal Nato matters.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, said this month that any allegations of crimes committed by Nato in Libya would be examined “impartially and independently”.

Moreno-Ocampo’s statement does not necessarily mean he will open a formal investigation. Following findings of a UN Commission of Inquiry in Libya, due in March, he could decide there is no need for further investigation or ask judges for authorisation to open a formal probe.

“We are not talking about any specific incident. We are saying, ‘Yes, if there are allegations of crimes we will review that,’” Moreno-Ocampo told The Associated Press.

Nato officials say they are confident the alliance’s actions complied with international law.

“In the event we receive a request for information, Nato is prepared to assist in any way it can,” said an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to Nato regulations.

Following a UN resolution authorising the protection of civilians, Nato led a campaign of airstrikes against the regime of then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from March through October.

Nato leaders have hailed the precision with which the mission was carried out, citing the small number of civilian deaths caused by the bombing as evidence of its success.

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