Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 21:24 | SYDNEY
Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 21:24 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Libya and R2P

8 August 2011 12:14

Andrew Farran writes:

Perhaps Tim Dunne's comment was inadvertently headed 'The war in Libya is clearly authorised' because what the UN Security Council clearly did not do was authorise a 'war'*. However R2P may stand as a doctrine, let alone a plank of international law, it remains very tightly circumscribed as an enforcement vehicle. The 'all necessary measures' in UNSC 1973 did not include war. It did not even include the means to make it effective, with the consequence that it has had the effect of making a bad situation worse. Now the EU/NATO support forces can't define the group on whose side it is engaged and whether or not they may even include Al-Qaeda elements.

Additionally, if the purpose for which the Security Council authorised the use of force has strayed, as is clearly the case given that regime change was not that purpose, then it is legitimate to question whether the rationale for Resolution 1973 has indeed been negated. I for one would not for a moment oppose the progressive development of international humanitarian law but it is wrong to claim for it a course of action that was, as in this case, so defective and deficient at the outset.

By way of contrast, it might be noted that the Security Council recently held that the only solution to the uprising in Syria, not unlike that initially in Libya, was through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the people. The different approaches to the Libyan and Syrian situations is pure politics, not law. Either way it is people that suffer.

* Ed. note: Yes, that headline was written by the editors, not by Tim.