Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 20:56 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 20:56 | SYDNEY

The war in Libya is clearly authorised

5 August 2011 13:00

Tim Dunne is Director of Research, Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the University of Queensland.

In his response to my post, Andrew Farran makes several claims that are at odds with conventional understandings of humanitarian war.

First, the argument that the military action 'became an intervention in a civil war', from which he draws the inference that such an outcome has done more harm than good. Security Council Resolution 1973 clearly states that the purpose of any military action was 'the protection of civilians and populated areas'. In the early stages, the robust enforcement of a no-fly zone did provide people in eastern Libya with some protection from Libyan state terror; the fact that a consequence of this action is a military uprising against Qadhafi does not negate the rationale for Resolution 1973; moreover, it is far too early to rule out the possibility that the Libya might be liberated, as Tunisia has been.
Andrew's point 'that there is no UN Charter basis for such an intervention' is mistaken. There are only two exceptions in the UN Charter to the general prohibition on the use of force in the post-1945 world: self-defense and action that has been authorised by the Security Council. Resolution 1973 is crystal clear in relation to the purpose of the action, and the legal basis of the use of 'all necessary measures' to implement it.

Photo by Flickr user Foreign and Commonwealth Office.