UNSC envoys split on decision to refer Libya to ICC

UN Security Council discusses sanctions for Tripoli; Portugal, Brazil, India, China oppose immediate referral to International Criminal Court preferring language that leaves door open to bringing Libya to the ICC.

UNSC 311 (photo credit: AP)
UNSC 311
(photo credit: AP)
UN Security Council diplomats clashed on Saturday over a proposal to refer the violent crackdown on anti-government protests in Libya to the International Criminal Court, Reuters reported.
Countries appeared split over whether to refer the issue to the rarely-used war crimes court even though there was wide-spread support for a draft resolution of sanctions to punish Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Diplomats said Portugal and Brazil, as well as India and China, were actively opposing an immediate referral and preferred language that just leaves the door open to bringing Libya to the ICC, according to the Reuters report.
The sanctions under consideration at Saturday's session included an arms embargo against the Libyan government and a travel ban and asset freeze against Gaddafi, his relatives and key regime members.
Earlier on Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the United Nations not to impose any sanctions, warning that the Libyan people would suffer most, not Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East
Erdogan also suggested the international community might be acting more out of concern about Libya's oil reserves than about the welfare of the country's people.
"The people are already struggling to find food, how will you feed the Libyan people?" Erdogan asked. "Sanctions, an intervention, would force the Libyan people, who are already up against hunger and violence, into a more desperate situation."
"We call on the international community to act with conscience, justice, laws and universal humane values — not out of oil concerns," he said.
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron talked on the phone Saturday and agreed the UN Security Council should approve harsh sanctions against the Libyan regime as soon as possible, Merkel's spokesman, Christoph Steegmans said in a statement.
Merkel and Cameron also were in favor of sanctions against Libya by the European Union, he said.