There is strong evidence that NATO carried out war crimes in its eight-month war for regime-change in Libya,
according to a report released Thursday by Middle East human rights groups.
The United Nations resolution authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect civilians was utilized as the justification
for military actions against civilian targets in which many Libyans were killed and wounded,
according to the groups’ investigation.
While the investigation concluded that the government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi used excessive force against protesters,
the report also states:
“There does not appear to have been a clear demarcation between peaceful protests and armed opposition,
and the Mission received credible information indicating that protestors took up arms in the early stages of the revolution.”
In terms of NATO’s role, the report cites evidence that in addition to NATO air strikes,
the US-led alliance deployed troops on the ground,
which coordinated the offensive of the so-called “rebels” with the bombing campaign.
“NATO participated in what could be classified as offensive actions undertaken by the opposition forces,
including, for example, attacks on towns and cities held by Gaddafi forces,” the report states.
“Equally, the choice of certain targets, such as a regional food warehouse,
raises prima facie questions regarding the role of such attacks with respect to the protection of civilians.”
Among civilian sites visited by the mission that had been struck by NATO bombs and missiles were schools and colleges,
a Zliten regional food warehouse, the Office of the Administrative Controller in Tripoli,
and private homes.
The mission found its strongest evidence of war crimes in the coastal city of Sirte,
a center of support for Gaddafi,
which was the last major area to fall to the NATO-backed forces.