We were incredibly fortunate to have Esther Stanford-Xosei feature on our Britain On Trial programme and the Verdict she delivered to bring together all the issues of the day was a powerful, fitting and marvellous close to the event. Audio up on the blog soon…
As ever, Esther continues her amazing campaigning and activism for global justice and her show tonight picks up the Britain on Trial theme concentrating on Britain’s war crimes in Libya.
You can listen to her show Afrika Speaks on Voice of Africa radio tonight and every Wednesday from 8pm-10pm.
Full details below:
WHO WILL HOLD BRITAIN, NATO & THE UN TO ACCOUNT FOR THEIR WAR CRIMES IN LIBYA?
The barbaric summary lynching of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on October 20, 2011 and the circumstances leading up to it raises some serious questions about who should be held to account for the war crimes and other violations of international law committed by the Western-backed National Transitional Council (NTC) rebels and NATO forces.
The indictments which can be issued against the governments of France, the US, the UK as well are for:
1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace
2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
3. War crimes
4. Crimes against humanity
In addition, these Western powers have also breached key articles of the Third Geneva Convention in 1929, which offers rights to prisoners of war (POWs), by failing to defend the rights of Gaddafi to be protected as a prisoner of war. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on October 21, 2011: “in compliance with international law, the moment that a party to an armed conflict is captured, special procedures should be applied to him or her, including assistance, as well as a ban on killing such a person.” But this right was violated, when Gaddafi was captured alive (as POW) and was then repetitively verbally, physically and sexually abused before being shot dead shortly after. Similarly, Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, stated on October 21 2001 that “the manner of the deposed Libyan leader’s killing could be a war crime.”
In scenes reminiscent of the debacle following the war on Iraq, Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in March 2003, “Aggression is a crime under customary international law which automatically forms part of domestic law,” and therefore, “international aggression is a crime recognised by the common law which can be prosecuted in the U.K. courts.” The Nuremburg Tribunal established that the planning and launching of a war of aggression is the primary and seminal war crime, from which other crimes against humanity inexorably arise. A war of aggression is a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defence. The governments of the United States, France, Britain and Canada waged such a war of aggression against Libya.
These criminal acts by Western-supported NTC rebels are not just restricted to the case of Gaddafi’s murder, the murder of his son Mutassim Gaddafi, and others in the group, they also extend to crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against Africans in Libya. In September of this year, US based Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., reacting to reports in the Wall Street Journal called for an investigation by the International Criminal Court into the reported killings of indigenous African Libyans in the city of Tawergha when rebels from Misurata torched the homes that belonged to the predominantly dark-skinned residents of the city of Tawergha, resulting in the depopulation of the town’s entire population of 10,000. This was not an isolated incident as there have been numerous instances of Africans in Libya systematically being killed, assaulted and sexually abused by those who are organising under the banner of the Western backed NTC. Reports and photographic evidence indicate that numerous atrocities including mass executions have taken place over the past months as well as the herding of Africans into horrific internment camps, and looting of businesses owned by indigenous African Libyans.
Unfortunately, because of the Western dominance in international legal bodies, any prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Western forces and their allies is very unlikely unless Africans and their allies of good conscience around the world enforce alternative legal and extra-legal actions. In an earlier Africa Speaks with Sister Ekua show in March 2011, we stated that the geopolitical and economic implications of the US-UK-FRANCE- NATO led military intervention directed against Libya are far-reaching. For what is at stake in what has mistakenly called the Arab spring has been an attempt at the African destruction by redrawing of the map of Africa, a process of neo-colonial re-division and the re-conquest of Africa by the United States in alliance with Britain, in a US-NATO led operation.
This show will therefore explore the question of how best to hold those responsible for war crimes and other crimes against the peoples of Libya, (including indigenous Africans who have been victims of these crimes), to account.
DAVID A. COMISSIONG (tbc) is an Attorney and President of the Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) based in Barbados.
KEVIN COBHAM is a Lawyer and Socio-Political Commentator.
NIA NOEL is a UK based Pan African Activist and was a delegate at the Libya Conference of African Migrants in Europe which took place on 15 January 2011.
KOFI MAWULI KLU is the Co-Vice Chair of PARCOE, the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe.
Since this is a dialogue in the Global Village programme, we are keen to hear your views on any of the following:
1. Who is responsible for the criminal act of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s execution?
2. Why Is the International Criminal Court not pursing investigations into the targeting, ethnic cleansing and killing of Africans in Libya?
3. Who are the rightful heirs of Libya’s resources?
4. Why has the British public been slower to condemn Gaddafi’s killing than they were Osama Bin Laden’s? Is it because Libyans are perceived to have killed Gaddafi? Or is it because of David Cameron’s assertion that Gaddafi is guilty of murder in the UK?
5. Are the Western media institutions complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity?
6. Where next on the African continent for NATO?
7. Do we need a Peoples Tribunal into the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Libyans and other African nationals?
8. What does Islamic law say about how prisoners of war should be treated?
9. Why the near silence and inaction from the African Union?
10. How do you feel about having these crimes committed in your name?
Also featuring: Newham Spotlight
Twenty-three employees of non-police agencies have been granted ‘limited but targeted police powers’ in a bid to tackle crime in Newham.
The ‘Enforcement Officers’ as they are called, were given the powers under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) under the Police Reform Act 2002. According to the Act, the role involves “contributing to community safety and security; and in co-operation with the police force for the area, combating crime and disorder, public nuisance and other forms of anti-social behaviour.”
The Community Safety Accreditation Scheme grants the officers powers such as the confiscation of alcohol and tobacco and, according to Wharf.co.uk: “They are also able to request an individual’s name and address for a Fixed Penalty Notice and offences that cause injury, alarm and distress to another person or damage or loss of another’s property, as well as request the name and address of any person acting in an anti-social manner.”
An accredited person will wear the uniform of their employing organisation and a Home Office approved national accreditation badge. They will also carry and ID card which will confirm exactly what they are legally able to do.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Letchford said: “”By getting more people out on the streets dealing with the things that really matter to the people of Newham we will continue to cut crime and keep the criminals on the back foot, making Newham a hostile place for those who come here to commit crime.”
Concerns have been raised about the scheme however. A spokesperson from the campaign group ‘Liberty’ said: “While the police are properly trained to tackle criminal activity and protect the public, environmental and housing officers are not. Of course community safety is crucial, but many people will be rightly surprised that private firms are able to wield sensitive and intrusive police powers. The Government should urgently review this legislation.”
So tonight we ask:
1. Will giving limited police powers to people outside of the police service really help to reduce crime in Newham?
2. Will African and African Caribbean young people and communities be disproportionately targeted with the introduction of ‘Enforcement Officers’?
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