Your entire case of the

Your entire case of the legality and the legitimacy of the Lybian war rests on the alleged danger for civilians.

There have been reports of many civilian deaths. Fortunately, there is reason to believe that many have been averted (Eric)

Not enough, Eric. We are not talking about the brutal suppression of opposition here, or about deaths that in other context are “collateral damage”.

Peoples have the right to sort out their internal conflicts internally. This right is the only guarantee for the equality and autonomy of nations. It is absolutely vital to defend this right. The alternative is giving in to domination, imperialism, colonialism. There is no third option.

There is a limit to the right to sovereignty. Nobody is claiming to defend themselves from a Libyan attack on their country. That leaves the protection of civilians against genocide or crimes against humanity.

Do you know what that is?

Yes, of course. It is something to mention in order to end all discourse. Very popular among the people who believe in ascribing attributes and properties to nations and every single national of these nations. This behaviour serves a double purpose: it is used to justify domination, and at the same time it blurs the memory of what crimes against humanity are, which is very convenient for everybody who advocates to commit them.

Jay’s definition is inaccurate, though. Here is a better one, which additionally has the advantage of being the law.

Article 7: Crimes against humanity

1.         For the purpose of this Statute, "crime against humanity" means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

            (a)     Murder;  

            (b)     Extermination;  

            (c)     Enslavement;

            (d)     Deportation or forcible transfer of population;

            (e)     Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;  

            (f)     Torture;  

            (g)     Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;  

            (h)     Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;

            (i)     Enforced disappearance of persons;  

            (j)     The crime of apartheid;  

            (k)     Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.  

2.         For the purpose of paragraph 1:  

            (a)     "Attack directed against any civilian population" means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in paragraph 1 against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack;

            (b)     "Extermination" includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population;  

            (c)     "Enslavement" means the exercise of any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership over a person and includes the exercise of such power in the course of trafficking in persons, in particular women and children;

            (d)     "Deportation or forcible transfer of population" means forced displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion or other coercive acts from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted under international law;

            (e)     "Torture" means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused; except that torture shall not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions;

            (f)     "Forced pregnancy" means the unlawful confinement of a woman forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population or carrying out other grave violations of international law. This definition shall not in any way be interpreted as affecting national laws relating to pregnancy;  

            (g)     "Persecution" means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity;  

            (h)     "The crime of apartheid" means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime;  

            (i)     "Enforced disappearance of persons" means the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.  

3.         For the purpose of this Statute, it is understood that the term "gender" refers to the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society. The term "gender" does not indicate any meaning different from the above


Read that. Note: a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.


A military attack on Libya is justified if it is the only means (!) to end or prevent this crime. (Since no-one claims other justifications for war)

There is no evidence that Gaddafi commits a crime against Humanity.

Brendan is eloquently advocating the mother of all war crimes, the crime against peace: a war of aggression. And BigC is torn, but inclined to agree with him. You shock me. You really do. (To the others here: you don’t. Your support of wars of aggression isn’t new. You can carry on debating which countries you want to do it) But Brendan and BigC: make sure that you know what you are doing.


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