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A legal view on NATO's campaing in Libya
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Strategiavdelningen med folkrättscentrum.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1584-8832
Netherlands Defence Academy.
2013 (English)In: The NATO Intervention in Libya: Lessons learned from the campaign / [ed] Kjell Engelbrekt, Marcus Mohlin and Charlotte Wagnsson, Abingdon: Routledge, 2013, 1, 63-99 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

During the winter and spring of 2011 the so-called Arab Spring reached Libya. An uprising among the population spread over the country and groups soon organized themselves and took up arms. The government – controlled for 42 years by Colonel Gaddafi – responded brutally with force. The issue was brought to the attention in the UN Security Council which at the end of February agreed upon resolution 1970. As the situation deteriorated and in effect becoming a non-international armed conflict the UN Security Council passed another resolution, numbered 1973. This resolution imposed a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace and allowed for “all necessary measures” to protect civilians. It also renewed or supplemented some aspects from resolution 1970 for instance enforcement of the arms embargo.

Following an initial intervention through military strikes by a “Coalition of the willing”, NATO at the end of March assumed responsibility for the operations. The campaign came to last for seven months, to the end of October 2011. Given the short notice many challenges arose. One of them, naturally intertwined with operational aspects, was the legal framework that would apply. A legal branch was set up within the Combined Joint Task Force HQ, alongside with the ordinary legal support in the NATO chain-of-command, to support the Commander of Operation Unified Protector. As with the rest of the CJTF the bulk of this branch originated from the Joint Forces Command (JFC) in Naples, Italy.

With the expressed purpose of protecting civilians, NATO had to take particular precaution neither to exceed its mandate nor to cause (excessive) collateral damage upon striking of its targets. Even if the latter follows the principles of International Humanitarian there is a question whether the standards become stricter when a campaign is based on such a mandate. These and many other challenges, including the implementation of the arms embargo at sea, were brought to the attention of the legal branch.

Doctoral candidates Fredrik A. Holst (Sweden) and Martin D. Fink (Netherlands) both served as legal advisers in the CJTF legal branch during the first months of OUP. They have now contributed with a chapter in the cross-topic Routledge Volume “The NATO Intervention in Libya – Lessons learned from the campaign” edited by Kjell Engelbrekt, Marcus Mohlin and Charlotte Wagnsson from the Swedish National Defence College.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon: Routledge, 2013, 1. 63-99 p.
Keyword [en]
Legal aspects of NATO-OUP
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Juridik med inriktning mot folkrätt
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-4470ISBN: 978-0-415-70549-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-4470DiVA: diva2:692559
Available from: 2014-01-31 Created: 2014-01-31 Last updated: 2015-12-17Bibliographically approved

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