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Conference on "The Libyan conflict and international law."

Date de publication: 12.12.2011

 The speakers were Roland Dumas, former Foreign Minister of France and former president of the Constitutional Council; Professor Hans Köchler of the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and president of the International Progress Organisation in Vienna; Professor Alexander Mezyaev, head of the international law department at the TISBI School of Management in Kazan, Russia; and Professor Reinhard Merkel of the University of Hamburg, Germany.  The conference was chaired by Natalia Narochnistkaya, president of IDC Paris.

Roland Dumas drew on his long experience as a close confidant of the late former French president, François Mitterrand, to speak of his decades of personal experience of the conflict between Libya and the United States.  He had served as an intermediary between Paris and Tripoli and described how Mitterrand had refused to participate in the US attack on Libya in 1986.  He said that the American policy had always been hostile to the regime in Tripoli and that it had merely required a change of power in the Elysée Palace for France's participation in these long-term American aims to be finally secured.

The law professors concentrated principally on the legal and political aspects of the crisis.  Professor Köchler spoke principally about UN Resolution 1973, which had allegedly legitimised the military operation.  He especially criticised carte blanche which had been given NATO by the phrase "all necessary means" in the resolution.  Professor Mezyaev drew attention to the claim, which he strongly contested, that the Security Council has the power to refer situation to the International Criminal Court in countries which are not signatories to the Rome statute.  Professor Merkel discussed conditions under which international military intervention might be justified but said that the human cost of the Libyan operation vastly outweighed the number of lives allegedly saved.

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