News Release

NATO Above the Law?


Human Rights Watch today released a report “Unacknowledged Deaths: Civilian Casualties in NATO’s Air Campaign in Libya”. NATO will be holding its summit in Chicago beginning May 20.

VIJAY PRASHAD, vijay.prashad at
Author of Arab Spring, Libyan Winter and The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World, Prashad is chair of South Asian history and director of international studies at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut.

He said today: “A United Nations report released in early March 2012 asked for an investigation of NATO’s potential war crimes, but was snubbed by the military alliance, whose lawyer, Peter Olsen, wrote in February of this year to the UN Commission that, ‘in the event the Commission elects to include a discussion of NATO actions in Libya, its report clearly states that NATO did not deliberately target civilians and did not commit war crimes in Libya.’ In other words, it is impossible for NATO to commit war crimes. NATO, unlike the Libyans, is too civilized to be guilty of any such violations. It is, therefore, above investigation. The scandal here is that NATO, a military alliance, refuses any civilian oversight of its actions. It operated under a UN mandate (Security Council Resolution 1973) and yet refuses to allow a UN evaluation of its actions. NATO, in other words, operates as a rogue military entity, outside the bounds of the prejudices of democratic society. It is precisely because NATO refuses an evaluation that the UN Security Council will not allow another NATO-like military intervention. The new HRW report reinforces what was raised in the UN report from March. It simply underlines the necessity of a formal and independent evaluation of NATO’s actions in Libya.”

On May 18, Prashad will be speaking at the the NATO Counter-Summit

See Prashad’s pieces:

“NATO’S Craven Coverup of Its Libyan Bombing”

“Straining NATO on Short Syrian Leash”