Arming Libya rebels not allowed by UN resolutions, legal experts warn US

Washington questioned over its assertion that UN mandate permits supply of arms to anti-Gaddafi rebels

Libyan rebels/Wkimedia/Phil Ittner image

Robert Booth
Guardian

The US is likely to be in breach of the UN security council’s arms embargo on Libya if it sends weapons to the rebels, experts in international law have warned.

After Hillary Clinton said it would be legal to send arms to support the uprising, lawyers analysing the terms of the UN’s 26 February arms embargo said it would require a change in the terms for it not to breach international law.

“The embargo appears to cover everybody in the conflict which means you can’t supply arms to rebels,” said Philippe Sands QC, professor of international law at University College London.

His view was backed by other experts in international law who said they could not see how the US could legally justify sending arms into Libya under the current resolutions.

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