February 26, 2011: Former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Ajleil has allegedly formed an interim government in the city of Benghazi. The media quoted Ajleil as stating he held Qaddafi alone responsible “for the crimes that have occurred” in Libya. The dictator’s tribe, Qaddadfa, he reportedly stated, was forgiven.
The former Justice Minster of Libya was working to establish a temporary government in Benghazi, an area of the county states is no longer under Muammar Qaddafi’s control. The minister quit his post last week, stating that he could no longer tolerate the violence against citizens. He stated that Qaddafi alone would be considered responsible for the war crimes being committed.
In a conversation Saturday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Barack H. Obama called on Muammar Qaddafi to immediately leave his position as leader of Libya. In a statement discussing the call, a White House spokesperson stated that Obama stated that when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton echoed Obama’s demand, stating that “Qaddafi has lost the confidence of his people and he should go without further bloodshed and violence.”
The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva called for an investigation into possible crimes against humanity in Libya. The recommendation would have charged Qaddafi with war crimes for the deaths of over 1,000 of his countrymen in protests last week. In addition, the world body also recommended that Libya’s UNHRC membership be suspended. UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon urged a quick vote on imposing the sanctions, telling members that Libyans would continue to die in the meantime.
The UN Security Council on Saturday night delayed voting on a proposal to impose sanctions on Libya. The sanctions were held up over the opposition of Brazil, India and Portugal to trying Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi for crimes against humanity. They recommended milder language that would allow the situation to be referred to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, but not require such a move. Diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity told reporters that Portugal was concerned about the safety of its citizens still in Libya.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appealed to the membership earlier in the day to avoid imposing sanctions, saying it would do no good. Erdogan accused the international body of being concerned primarily with Libya’s oil supply, rather than its people.“The people are already struggling to find food, how will you feed the Libyan people? Sanctions, an intervention, would force the Libyan people, who are already up against hunger and violence, into a more desperate situation,” Erdogan warned. “We call on the international community to act with conscience, justice, laws and universal humane values, not out of oil concerns.”
The United States, meanwhile, approved sanctions against Qaddafi and his family on Friday. President Barack Obama signed an executive order freezing the U.S.-based assets of the Libyan leader and four of his children. In addition, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated his country was in the process of enacting sanctions against Qaddafi’s regime.
The European Union is considering a similar move. Christoph Steegmans, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, stated that Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron both agreed in a phone conversation on Saturday to support sanctions by the EU against Libya. The aforementioned expressed their firm support for sanctions against the Libyan dictator by the U.N. Security Council.