UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stated that Libya’s aerial bombing of civilians and use of heavy weapons on city streets must be investigated as possible crimes against humanity, Reuters reported. Pillay confirmed that “she had received accounts of executions, rapes and disappearances in the north African country.”

French president Nicolas Sarkozy told an emergency EU summit in Brussels that air strikes against Libya may soon be justified, the Guardian reported. “The strikes would be solely of a defensive nature if Mr. Gaddafi makes use of chemical weapons or air strikes against non-violent protesters,” Sarkozy said. The French president qualified his remarks by saying he had many reservations about military intervention in Libya “because Arab revolutions belong to Arabs.” David Cameron, the British prime minister, further commented at the EU summit: “I think it is the moment for Europe to understand we should show real ambition about recognising that what’s happening in north Africa is a democratic awakening and we should be encouraging these countries down a democratic path.”

Charles Taylor’s lawyer, Courtenay Griffiths, made his concluding statements in Taylor’s trial at The Hague for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Griffiths stated that the trial of the once-powerful Liberian leader was “politically motivated’’ to ensure he does not return to power in Liberia and he branded the war crimes case “neocolonialism’’ built on circumstantial evidence, calling on the judges at the trial yesterday to acquit his client on all counts, Boston.com reported. Verdicts in the case are expected later this year.

To celebrate International Woman’s Day on March 8, CNN published an article titled “To empower African women, turn words into action.” The article states that “urgent work is needed to address the ills of gender inequality, marginalization and social injustice currently endured by women in places like the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where violence against women is rife and rape has become a weapon of war.”

Photo: Foreign Policy Magazine