Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Escaping recognition

Rather lost in this month's shuffle (at least to this 'Grrl) was an interesting article that Jenna Greene, Senior Reporter at the National Law Journal, published on June 7.
Entitled "Legal Experts Debate Whether Libyan Rebel Group Constitutes a Government," the article described what appears to have been a free-wheeling discussion at a D.C. meeting of the Advisory Committee on International Law of the U.S. Department of State.
Up for discussion: the meaning and consequences of U.S. recognition of the group now putting itself forward as a Libyan government. The Benghazi-based rebel group whose flag is at top left (credit) is known variously as the Transitional National Council, the National Transitional Council, or the Interim National Council. Whatever its name, the group is, as we've chronicled in posts available here, now receiving military assistance from a NATO coalition. The multinationals' aim, as phrased by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, is to prevent harm to civilians; however (posts here and here), numerous heads of coalition governments have declared that this depends on the ouster of Libyan President Muammar el-Qaddafi. (In related news, yesterday a Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants against Qaddafi, his son, and another Libyan official.)
So why consider recognition before the latter goal is attained?
Money seemed a big reason.
According to Greene's report, recognition might give the rebels

access to $33 billion in frozen Libyan assets and would bolster its international standing.

Nonetheless, Greene wrote, meeting participants were divided on the utility, advisability, and feasibility of the idea. You can read the reported comments of what Greene called a "veritable who's who" of intlaw experts here. And an ASIL Insight on the issue is here.

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