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International Community Weighs Options As Violence Mounts In Lybia

Publication Date: 
February 24, 2011
The Huffington Post
Julia Steers

Lecturer Joe "Chip" Pitts III is quoted by The Huffington Post in the following article on the violence, political unrest, and rule of law in Lybia:

International outrage grew on Wednesday as reports of growing violence in Libya continued to proliferate, marking a growing crackdown by head of state Moammar Ghadafi.

The international community, including the United Nations Security Council, has begun publicly weighing potential intervention strategies. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on European nations to suspend economic ties with Libya and pursue sanctions. Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said that estimates of more than 1,000 Libyans killed at the hands of security forces and government supporters "appear to be true."


But experts say a no-fly zone could do more harm than good. "There could be serious unintended consequences," Chip Pitts, a lecturer in human rights law at Stanford Law School, said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "Any foreign intervention will play into Gadhafi's hands because of the history of colonialism there."


Besides sanctions and enhanced diplomatic pressure, international options include the seizure of the assets held by Libyan regime leaders abroad. But Pitts said it is unlikely these measures will have an immediate impact on the ground in Libya.

"At this point, Gadhafi is beyond reason, so those measures may not be worth pursuing with the expectation that they will save the lives immediately at risk," he said.


Pitts, the human-rights law lecturer, wasn't optimistic. "Conservative estimates show a level of brutality that is unparalleled in the region," he said. "I have a high level of confidence that the situation in Libya is a catastrophe in the making."