Back in 2005, Newt Gingrich authored a Congressionally-mandated study of UN reform with the Obama administration’s current Middle East envoy, George Mitchell. Among their many recommendations, Gingrich and Mitchell said the U.S. and U.N. should support countries intervening to stop war crimes in other countries even without the approval of the Security Council:
Our task force called on the U.S. government and the UN to ”affirm that every sovereign government has a ‘responsibility to protect’ its citizens and those within its jurisdiction from genocide, mass killing, and massive and sustained human rights violations.” World leaders endorsed this general principle, which is a very significant step in light of past international resistance to any provision that would seem to endorse interference in a state’s ”sovereign internal affairs.”
Gingrich and Mitchell further argued that such intervention should come even if the violence didn’t rise to the level of genocide:
It is critical that this principle be understood broadly to encompass mass killings and massive and sustained human rights violations, whether or not they meet technical legal standards for genocide. The outcome document’s conclusion is also consistent with the task force’s view that in certain circumstances, a government’s abnegation of its responsibilities to protect its own people is so severe that the failure of the Security Council to act must not be used as an excuse for the world to stand by as atrocities continue.
Today in Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We have seen Colonel Qadhafi’s security forces open fire on peaceful protestors again and again. They have used heavy weapons on unarmed civilians. Mercenaries and thugs have been turned loose to attack demonstrators. There are reports of soldiers executed for refusing to turn their guns on their fellow citizens, of indiscriminate killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture.”
So does Newt support intervention in Libya? I’ve asked and will post the response if and when I get it.