The Address | Benghazi – Libya
OSLO – A representative in the Storting, Norway’s parliament, has called for the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, to testify in a hearing by the Foreign and Defense Committee of the Storting on Norway’s participation in the military intervention in Libya in 2011.
Bjørnar Moxnes, a representative for the Red Party, said that Stoltenberg, who was Norway’s Prime Minister at the time, must testify in the hearing because he is the only one who can give an answer to what happened when Norway decided to bomb Libya.
“It is absolutely crucial to get Jens Stoltenberg to the Storting to get the facts on the table about what the Norwegian government knew when they went to war against Libya. It was Stoltenberg who was the driving force for the war,” Moxnes told Norwegian media.
The hearing is scheduled for February 4th. It comes as part of a wide government review of Norway’s participation in the military intervention in Libya.
Last September, a state commission, led by former Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, concluded in its 260-page report that the government’s decision to intervene in Libya was “ill-informed”.
According to the report, the decision on Norway’s participation was never presented to the Storting, but it was rather taken by the government after SMS contact with the leaders of Stoltenberg’s Labor Party.
Stoltenberg affirmed via his communication adviser, Anne Marte Vestbakke, that his government acted upon the United Nations mandate in the 1970 and 1973 Security Council resolutions.
An uprising took place in Libya in February 2011 against late dictator Muammer Gaddafi. Shortly after, western countries decided to conduct a multi-state NATO-led military intervention, citing concerns over the safety of Libyan civilians.
After imposing a no-fly zone on Libya’s airspace, the coalition began its air campaign on March 19th 2011 which ended seven months later on October 31st 2011.
Norwegian war planes dropped 588 bombs over Libya, according to the country’s Defense Ministry.
On March 2, 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a report concluding that in total 60 civilians were killed and 55 wounded by the NATO air campaign.
On May 14, 2012, Human Rights Watch released its own report regarding the civilian deaths by NATO airstrikes. The organization’s report contradicted the UN report and concluded that 72 civilians, including 24 children and 20 women, were killed by NATO airstrikes on residential homes.