Una Moore at U.N. Dispatch warns of reprisal killings:
U.N. Security Resolution 1973 authorizes members states to take “all measures necessary to protect civilians” in Libya. Right now, the rebel forces are battling to survive in the face on the Libyan military’s onslaught, but what will be the fate of non-revolutionary civilians and prisoners of war if foreign intervention not only halts the advance of Gaddafi’s forces but also allows the rebels to retake ground? In answering this question, the international community needs to break from the bloody mistakes of past interventions.
Reprisal killings and displacement usually follow victory by one side in a civil war over its opponents, with the victorious force or its supporters attacking civilians viewed, whether correctly of not, as the favored constituency of the ousted or soon-to-be-ousted regime. Neither the United States nor its usual allies have shown much willingness to stop these crimes during successive interventions (think: Serbs and Roma in Kosovo, Pashtuns in northern Afghanistan, and Baghdad resident of all sects).
This time should be different. The intervening parties in Libya should make it clear to the rebels that no amount of revenge violence against civilian supporters of the Gaddafi regime, or loyalist tribes, or foreign migrant workers or any other group will be tolerated.