India deplores use of force against protesters in Libya

United Nations: India on Sunday joined other UNSC members in imposing sanctions against the Libyan regime and deplored the "unacceptable" use of force in the country, though it said it favoured a more calibrated approach on referring the matter to a war crimes tribunal.

The resolution to slap sanctions against the Gaddafi regime was passed unanimously by the UNSC after diplomats spent an entire day yesterday working on the draft prepared by France, UK, Germany and the US.

"We deplore the use of force, which is totally unacceptable," Hardeep Singh Puri, India`s ambassador to the UN said at the Council after the resolution was approved.

"We also have concerns about the safety of Indian nationals and their assets in Libya," he said, asking Libya to ensure the safe departure of foreigners from the country.

The Council also unanimously referred the issue of violence in Libya to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) though India said it would have favoured a more gradual approach.

India, however, relented after the resolution was modified to include that the Security Council could defer ICC action for a period of 12 months and renew that deferral, which is also article 16 of the Rome Statute that established the ICC.

The bone of contention during the discussion was the immediate referral to the ICC since some countries in the Security Council, including India, China, the US and Russia are not members of the tribunal.

"We would have preferred a calibrated and gradual approach," Puri told Council, noting that 114 out of the 192 nations of the UN are not members of the ICC.

The envoy, however, added that India "had gone along with the consensus in the Council" because African and Arab states wanted to refer the matter to the ICC, and this was also what Libyan envoy Mohamed Shalgam had asked for in his letter sent to the Council yesterday.

Today`s vote came as the violence flared up in the North African country, with more than 1,000 pro-democracy protesters losing their lives in the brutal crackdown launched by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi to crush the two-week revolt against his 41-year authoritarian rule.

The sanctions included asset freezes for 68-year-old Gaddafi and his family, travel ban for the Libyan leader and his family as well as other leaders of the regime, a comprehensive arms embargo and an immediate referral to ICC.

The resolution also states that non-Libyan nationals from a country, which is not a party to the Rome Statute, shall only be subject to jurisdiction of that state for any crimes committed in Libya in operations authorised by the Council.