Former UN rights leader says civilian deaths must be accounted for in Libya

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VANCOUVER - While more civilians are becoming casualties of war around the world, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says commanders are more resistant to accounting for those deaths.

Louise Arbour told members of Vancouver's Board of Trade that there's still no civilian casualty count for the NATO-led air strikes during the Libyan conflict.

Canadian fighter jets took part in the UN-sanctioned operation that targeted Muammar Gaddafi's tanks and artillery.

Arbour says she's not suggesting there was a coverup, but adds there must be a full accounting so no one believes the military went in with their "smart bombs" and conducted a bloodless operation.

Arbour, who's now the president of International Crisis Group which is committed to resolving conflict around the world, says the political move to avoid soldiers' deaths has meant more civilians are killed with the use of drones and other new technology.

During the war on terror, she says some countries have challenged the basic requirement to protect civilians, pushing the boundaries of "collateral damage" as the death toll mounts for civilian.

Organizations: UN, Human Rights, Board of Trade NATO International Crisis Group

Geographic location: Libya, VANCOUVER

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