Expected Council Action
In June, the Security Council is expected to be briefed by Tarek Mitri, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), followed by consultations. The Council will also likely receive the periodic briefing by the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Eugéne-Richard Gasana (Rwanda), and hold consultations on the Libya sanctions. No Council action is planned at this stage.
The mandate of UNSMIL and the Panel of Experts (PoE) assisting the 1970 Sanctions Committee expire on 16 March 2014 and 14 April 2014, respectively.
Key Recent Developments
In late April, supporters of the draft “political isolation law” carried out an aggressive campaign to put pressure on the General National Congress (GNC) to approve the law. The law, which was adopted on 5 May, precludes officials of the former Muammar Qaddafi regime from holding leadership positions in the government, the parliament and other institutions (including the judiciary and the media). At press time it was unclear how the adoption of the law will affect the current government, of which some of members had positions of responsibility under the former regime. A commission will be established to investigate and rule on any candidate applying for a position and review the background of those already holding official positions.
In anticipation of upcoming proceedings to decide the suitability of office holders, the defence and interior ministers, Mohammed al-Barghathi and Ashour Shuwail, submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, though only the latter was accepted. GNC President Mohammed Magariaf, who along with Zeidan was a diplomat during the Qaddafi regime until his defection in the 1980s, resigned on 28 May in a televised speech to the GNC.
The security situation remains volatile and terrorist groups remain capable of carrying out attacks in Libya, such as one that struck the French embassy on 23 April. After the bombing of four police stations in early May, a deadly attack near Al-Jala’a Hospital in Benghazi killed at least 12 people on 13 May. The Security Council issued a press statement condemning the 13 May attack in the strongest terms (SC/11008).
After the decision in February that the members of the new Constituent Assembly would be chosen by elections, a GNC committee has been working on the elections law to govern this process and is expected to submit a draft to the GNC in the coming weeks. The Assembly will have 60 members, with 20 members representing each of Libya’s three historical regions, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan. Assembly elections are expected to be held along with municipal elections in the coming months.
As highlighted by Mitri during his 14 March Council briefing, respect for the rule of law continues to be a challenge in Libya. Although some measures have been taken to tackle this issue, mistreatment and detention without due process of several thousand people in militia-controlled facilities continues to be a problem.
On 7 May, the Council held an interactive dialogue with the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda. The dialogue tackled the situation in Libya as well as more general issues regarding the cooperation between the ICC and the Council. The following day Bensouda briefed the Council (S/PV.6962). She asserted that “by conducting fair, just and transparent judicial proceedings for all alleged perpetrators, while also continuing to respect the ICC judicial process, Libya can set a lasting example for other states”. However, she also noted how, “given the extensive crimes committed in Libya and the challenges facing the new Libyan government, the ICC’s mandate is still essential to ending impunity in Libya”.
Besides the cases against Saif al-Islam Qaddafi and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, the ICC is also investigating gender crimes allegedly committed by pro-Qaddafi officials currently outside Libya. (Libya has challenged the admissibility of the cases against Qaddafi and al-Senussi, claiming that they were already under investigation in Libya. An ICC Pre-Trial Chamber is expected to rule regarding the challenges in the coming weeks.) Also, the Prosecutor is investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Tawergha by Misrata militias, as well as the alleged persecution of specific ethnic groups on the basis of their perceived political affiliations.
On 14 March, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2095, extending UNSMIL’s mandate by 12 months and the mandate of the PoE for 13 months. Four experts of the PoE were re-appointed by the Secretary-General on 3 April and a new one was appointed on 30 April.
The sanctions regime was modified by removing the requirement that the Sanctions Committee approve the use of non-lethal military equipment and assistance for humanitarian or protective use. It also removed the need to notify the Committee about non-lethal military equipment being supplied to the government for security or disarmament assistance. The resolution also urged the government to improve the monitoring of arms supplied to Libya, including through the issuance of end-user certificates. Gasana is likely to brief the Council on a meeting the Committee held after the PoE returned from a field visit to Mali and Libya. Gasana is also expected to brief about the implementation of the recommendations included in the final report of the PoE.
Human Rights-Related Developments
The Human Rights Council’s Working Groups on enforced or involuntary disappearances and on the use of mercenaries were due to visit Libya from 8-17 May and from 20-25 May, respectively. Both visits were postponed for security reasons. The new dates of the visits have not yet been announced. This is the second time the visit from the UN working group on the use of mercenaries is postponed. The visit had been first scheduled for 21-25 May 2012.
An overarching issue is the fragile security situation and the impact of regional instability on Libya due to the deficient control of its porous borders. According to the final report of the PoE, most former revolutionary brigades remain in control of the weapons they used during the revolution.
A pressing issue for the Council is the impact on the stability of Libya of the recently adopted political isolation law, especially taking into account its effects on current key political figures (such as the prime minister and some ministers, as well as GNC members, including its president). A related issue also potentially impacting Libya’s stability is how the upcoming elections to choose the 60-member Constituent Assembly will be affected by the actions of the committee in charge of deciding who can hold public office under the new law.
An important issue for the Council is the conflicting views of Libya and the ICC regarding the trial of the two ICC indictees, as well as other investigations currently in place, and the role, if any, of UNSMIL in these processes.
Options for the Council include:
- receiving a briefing and taking no action;
- issuing a statement emphasising the need for the GNC, the government and the forthcoming Constituent Assembly to work together for national reconciliation, justice, respect for human rights and the rule of law;
- issuing a statement that would aim at enhancing sanctions’ effectiveness by encouraging Libya to assign a focal point structure through which all security assistance procurement would be channeled, as recommended in the final PoE report; and
- asking member states to submit designation proposals to the Sanctions Committee relating to those who are assisting listed individuals designated under the asset freeze measures, as recommended in the final PoE report.
The current deterioration of the security situation, the fragility of the political transition and the weakness of the government might be highlighted by some Council members to question the way in which resolutions 1970 and 1973 were implemented. By contrast, some Council members are more likely to showcase the positive developments that have taken place since the end of the revolution.
Arms proliferation in Libya and its consequences in the region have been a source of contention among Council members since the fall of the Qaddafi regime.
In Bensouda’s latest briefing to the Council, most members showed respect for the ICC proceedings currently underway to resolve the admissibility challenges and decide where Qaddafi and al-Senussi will be tried. However, some Council members also argued that there was the need for alleged crimes committed by the rebels and NATO to be investigated as well.
The UK is the penholder on Libya.
UN DOCUMENTS ON LIBYA
|Security Council Resolutions|
|14 March 2013 S/RES/2095||This resolution extended UNSMIL’s mandate by 12 months and the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee for 13 months.|
|17 March 2011 S/RES/1973||This resolution was adopted with ten votes and five abstentions and authorised all necessary measures—excluding an occupation force—to protect civilians in Libya and enforce the arms embargo, imposed a no-fly zone, strengthened the sanctions regime, and established a panel of experts.|
|26 February 2011 S/RES/1970||This resolution referred the situation in Libya to the ICC, imposed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions (assets freeze and travel ban), and establised a sanctions commitee .|
|21 February 2013 S/2013/104||This was the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNSMIL.|
|Security Council Letters|
|30 April 2013 S/2013/256||This was a letter appointing a new expert to serve on the Panel of Experts.|
|2 April 2013 S/2013/212||This was a letter re-appointing four out of five experts to serve on the Panel of Experts.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|8 May 2013 S/PV.6962||This was the fifth briefing by the ICC Prosecutor on the situation in Libya.|
|14 March 2013 S/PV.6934||At this meeting the Council adopted resolution 2095.|
|Security Council Press Statements|
|13 May 2013 SC/11008||This press statement condemned the deadly attack that occurred in Benghazi, Libya.|
|23 April 2013 SC/10984||This press statement condemned the terrorist attack on the embassy of France in Tripoli, Libya.|
|Sanctions Committee Documents|
|15 February 2013 S/2013/99||This was the final report of the Panel of Experts to the Libya 1970 Sanctions Committee pursuant to resolution 2040, published on 9 March.|
OTHER RELEVANT FACTS
Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNSMIL
Tarek Mitri (Lebanon)
UNSMIL Size and Composition
Strength as of 31 March 2013: 140 international civilians; 61 local civilians; one police officer.
16 September 2011 to present