May 2011 Monthly Forecast



Expected Council Action
Council members are expecting the ICC prosecutor’s briefing, requested in resolution 1970, in early May. The monthly report by the UN Secretariat requested in resolution 1973 is also expected in late May.

At press time, no new initiatives were anticipated. However, Council members will continue to monitor events on the ground and the implementation of resolutions 1970 and 1973. In addition, the next meeting of the Libya Contact Group is anticipated for early May in Rome.

Key Recent Developments
At press time, rebels held tenuous control over the key city of Misrata. However, the Benghazi authorities did not anticipate the Tripoli regime would end its seven-week siege of the port city.

On 28 April, Council members were briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe on measures taken by member states under resolution 1973 in informal consultations. (This format is different from the briefing on 24 March by the Secretary-General in an open meeting followed by informal consultations.) The situation in Libya was also one of the predominant issues in the Secretary-General’s briefing to the Council on 26 April, also in informal consultations.

On 26 April, NATO announced it was targeting Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s command and control structures in order to weaken the regime’s ability to attack civilians. NATO also said it had received reports that Libyan government troops were not reporting for duty. Media reports indicate the underlying approach is to encourage Qaddafi and his inner circle to go into exile.

Media reports also indicate that the Tripoli regime is urging the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council to hold emergency meetings on Libya.

On 20 April, Italy said it was sending military advisors to Benghazi. This followed earlier announcements on 19 April that France and the UK were also sending military advisors and the US announcement of $25 million in non-lethal aid. On 15 April, American, British and French heads of state said that a Libyan future that included Qaddafi was unthinkable. (To date France, Italy and Qatar have formally recognised the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council as the legitimate Libyan authorities and the number of countries which are de facto working with Benghazi seems to be increasing rapidly. This is significant because many countries have a policy of not making formal recognition statements.)

On 20 April, the EU and Gulf Cooperation Council expressed a common position on Libya noting Qaddafi’s loss of legitimacy, the importance of Libyan territorial integrity and expressing support for the Transitional National Council in Benghazi.

Also on 20 April, Qaddafi’s foreign minister criticised the deployment of military advisors to Benghazi and called for a ceasefire followed by elections within six months. (This seems to be a version of the AU plan which was presented to both Libyan parties on 10 April but was rejected by Benghazi because it did not include the departure of Qaddafi. However, the AU High-Level Ad Hoc Committee met on 25 and 26 April and revisited their proposed political solution for Libya with both parties and indicated a number of possible follow-up steps in the near future.)

On 20 April, OCHA head Valerie Amos announced the establishment of a UN humanitarian presence in Tripoli following her visit there as part of a high-level UN delegation that also included the Special Envoy for Libya, Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib.

On 1 April the EU authorised “EUFOR-Libya”—a military operation to support delivery of humanitarian assistance if requested by the UN. In comments to the press on 20 April, Amos emphasised her confidence that civilian capacity could be utilised to deliver aid and that military support was an option of last resort.

On 18 April, Pascoe briefed the Council on two recent international meetings on the issue of Libya held in Doha and Cairo.

On 14 April, the UN Secretary-General convened a meeting in Cairo of the UN, the Arab League, the AU, the EU and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to coordinate the international response to the crisis in Libya. He said the UN had started post-conflict contingency planning for Libya and that it was essential for the international community to remain engaged. (It seems discussion of a post-conflict role for the UN in Libya was a likely item on the agenda for an informal retreat hosted by the Secretary-General for Security Council members scheduled for 28 and 29 April.)

On 13 April the Libya Contact Group met in Doha and:

The next meeting of the Contact Group is planned for early May in Rome. Media reports indicate that there will be follow-up to the Doha decision that material and financial support should be sought for the opposition. In particular, discussion of a financial mechanism which might allow for financial flows to Benghazi controlled areas and perhaps using frozen Libyan assets as collateral for loans to the Transitional National Council.

At a 14 April summit in Beijing, BRICS leaders said that resolution 1973 was being interpreted arbitrarily. (BRICS nations are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—all Security Council members as well.)

On 5 April ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he would like to interview Moussa Koussa, the former Libyan foreign minister who defected to the UK on 30 March. (Koussa traveled to Qatar on 12 April to attend the Contact Group meeting where, according to media reports, he remains.) On 3 March, Ocampo said that he was investigating alleged crimes against humanity committed by Libya, including by Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and his inner circle. He said the probe will look into several incidents which occurred in various towns and cities across Libya. (Resolution 1970 referred the Libya situation since 15 February to the ICC.)

On 4 April Special Envoy Khatib briefed the Council on his visit to Libya where he met with both Tripoli and opposition officials. He said that information on the humanitarian situation was limited due to lack of access but expressed concern about civilian protection issues like landmines, gender-based violence and human rights violations.

Developments in the Libya Sanctions Committee
The Libya Sanctions Committee received proposals on additional designations by members of the Committee. Forty-five additional individuals and 37 entities were proposed for listing by the US, UK, France and Germany in early April. (Currently, there are 18 individuals designated as subject to the travel ban and 13 individuals and 5 entities designated as subject to the assets freeze.) These proposed new listings are presently on hold. The US cannot agree to any listing it is not sure it can apply domestically and is therefore working on compiling the requisite evidence on some of the individuals proposed for an assets freeze. China, India and Russia asked for more time for the listings to be studied in their capitals. India has concerns about some of the designated entities. At press time, there is no clear timeframe for when the additional individuals and entities might be approved.

The Secretariat has identified possible experts who could fill the Panel of Experts’ eight slots. The Panel could be constituted sometime in May. (It was previously hoped this Panel would be operational in April.)

Human Rights-Related Developments
On 27 April, the Commission of Inquiry, established by the Human Rights Council in February, arrived in Libya. It is expected to report back to the Human Rights Council in June.

On 20 April, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, condemned the reported use of cluster bombs and heavy weaponry and the targeting of medical facilities by the Tripoli regime in Misrata which could constitute international crimes. She also expressed concern about the regime’s treatment of journalists. In a 14 March statement, her office noted receipt of numerous reports of summary executions, rape, torture and disappearance. Her office also expressed concern over reports of weapons circulation throughout the Libyan territory and their potential availability to any actor, including children.

Key Issues

Ongoing key issues for the Council include:

The issue of appropriate Libyan representation at formal Council meetings remains in the background as a possible issue. International recognition of Benghazi as the legitimate Libyan interlocutor is growing and at least one permanent member now formally recognises the Benghazi authorities which will compel the Council to proceed carefully on procedural issues and in references to the Libyan parties. This has the potential to become an immediate issue if Benghazi representatives in New York were to request to attend the ICC Prosecutor’s briefing, as Sudan has done when the Prosecutor briefs on the situation in Darfur.

Potential issues for the Council in the future include:

One option for the Council in May is to simply monitor the situation based on briefings with leadership on political initiatives, effectively moving to the Libya Contact Group.

A second option is to request a further briefing from UN Special Envoy Khatib who is reportedly returning to Libya on 29 April.

Regarding the ICC, the Council could discuss the Prosecutor’s briefing in informal consultations as it does in the context of Darfur.

The option to designate more individuals and entities to compel the Tripoli regime to end violence is still on the table in the Sanctions Committee.

While it still may be premature to explore options for post-conflict Libya in a Council meeting, some informal exchange, perhaps in an Arria-style meeting, might be an option to take into account views from a broad array of stakeholders.

Council Dynamics
Many Council members seem to want to remain in a less active mode vis-à-vis Libya, leaving the political work to the Contact Group and post-conflict contingency planning to the UN Secretariat. However, some Council members are uncomfortable with this and the possibility of new initiatives remains alive.

The lack of formal decisions does not necessarily translate into a less engaged Council. In April the Council discussed Libya on five separate occasions in various formats.

In the context of the wider regional political upheavals, there is some concern by a number of members about the Council’s apparent selectivity when approaching issues of civilian protection. No Council member seems to feel that another Libya-style response is appropriate or necessary. However, some Council members find the silence on other regional issues, in comparison to Libya, problematic.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa remain concerned about whether the NATO air strikes have gone beyond the mandate of resolution 1973 and feel all political energies should be put into bringing about an immediate ceasefire.

All Council members would welcome a genuine ceasefire between the Tripoli regime and the Benghazi authorities which would have a positive impact on civilians at risk and allow full humanitarian access. However, there remains a divergence of views among members on the best approach because for many members such an outcome seems illusory unless there is also a solution to the underlying political crisis.

Three permanent Council members as well as elected members Lebanon and Germany—in the context of the Contact Group—have clearly said that Qaddafi has lost his legitimacy to lead and cannot be a part of Libya’s political future.

Arab and African members of the Council, as voices of their respective regional organisations, remain concerned that Qaddafi’s anticipated exit from power not be a product of violent regime change.

Most Council members seem to feel the April meetings in Doha and Cairo were useful and helped by bringing together all the different tracks on resolving the Libya crisis. However, some are concerned that the AU track is not yet effectively integrated into a genuine international approach.

Members are aware that there may be a role for the Council in the case of post-conflict Libya. It seems the type of UN presence that might be needed in a post-Qaddafi Libya was brought up during informal consultations on 4 April, including the Secretary-General’s offer at the 29 March London Conference to lead the coordination of humanitarian assistance and planning for longer-term stabilisation support. However, as yet there were no firm positions on these issues. But there seems to be some interest among some members for an impartial UN presence to monitor any potential ceasefire and a follow-on political mission in Libya to help in coordination efforts. Separate strands of ideas include the point that any type of ceasefire monitoring presence must have full mobility in Libya versus monitoring an arbitrary line so as to reinforce Libya’s territorial integrity, but also to act as an effective brake on surreptitious continuation of violence by Qaddafi security services.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1973 (17 March 2011) authorised all necessary measures 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.
  • S/RES/1970 (26 February 2011) referred the situation in Libya to the ICC, imposed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions, and established a sanctions committee.

Security Council Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6509 (4 April 2011) was a briefing by Special Envoy Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib on Libya.
  • S/PV.6505 (24 March 2011) was the Secretary-General’s monthly briefing on Libya.

Security Council Letter

  • S/2011/246 (14 April 2011) was the statement from the 13 April meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Doha.

Other Relevant Facts

Chair of the UN Libya Sanctions Committee

Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal)

UN Special Envoy

Abdel-Elah Mohamed Al-Khatib (Jordan)

Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry

Cherif Bassiouni (Egypt); Asma Khader (Jordanian/Palestinian); Philippe Kirsch (Canada)

AU High Level Ad-Hoc Committee

Heads of state of Congo, Mali, Mauritania, South Africa, Uganda and the chair of the AU Commission

Libya Contact Group

Bahrain; Belgium and the Netherlands share a rotating seat; Canada; France; Germany; Greece; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Malta; Morocco; a Nordic seat shared by Denmark, Norway and Sweden; Poland; Qatar; Spain; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; UK; USA and representatives from the Arab League, EU, GCC, NATO, OIC and the UN; the AU attends as an invitee

Commander for NATO Operations under Resolution 1973

Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard (Canada)

Full forecast