January 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 23 December 2011
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Expected Council Action
The Council is likely to remain focused on post-conflict Libya in January, as the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) deploys to full capacity. Ian Martin, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNSMIL, is expected to brief the Council.

UNSMIL’s mandate expires on 16 March 2012.

Key Recent Developments
On 2 December 2011, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2022, extending the mandate of UNSMIL until 16 March and tasked the mission to assist the Libyan authorities in addressing the threats of proliferation of all arms and related material, in particular Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS).

On 11 December 2011, Andrew Shapiro, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, said that approximately 5,000 MANPADS had been secured by bomb disposal experts in Libya.

On 16 December, B. Lynn Pascoe, head of the Department of Political Affairs, briefed the Council on the UN inter-agency assessment mission despatched in early December to assess the impact of the Libyan crisis on Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania. (The Secretary-General’s 20 June report on the UN Office for West Africa and resolution 2017 of 31 October both underlined the risk of destabilisation due to the dissemination of weapons from Libya to the Sahel region.)

Libya has continued to experience some violent incidents. On 6 December 2011, Abdul Aziz Al-Hassadi, Libya’s Attorney General, was attacked by gunmen demanding the release of one of their associates. Residents of Tripoli protested against the lawlessness of the armed militia on 7 December, before security forces were deployed to clamp down on rogue militia. The National Transitional Council (NTC) gave militias until 20 December  2011 to disarm and come under state control.

On 10 December, two incidents of armed clashes were reported between forces associated with Gen. Khalifa Haftar and fighters from Zintan, who control the checkpoints surrounding Tripoli’s international airport. On 13 December, deadly clashes between armed groups from Zintan and neighbouring Al-Mashasha that led to at least four reported deaths ended after tribal elders brokered a ceasefire.

On 19 December, Osama Al-Juwali, the interim Defence Minister, said that the government was working on a plan to deal with the armed militia but it will take weeks to disband the armed groups. (Al-Juwali is also the head of the military council in Zintan, whose forces apprehended Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi on 19 November 2011.)

On 21 December, responding to calls for greater inclusiveness, NTC Chairperson Mustafa Abdul Jalil asked former rebels to come up with a list of candidates for potential inclusion in the NTC during a conference in Tripoli.

On 22 December, Martin briefed the Council via videoconference and highlighted the NTC’s ability to meet the immediate needs and high expectations of the Libyan people as one of two key challenges. He noted that the second challenge encompassed the establishment of accountable government institutions. Martin raised concerns regarding the potential of localised clashes that could undermine the authority of the central government.

Several key recent developments involved the issue of accountability.

On 1 December, a team from the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrived in Tripoli to conduct a preliminary investigation of alleged sexual violence against women committed by Qaddafi supporters. On 6 December, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I submitted an urgent request to the NTC, asking when and where ICC officials could meet Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi and whether the Libyan authorities had any plans for surrendering him to the ICC. Fred Abrahams, a special adviser with Human Rights Watch, visited Qaddafi on 18 December and reported that although he was being adequately treated, he did not have access to legal counsel.

On 15 December 2011, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the circumstances surrounding Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s death in October 2011 raised suspicions that it amounted to a war crime and the ICC was planning to investigate it.

On 28 November 2011, Yussef Al-Aseifr, the NTC chief military prosecutor, named Ali Abdelaziz Saad Al-Essawi, a former NTC deputy prime minister, as the main suspect in the killing of Gen. Abdel Fatah Younes. Al-Essawi denied he was involved in the killing in a phone call to Awalen, a local television station. (Younes was the commander-in-chief of the rebel forces, and circumstances surrounding his death on 28 July 2011 remain obscure.)

On 12 December 2011, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the NTC’s chairperson, denied rumours of an amnesty for the followers of Col. Qaddafi. Also on that day, the NTC decided that Benghazi will be the economic capital of Libya. The decision came after protestors in Benghazi accused Jalil and the NTC of not being transparent and criticised statements by Jalil at the first post-Qaddafi national reconciliation conference held on 10 December, when he said that Libyans were able to forgive and tolerate.

In an interview with the BBC on 19 December, Abdul Hakim Belhaj, head of the Tripoli Military Council, said that he was taking legal action against the UK government. Belhaj, who was detained in Bangkok in 2004, has accused the British government of being complicit in his illegal rendition and torture and subsequent transfer to Col. Qaddafi’s security services.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters on 14 December 2011 that NATO’s military operation strictly adhered to the mandate of resolution 1973 “and there should be no misunderstanding on that.” (China, Russia, Brazil, India and South Africa had accused NATO of going beyond its mandate in Libya, whereas, the US, the UK, France and other NATO members have defended NATO saying it operated within the mandate of resolution 1973.)

Human Rights-Related Developments
The Secretary-General’s 22 November 2011 report on UNSMIL assessing the challenges facing Libya noted the country’s heavy legacy of human rights violations from the Qaddafi regime, including decades of arbitrary detention, torture, extrajudicial executions and still-unresolved disappearances. The NTC had already taken some steps towards transferring responsibility for detainees from brigades to proper state authorities, but much remained to be done. UNSMIL was pressing these concerns with the authorities. The report recalled the Secretary-General’s assurance made during his recent visit to Libya of assistance in the holding of elections, in the promotion of transitional justice and national reconciliation and in ensuring public security, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

On 20 December, Philippe Kirsch, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Libya, said that team members were pleased with the Libyan interim authorities’ assurances of continued commitment to human rights and the initial steps taken by them to address the human rights violations. (The Commission of Inquiry set up by the Human Rights Council (HRC) in February to investigate serious violations committed by all parties, visited Tripoli for over two weeks earlier in December 2011 as part of its investigative work. It is expected to present its final report to the HRC in March.)


Developments in the Libya Sanctions Committee
Deputy Permanent Representative João Maria Cabral (Portugal), briefed the Council on 22 December 2011 on the de-listing of the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Foreign Bank on 16 December. Cabral also informed the Council that members of the committee had met in informal consultations on 12 December. On the same day, following briefings by the panel of experts, the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), International Civil Aviation Organization and UNSMIL, the members of the committee had agreed that a report would be submitted to the Council shortly after a working document has been produced by its panel of experts in February 2012. (Resolution 2017 requested the committee to assess the threats related to the proliferation of all arms and related material, in particular MANPADS from Libya, in the region and to submit a report to the Council containing its proposals.)

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is its role in ensuring a transition from conflict to peacebuilding in Libya and preventing large-scale reprisals and killings in a post-conflict Libya.

Preventing the spread of sporadic violence between various armed rebel factions as well as divisions within the NTC before the interim government is fully functional is a related issue.

Determining the long-term role and timeframe for UNSMIL and ensuring its full deployment as well as effective functioning are key related issues for the Council.

Dealing with Libya’s assets freeze in an efficient manner is another key issue for the Council, as is its role in the implementation of resolution 1970 with regard to its referral of the Libyan situation to the ICC and any referral-related trials.

The prevention of proliferation of heavy weaponry in a post-conflict Libya as well as the spill-over effect in the Sahel region continues to be an issue for Council members.

Minimising the impact of the recent conflict and its aftermath on the civilian population and delivering humanitarian assistance are two further closely related issues for the Council.

Another issue is the need for the continued coordination of efforts of various stakeholders and other international bodies in supporting the interim government.

With regard to the ICC, the Council could request an up-to-date briefing from Moreno- Ocampo. A less likely option would be recalling, in a statement, obligations that Libya and other states have towards the ICC under resolution 1970.

Regarding UNSMIL, one option could be a Council visit to Libya before the mandate renewal in March with an eye to using its findings to adjust UNSMIL’s current mandate in accordance with the long-term needs of the new interim government.

More routine options include revisiting any outstanding sanctions imposed on Libya and considering any further measures on weapons proliferation after it is informed of the findings of the UN inter-agency assessment mission that was jointly sent by the UN and AU to the Sahel region from 7 to 23 December 2011 to assess the impact of the Libya crisis on the contiguous countries of Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad.

Council Dynamics
Some Council members view the two key concerns regarding Libya as the issue of the proliferation of weaponry and the assets freeze. They insisted that resolution 2022 not merely be a technical rollover of UNSMIL’s mandate but that it would also mandate UNSMIL to assist the Libyan authorities in addressing the threats of proliferation of all arms, in particular, MANPADS. Moreover, some Council members seem to be perplexed by the technical complexities surrounding the assets-freeze issue.

Resolution 1970 and 1973, as well as the no-fly-zone, generated much heated debate amongst Council members. This issue continues to be a source of contention extending to other items on the agenda of the Council as some Council members felt that other members, wrongly, took it upon themselves to use military force. Russia feels that there needs to be an independent investigation into claims made by investigative journalists noting civilian deaths due to NATO’s bombings. The US, the UK and France hold the view that a separate investigation would be redundant because the Commission of Inquiry on Libya as well as the ICC are already looking into these matters.

Some Council members are less concerned by Libya’s political challenges, which they perceive to be inevitable in a post-conflict environment. They feel that it will take some time before the new interim government is able to overcome these issues.

The UK is the lead country on Libya.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2022 (2 December 2011) extended the mandate of UNSMIL until 16 March 2012 and asked UNSMIL to assist the Libyan authorities in addressing the threat of proliferation of arms, in particular MANPADS.
  • S/RES/2017 (31 October 2011) discussed the non-proliferation of MANPADS; chemical weapons stockpiles and other small arms.
  • S/RES/2016 (27 October 2011) lifted the no-fly zone and the provisions for the use of force for the protection of civilians.
  • S/RES/2009 (16 September 2011) authorised the deployment of UNSMIL and partially lifted sanctions.
  • 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.

Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2011/727 (22 November 2011) was an update report on UNSMIL.

Latest Meeting Records

Other Relevant Facts

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal)

Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts

  1. Youseif Fahed Ahmed Alserhan, Jordan (maritime)
  2. Oumar Dièye Sidi, Niger (customs)
  3. Simon Dilloway, UK (finance)
  4. Theodore M. Murphy, US (humanitarian and regional)
  5. Giovanna Perri, Italy (finance)
  6. Salim Raad, Lebanon (heavy weapons)
  7. Savannah de Tessières, France (small arms and light weapons)
  8. Ahmed Zerhouni, Algeria (aviation)

Head of UNSMIL

Ian Martin (UK)

Full Forecast


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