February 2012 Monthly Forecast



Expected Council Action

The Council is likely to remain focused on post-conflict Libya in February, as the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) carries out its mandate. Ian Martin, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNSMIL, is expected to brief the Council.

The Council is also expecting a briefing from the chair of the Libya Sanctions Committee on the final panel of experts’ report, as required in resolution 1973.

UNSMIL’s mandate expires on 16 March.

Key Recent Developments
On 5 January, Georg Charpentier, deputy head of UNSMIL and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, said he had been impressed by the rate of return of displaced residents after his visits to the cities of Bani Walid, Sirte and Misrata.

On 10 January, Martin and Libyan Foreign Minister Ashur Bin Khayyal signed a Status-of-Mission agreement between UNSMIL and Libya’s interim government in Tripoli. Speaking at the ceremony, Martin highlighted three priority areas for Libyans: elections, public security and transitional justice.

Martin briefed the Council on 25 January and stated that criticism of Libya’s interim leadership by the Libyan populace had grown in recent days, whereas security continued to be a major problem. Martin also noted that “the combination of a tight timeline, inexperience in drafting electoral legislation, shortcomings in communication and the lack of proper mechanisms for consultation have set limitations to the process of drafting the electoral law.” He said that UNSMIL was finalising its integrated mission planning process in consultations with the Libyan authorities regarding its long-term role. Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Libya’s Permanent Representative to the UN, also addressed the Council and acknowledged that Libya faced many challenges, namely political and security-related. Shalgham said that he was aware of four incidents in which civilians had been killed as a result of NATO’s bombings; however, many more lives were saved due to NATO’s actions in Libya. As for Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, she emphasised the urgency of ending the ongoing human rights abuses, “particularly those occurring in detention.” This echoed an earlier point raised by Martin who said that only limited progress had been made with regards to the situation of detainees since his last briefing to the Council on 22 December 2011.

Several recent developments involved the issue of accountability. During a visit to Tripoli on 2 January, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki promised to hand over former Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi if the Libyan authorities guaranteed a fair trial. (Mahmoudi was arrested in Tunisia in September 2011 for illegally entering the country.)

On 10 January, the International Criminal Court (ICC) extended its earlier deadline of 10 January to 23 January for Libyan authorities to confirm whether Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi, Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s son, would be surrendered to the court. (The ICC Registry had received a letter on 9 January from Libyan authorities saying that they were unable to meet the original deadline due to the poor security situation. The ICC is seeking further information regarding Qaddafi’s whereabouts and his right to legal representation.) On 23 January, Fadi El-Abdallah, ICC Spokesman, said that the court had not decided whether Saif Qaddafi should be tried in Libya, refuting claims made by Ali Humaida Ashour, Libyan interim Minister of Justice, on the same day.

In a joint statement on 12 January, the Metropolitan Police Service of London and the Crown Prosecution Service of the UK said that they will investigate claims that UK intelligence services were complicit in the rendition to Col. Qaddafi’s security services in 2004 of Abdul Hakim Belhaj, head of the Tripoli Military Council, and Sami al-Saadi, a Libyan dissident.

Libya continues to suffer from sporadic violent incidents. Clashes between rebel fighters from Tripoli and Misrata reportedly led to five deaths on 3 January. On 13 January intermittent clashes broke out 80 km south of Tripoli between rival militias from the towns of Gharyan and Assabia and lasted for several days. Two people were reported dead and 36 wounded.

On 23 January, four deaths were reported due to clashes between pro-National Transitional Council (NTC) forces and local armed residents in Bani Walid, 170 km southeast of Tripoli. Local residents had accused the pro-NTC militia of harassing people, taking prisoners and abusing them. Osama al-Juwaili, Libya’s interim Minister of Defence, held talks with local elders in Bani Walid on 25 January to broker a deal. (Bani Walid, along with Sirte, was one of the two final strongholds held by forces loyal to the ousted regime.)

Other notable events included the appointment of Yussef Al-Mangush as the new head of the Libyan Army on 4 January. The Coalition of Libyan Revolutionaries rejected Mangush’s appointment the following day. (The coalition represents powerful factions of former rebels from major cities, such as Benghazi, Misrata and Zintan.)

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, deputy head of the NTC and its official spokesperson, resigned on 22 January. Ghoga’s resignation followed earlier protests in Benghazi on 19 January against the alleged lack of transparency in the NTC. On 23 January, Jalil praised Ghoga for his role during the revolution and said “we (the NTC) are not going to resign because it would lead to civil war.”

Speaking to reporters on 10 January, Khayyal said that most of the approximately $20 billion worth of Libyan assets thus far had been released by the US, France and other European states.

Libya was referenced several times in a 12 January high-level Council debate on the relationship between the UN and the AU. South African President Jacob Zuma, who chaired it, complained that “the AU’s plan was completely ignored in favour of bombing Libya by NATO forces.”

AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping, held talks with Khayyal and Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Keib, in Libya on 16 January. Ping reportedly told Libyan authorities that “the past is the past, no matter what happened. We must turn the page and look to the future.” (The AU only recognised Libya’s new authorities in September.)

Human Rights-Related Developments
The report of the assessment mission on the impact of the Libyan crisis on the Sahel region, provisionally released on 18 January, noted that in some cases returnees from Libya had been “victims of extortion and human rights violations during their journey.” (The UN inter-agency assessment mission was jointly sent by the UN and the AU to the Sahel region from 7 to 23 December 2011 to assess the impact of the Libyan crisis. See our brief on the Sahel in this Forecast for more information.)

Key Issues
The Council’s role in ensuring a peaceful transition and preventing large-scale reprisals and killings in a post-conflict Libya is a key issue.

Ensuring that sporadic violence between different armed rebel factions does not jeopardise the stability of Libya and that the NTC remains unified before the interim government is fully functional is a related issue.

Ensuring UNSMIL’s full deployment and effective functioning and also determining its subsequent long-term role and timeframe are key related issues for the Council.

Handling 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 the 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 will continue to be an issue for the Council.

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

The continued coordination of efforts by various stakeholders and other international bodies in supporting the interim authorities is also an issue for the Council.

Regarding UNSMIL, the Council could wait until it receives the Secretary-General’s report, as well as the Assessment-of-Needs report by the Libyan authorities.

With regard to the ICC, an (unlikely) option for the Council is to recall, in a statement, the obligations that Libya and other states have toward the ICC under resolution 1970.

Other options include revisiting outstanding Libya sanctions and considering further measures on weapons proliferation after receiving an assessment of threats and challenges from the Libya Sanctions Committee, as requested by resolution 2017.

Council Dynamics
Some Council members feel that UNSMIL should have an integrated mandate; however, other Council members feel that the UN should only focus on a few key tasks, such as assisting the Libyan authorities with the forthcoming elections and the disarmament of rebels.

Resolutions 1970 and 1973 continue to generate heated debate among Council members. NATO’s role and the extent of its involvement in Libya remain a source of contention extending to other items on the Council agenda. Some Council members feel that other members were wrong to take it upon themselves to use military force. Russia strongly feels that the Council should either authorise an independent investigation or permit a joint UN-NATO probe into the reported civilian deaths as a result of NATO’s bombings because the Council had authorised NATO’s mission in the first instance. 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. Furthermore, different Council members revised their approach to this issue after the briefings by Martin, Shalgham and Pillay on 25 January. Russia felt that the hint towards civilian casualties as a result of NATO’s actions in the briefings was a constructive measure as was the mention of a recent letter, by Pillay, reportedly sent by NATO to the Commission of Inquiry on Libya. Council members seem to recognise the perils of a divided Council on Libya when the situation in the country remains fragile.

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


  • S/2012/42 (17 January 2012) transmitted the report of the assessment mission on the impact of the Libyan crisis on the Sahel region.
  • S/2012/32 (12 January 2012) was the letter from the chair of the Sanctions Committee submitting an annual report the committee’s activities.

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