July 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 June 2012
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Expected Council Action
In July, Ian Martin, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), is expected to brief the Council on the latest developments in Libya, including the elections for a Constituent Assembly now scheduled for 7 July. In addition, it is expected that High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will brief on the human rights situation in early July.

UNSMIL’s mandate expires on 16 March 2013.

Key Recent Developments
On 10 May, the Council received a update on the Committee’s work, including a report by the Panel of Experts.

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, briefed the Council on 16 May on the ICC’s recent activities, particularly those concerning Saif al-Islam Qaddafi. The prosecutor also briefed on gender-related crimes and allegations of crimes committed by NATO forces as well as by forces under the auspices of the National Transitional Council (NTC).

A four-person ICC-appointed defence team has been detained in Zintan following their visit to Qaddafi on 7 June. (Defence counsel Melinda Taylor has been accused of clandestinely passing Qaddafi a coded letter from a fugitive former aide, Mohammed Ismail.)

Members of the Security Council issued a SC/10674) on 15 June, expressing serious concern over the detention of ICC staff members and emphasising Libya’s legal obligation under resolution 1970 “to cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the ICC”.

On 22 June, Libyan Attorney General Abdelaziz al-Hassadi met with the ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, at The Hague. An ICC statement issued after the meeting said the Court would investigate allegations of wrongdoing by its staff in Libya.

There were several notable political, constitutional and electoral developments. On 29 April, NTC Chairperson Mustafa Abdul Jalil stated that the NTC had decided to keep the interim government in place to guarantee the success of the forthcoming elections. Earlier, on 25 April, Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib had accused members of the NTC of hindering the interim government’s efforts to hold elections for the Constituent Assembly on time. The elections, originally planned to be held on 19 June, were on 10 June postponed to 7 July.

On 2 May, the NTC adopted several new laws, including a law granting immunity to former rebels, saying “there is no punishment for acts made necessary by the February 17 revolution.” Another law, according to which “praising or glorifying Muammar Qaddafi, his regime, his ideas or his sons” was punishable by a prison sentence, was also passed on 2 May but revoked on 14 June by the Supreme Court.

A number of security-related incidents continued to highlight various challenges. On 8 May, a group of armed ex-rebels stormed government headquarters in Tripoli, protesting the non-payment of cash stipends to former rebels. At least one person was reported killed and four people wounded.

Tripoli’s international airport was occupied for several hours on 4 June by members of the Al-Awfea Brigade protesting the reported detention of their commander by security forces in Tripoli. The militia agreed to surrender the airport after a promise from Jalil that their missing commander would be found.

On 9 and 10 June, clashes between members of the Tabu tribe and the Libya Shield Brigade, a pro-government force, reportedly resulted in 23 deaths and more than 50 wounded. Also, on 10 June, Ras Jdir, the main border crossing between Libya and Tunisia, was closed after fighting between Libyan armed forces and former rebels over control of the frontier.

In a statement on 17 June, Martin expressed his concerns about the recent resumption of fighting in a number of Libyan localities, in which children, women and other unarmed civilians have been among those killed, injured and displaced.

On 20 June, Nasser al-Manaa, an interim government spokesman, said that the casualty toll following clashes in Sheguiga and Zintan was 105 dead and more than 500 wounded. (The fighting between the Mashashia tribe and militia from the Gontrar tribe and Zintan erupted on 11 June.)

Targeted killings of prominent figures have continued. On 21 June, Judge Jumah Hasan al-Jazwi, who was investigating the murder of Gen. Abdel Fattah Younes, was shot dead in Benghazi. Younes, who defected from the late Col. Muammar Qaddafi regime shortly after the start of the 17 February revolution to become the military chief of the NTC, was killed on 28 July 2011 in Benghazi.

There have also been several recent incidents with international implications. On 21 May, the ICRC office in Benghazi was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. The ICRC office in Misrata was also attacked on 12 June, wounding one bystander. On 5 June, the premises of the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi were targeted with a home-made bomb. On 12 June, a convoy carrying British Ambassador Dominic Asquith was attacked with a rocket-propelled grenade, slightly injuring two close protection officers.

On 24 June, Tunisia extradited former Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi to Tripoli, a decision that Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki considered “illegal” as it was taken without his consent. (After the fall of Tripoli, al-Mahmoudi fled to Tunisia, where he was arrested on 21 September 2011 for illegal entry.)

Human Rights-Related Developments
On 14 May, NATO said in a statement that it “did everything possible to minimise risks to civilians, but in a complex military campaign, that risk can never be zero.” (The statement was in response to a Human Rights Watch report released on the same day that claimed NATO had failed to acknowledge at least 72 civilian casualties from the air strikes during its 2011 Libya campaign.)

On 21 May, the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on the use of mercenaries postponed its visit to Libya scheduled for 21-25 May, “due to technical reasons.” This would have been the group’s first visit to assess allegations of the use of mercenaries in the recent conflict and measures taken by the government to address this phenomenon. The visit aimed to obtain first-hand information on the activities of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services in Libya and the potential impact of these activities on human rights. “The new dates of the visit will be announced to the media as soon as possible”, according to the Working Group’s website.

Key Issues
Ensuring that the forthcoming elections are free and fair and held in a timely manner is a key issue for the Council.  

An overarching issue for the Council continues to be the determination of UNSMIL’s long-term role in Libya, in particular, following the elections next month.

The Council’s role helping to secure the release of the ICC staff and the implementation of resolution 1970 with regard to its referral of the situation in Libya to the ICC, and any referral-related trials is another important issue.

Preventing large-scale reprisals and killings in a post-conflict Libya as well as preventing human rights violations and reported torture of detainees are closely related issues for the Council.

The prevention of proliferation of heavy weaponry in Libya as well as the spillover effect in the Sahel region is an ongoing issue for Council members.

Underlying Issues
The divisions within Libya’s political and military elite have become a growing concern.

Instances of settling old disputes between anti and pro-Qaddafi forces, often accompanied by human rights violations continue to pose serious challenges.

An option for the Council could be to encourage, through a presidential statement, the forthcoming government to be formed by the Constituent Assembly following the 7 July elections, to recommit to the long-term state-building, and re-emphasise the mandate of UNSMIL.

Another option for the Council could be to wait for the formation of the new government and then reconsider UNSMIL’s long-term role in September, consistent with resolution 2040.

Regarding human rights, rule of law and transitional justice in Libya, the Council could ask for regular briefings from UNSMIL and other relevant UN actors on issue specific developments.

With regard to the ICC, the Council could ask for a briefing from the ICC prosecutor to receive an update.

Council Dynamics
Some Council members seem to acknowledge that the Libyans face considerable challenges but seek to advance the discussion on Libya beyond issues related to resolutions 1970 and 1973 and focus on next steps, including the 7 July election of the Constituent Assembly and the adoption of a new constitution. However, some Council members are reluctant to highlight various challenges that Libyan authorities have struggled with since the toppling of the Qaddafi regime.

Council members seem to be in agreement that the forthcoming elections would be another significant milestone in the new Libya. They are also mindful that any changes to UNSMIL’s mandate would have to take into account the new makeup of Libyan political and military institutions.

Some Council members are particularly alarmed by the detention of the ICC staff members. To them, it is a clear violation of Libya’s commitment under international law. However, other members are hopeful for a quick resolution of this matter.

The UK is the lead country on Libya.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2040 (12 March 2012) extended the mandate of UNSMIL and the Panel of Experts by 12 months, with a requirement to review and adjust the mandate within six months.
  • 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 Press Statement

  • SC/10674 (15 June 2012) expressed concern at the detention of the ICC staff members.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Panel of Experts Report

Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6772 (16 May 2012) was Moreno-Ocampo’s briefing to the Council.
  • S/PV.6768 (10 May 2012) was Martin and Cabral’s briefing to the Council.


  • S/2012/471 (20 June 2012) was from the Permanent Representative of Libya to the Secretary-General and the Council President conveying information regarding the arrest of the delegation of the ICC.
  • S/2012/440 (13 June 2012) was Secretary-General’s letter conveying the President of the ICC’s letter to the Council President.
  • S/2012/178 (23 March 2012) was the working document of the Sanctions Committee assessing the regional threats posed by the proliferation of arms.

Other Relevant Facts

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal)

Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts

  • Simon Dilloway, UK (finance)
  • Theodore M. Murphy, US (humanitarian and regional)
  • Giovanna Perri, Italy (finance)
  • Salim Raad, Lebanon (heavy weapons)
  • Savannah de Tessières, France (small arms and light weapons)

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNSMIL

Ian Martin (UK)