Expected Council Action
In September, the Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and receive briefings by the Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, Ghassan Salamé, and the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Olof Skoog (Sweden).
UNSMIL’s mandate expires on 15 September, and the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the sanctions committee expires on 15 November.
Key Recent Developments
Deep divisions remain between the parties in Libya, specifically between the competing Tripoli-based and UN-supported Presidency Council and the eastern Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR). Little progress has been achieved in implementing the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), signed on 17 December 2015 and designed to establish unified and legitimate institutions with the capacity to deliver basic services to the Libyan population. Special Representative Salamé has been focusing on implementing a UN action plan that the Council endorsed in October 2017. This plan includes corresponding efforts to amend the LPA, finalise a new constitution, and prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections. In a declaration following a meeting in Paris on 29 May, hosted by the French president and held under the auspices of the UN, the Libyan parties committed to finalise legislation by 16 September on regulating the holding of elections and to accept the election results. The date selected for the elections was 10 December. The parties present were Fayez al-Sarraj, president of the Presidency Council; Aguila Saleh, president of the HoR; Khaled Meshri, president of the High Council of State; and General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), operating in eastern Libya.
Recent weeks have seen an increase in tensions between Mediterranean governments such as Italy, Malta and Spain regarding their responsibilities for admitting ships carrying refugees and migrants rescued at sea. This has resulted in these vessels being forced to stay in international waters for days until they are able to dock.
During a bilateral visit at the end of July with US president Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his plans for a fall conference on stabilising Libya.
The security situation in many parts of Libya remains very volatile. Around the oil crescent, armed groups opposing General Haftar attacked and seized control of two oil terminals, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, in mid-June. General Haftar regained control after a week of fighting but announced that revenues would now go through a self-styled national oil cooperation, based in eastern Libya. On 11 July, following international pressure, he handed over control to the National Oil Cooperation of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). The overall loss in oil revenue for Libya was estimated to be around $1 billion. In that context, Fayez al-Sarraj, prime minister and president of the Presidency Council, called upon the Security Council in a July letter to review the issue of the parallel existence of two central banks, one connected to the GNA and the other in the eastern part of Libya. In a press statement on 19 July the Council condemned the June attacks, welcomed the re-opening of the oil terminals and stressed that the country’s oil resources fall under the exclusive control of the National Oil Corporation. Furthermore, following Sarraj’s request, the Council invited Salamé to submit proposals addressing the specific issue of the two competing central banks within the larger goal of unifying Libya’s parallel institutions.
During his most recent briefing on 16 July, Salamé announced that the consultative phase of the national conference process, aimed at bringing Libyans together around a common national narrative, had concluded after 14 weeks of meetings. According to Salamé, more than 7,000 Libyans, a quarter of whom were women, participated around Libya and abroad and voiced their ideas about Libya’s future. The next step will be a final report drawn from these consultations, with conclusions and recommendations, presented at a final event.
Migrants and refugees in Libya continue to suffer from grave human rights violations and abuse, including arbitrary detention and forced labour, reportedly inflicted by state officials, armed groups, smugglers, traffickers and criminal gangs.
The humanitarian situation in Libya remains dire. At press time, the UN’s 2018 humanitarian $312.7 million response plan for Libya was funded at 22.5 percent, with $242.4 million outstanding.
On 4 July, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC issued a second arrest warrant for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli. According to the first arrest warrant, issued on 15 August 2017, Al-Werfalli appears to be directly responsible for the deaths of 33 persons during seven different incidents in Benghazi or surrounding areas between June 2016 and July 2017, by having killed them himself or ordered their execution. The second arrest warrant relates to an eighth incident on 24 January in which Al-Werfalli allegedly killed ten persons in Benghazi.
The two other open cases in the situation in Libya are against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled.
The 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee addressed the issue of human rights violations and abuse of migrants and refugees in Libya in June by designating six leaders of transnational trafficking networks (four Libyans and two Eritreans) for sanctions in the form of a travel ban and asset freeze. This was also the first time any UN sanctions committee listed individuals for human trafficking. During the latest briefing to the Council on 16 July, the representative of the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions informed members that the committee is currently considering the listing of another individual against several designation criteria.
Human Rights-Related Developments
In a 17 August press statement, the spokesperson of the High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Libyan GNA to take all necessary measures to protect Tawerghan internally displaced persons (IDPs) from further displacement, torture and other human rights violations, following the forced eviction of some 1,900 people from an IDP camp in Tripoli on 10 August. According to the statement, an armed group allied to the GNA detained at least 87 IDPs during raids on the camp and took them to unknown locations. Those that were released gave accounts of their torture and ill-treatment, and reports indicate that the armed group still holds 19 people. The spokesperson urged the authorities to provide shelter and protection for the evicted IDPs, and called on the armed group immediately to release those who were being detained while ensuring the full rights of all detainees to physical and psychological integrity and to due process. The Human Rights Council will hold an interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner’s update on Libya during its 39th session in September.
Key Issues and Options
The Council will have to decide whether and how to adapt UNSMIL’s mandate, considering issues such as the UN-led mediation efforts, the electoral preparations, and the implementation of the 2017 UN Action Plan in general. At the appropriate time, and in support of Salamé’s work, the Security Council might consider a visiting mission to Libya and neighbouring countries to engage with key stakeholders.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Overall, Council members are united in their support of Salamé’s mediation efforts, but they have often had different sensitivities regarding the way forward to achieving a solution. Regarding the upcoming elections, some members, including the US, appear to be more cautious about defining a concrete timeline for the electoral process, considering the challenges to establishing an environment conducive to peaceful and credible elections. Council resolutions and presidential statements have called upon UN member states to cease support for and official contact with parallel institutions in Libya, but it seems that some Council members have not respected this.
The UK is the penholder on Libya, and Sweden chairs the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee.
UN DOCUMENTS ON LIBYA
|Security Council Resolutions|
|11 June 2018 S/RES/2420||This was a resolution renewing the authorisation for member states, acting nationally or through regional organisations, to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya bound to or from the country that they have reasonable grounds to believe are violating the arms embargo.|
|5 October 2017 S/RES/2380||This renewed the authorisation for member states to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya that they have reasonable grounds to suspect are being used for migrant smuggling or human trafficking.|
|14 September 2017 S/RES/2376||This extended UNSMIL’s mandate until 15 September 2018.|
|29 June 2017 S/RES/2362||This was a resolution renewing the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee and the measures regarding attempts to illicitly export oil from Libya.|
|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 established a sanctions committee.|
|Security Council Presidential Statements|
|6 June 2018 S/PRST/2018/11||This was a presidential statement welcoming the momentum generated by the international conference on Libya in Paris.|
|11 May 2018 S/2018/451||This was the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 2357.|
|7 May 2018 S/2018/429||This was the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNSMIL.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|16 July 2018 S/PV.8312||This was a briefing by Special Representative and head of UNSMIL Ghassan Salamé and chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee Ambassador Olof Skoog (Sweden).|
|9 May 2018 S/PV.8250||This was the semi-annual briefing by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on recent developments concerning cases in Libya.|
|Sanctions Committee Documents|
|7 June 2018 SC/13371||This was a press release by the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee regarding the adding of six individuals to the sanctions list.|