What's In Blue

Posted Sat 3 Nov 2018

Libya Sanctions: Adoption of a Resolution*

On Monday (5 November), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee and renewing measures related to the illicit export of crude oil from Libya until 20 February 2020. Both the mandate of the Panel and the measures are set to expire on 15 November. While the adoption was initially planned for shortly before this expiration, it appears that an earlier adoption simplifies the renewal of the experts’ contracts.

The final report of the Panel of Experts says that six attempts to illicitly export crude oil were documented between August 2017 and August 2018. Addressing the recurring issue of competing institutions in Libya and divisions over the distribution of economic resources, the report indicates that these illicit attempts to export crude oil came from the self-styled “National Oil Corporation” in Benghazi, which is a rival to the internationally recognised “National Oil Corporation” based in Tripoli. Council members generally are in agreement that both the Panel of Experts and the measures continue to be needed.

It seems that the first draft circulated on 17 October by the UK, the penholder, did not contain any changes to the mandate or the measures, an approach initially supported by a majority of other members. During a first round of sit-down negotiations on Friday, 19 October, the Netherlands and Sweden introduced additions, however.

The Netherlands and Sweden jointly proposed a stand-alone designation criterion for sanctioning individuals for acts that “include but are not limited to planning, directing or committing acts involving sexual and gender-based violence” (the same language that can be found in resolutions renewing sanctions regimes for the Central African Republic and South Sudan). The paragraph adding this designation criterion was incorporated in the draft in blue.

In line with operative paragraph six of resolution 2242 on women, peace and security, the draft in blue includes another paragraph requesting the Panel of Experts to include “the necessary sexual and gender-based violence expertise” in their tasks. This varied from the original proposal by Sweden and the Netherlands, which seems to have referred to the necessary “gender expertise” (language from resolution 2242) and encouraged the Panel of Experts “to integrate gender as a cross-cutting issue across its investigation and reporting.”

Russia, supported by China, opposed both paragraphs proposed by the Netherlands and Sweden during several rounds of negotiations. It seems that Russia maintained that a stand-alone criterion on sexual and gender-based violence is not needed in the Libyan context; in contrast, other members argued that the Secretary-General’s report on conflict-related sexual violence (S/2018/250) contains a dedicated section on Libya and that the issue is regularly reported on in the Secretary-General’s reports on Libya, thus the relevance of this designation criterion. It seems that the proposals advanced by Sweden and the Netherlands were actively supported by Equatorial Guinea, France, Peru, Poland and the US. The proponents of these proposals seemed to have been willing to accept changes related to the expertise of the experts, but insisted on the stand-alone designation criterion.

The Netherlands had also suggested language related to reporting obligations for member states to the sanctions committee on steps taken to implement targeted sanctions, specifically in relation to recent listings, within 120 days of the adoption of the resolution. (The Netherlands initiated the 7 June listings of six individuals holding key positions in human trafficking and migrant smuggling networks.) Ultimately, the draft in blue specifies this call for reporting from “member states, particularly those in which designated individuals and entities are based, as well as those in which their assets are suspected to be present”. However, the draft in blue omits a timeline for the reports.

While Russia’s and China’s concerns were not fully addressed, the UK decided to put the draft in blue.

*Post-script: The draft resolution was adopted, receiving 13 votes in favor, with China and Russia abstaining.


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