April 9, 2021

UN Panel of Experts criticise the effectiveness of Libya arms embargo & sanctions

A final report by a UN Panel of Experts on Libya sanctions established according to Security Council resolution 1973 (2011) has said that throughout its mandate, the body identified “multiple acts” that threatened the peace, stability or security of the country and increased attacks against State institutions and installations.

In 2011, the UN Security Council, voted unanimously to impose sanctions against the Libyan authorities, slapping the country with an arms embargo and freezing the assets of its leaders, while referring the violent repression of civilian demonstrators to the International Criminal Court. The Council imposed a travel ban on then-President Muammar Al-Qadhafi and other senior figures in his administration, including some members of his family and other relatives. The arms embargo also prohibited Libya from exporting all arms and related material and obligated the UN Member States to prevent the procurement of such items from Libya by their nationals.

However, this recent report by the UN panel of experts states that despite the sanctions, designated terrorist groups remained active in Libya, albeit with diminished activities. But their acts of violence continue to have a disruptive effect on the stability and security of the country. The report states that ‘for those Member States directly supporting the parties to the conflict, the violations are extensive, blatant and with complete disregard for the sanctions measures. Their control of the entire supply chain complicates detection, disruption or interdiction. These two factors make any implementation of the arms embargo more difficult’.

In conclusion, the panel recommended that the Security Council authorises the Member States to inspect, on the high seas off the coast of Libya, vessels bound to or from the Country that they have reasonable grounds to believe are illicitly exporting or attempting to export crude oil or refined petroleum products. The panel also recommended considering a mandate to the Committee to designate aircraft and impose measures such as flag de-registration, a landing ban, and an overflight ban across Libya.

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