posted on Wed 28 Jun 2017 5:13 PM
Adoption of a Resolution on Libya Sanctions

Tomorrow (29 June), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee until 15 November 2018. The draft was circulated by the UK on 20 June, and Council members met once to negotiate the text, which is now in in blue.

While the draft introduces few changes to the current sanctions regime, it does incorporate one of the recommendations from the final report of the Panel of Experts (S/2017/466). The draft adds refined petroleum products to commodities banned from illicit export from Libya; currently, the ban only covers crude oil, as per resolution 2146 of 19 March 2014. This responds to the Panel’s recommendation to target oil derivatives that were extracted and refined in Libya, as well as oil products previously imported to Libya, since fuel smuggling constitutes an important source of funding for armed groups. The draft resolution establishes these measures until 15 November 2018. (The arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze on Libya do not have sunset clauses; thus the petroleum-related measures are the only ones that need to be extended cyclically through a resolution.)

The draft in blue also adds as a designation criterion for the travel ban and the assets freeze involvement in attacks against UN personnel, including members of the Panel of Experts. This is similar to language added to resolution 2360 of 21 June on the Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions regime, following the killing of two members of the Group of Experts. It is possible that a similar designation criterion will be added to the mandates of other sanctions regimes as well.

The recent murders of two members of the DRC Group of Experts have sparked discussion about the safety, security and general welfare of such experts, consultants who do not receive the same benefits as UN staff members. In its 2017 final report, the Panel serving the Libya sanctions committee noted that its members “lack access to appropriate insurance for conflict zones” and that their “mandate requires travelling to some countries where regular health and travel insurance does not provide cover for treatment or evacuation” (S/2017/466).

A 26 June letter of the Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Libya to the UN reiterated the request of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) to allow for the reinvestment of frozen assets (S/2017/543). In the past, the Panel has called for allowing and encouraging the reinvestment of assets frozen under the measures, in order to protect the value of investments of designated individuals and entities; however the last report acknowledged that it will be difficult to modify the sanctions regime and resolve such management issues while the Libyan Investment Authority remains divided. Even though the draft reaffirms previously agreed language regarding the Council’s readiness to consider changes to the asset freeze at the request of the GNA when appropriate, no further action is taken at this stage.

Two of the recommendations to the Council of the final report of the Panel were not discussed by all fifteen Council members in the negotiation of the draft. The first had to do with clarifying which forces under the control of the GNA would be eligible to benefit from the exception for technical, training or financial assistance. The second relates to tightening the provisions regarding the supply of non-lethal military equipment, even when intended solely for security or disarmament assistance to the GNA.