The Security Council approved the extradition of Charles Taylor to the Hague on 16 June 2006. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes in May 2012). Sanctions were gradually reduced (UNSCR 1689 (2006) terminated timber sanctions; UNSCR 1753 (2007) removed diamond sanctions; UNSCR 1903 (2009) relaxed the arms embargo on the government but continued it for non-governmental entities). The governance of natural resources became the priority, with the introduction of certification schemes for diamonds (Kimberley Process) and timber. The list of targeted individuals gradually declined (some Taylor family members removed in 2012), and PoE was reduced from 5 to 3 members (in 2008).
PoE reports expressed concern that weak natural resources governance (unregulated gold mining, continued trafficking in diamonds, and challenges in agricultural sector - palm oil) threaten to jeopardize post-conflict reconstruction efforts, and the stability and security of Liberia. Notwithstanding political and economic gains, the Government's inability to halt arms violations and cross-border attacks by mercenaries and to implement fully natural resources schemes, reveal the continuing need to strengthen government institutions, including the security sector.
While the 2013 Panel of Experts report continued to document the activity of Liberian mercenaries, the Security Council considered this to be a government capacity problem and continued to transfer responsibilities to the Government of Liberia. For this reason, in line with the drawdown taking place in UNMIL, the Security Council passed Resolution 2128 (December 2013) further scaling back the sanctions by relaxing requirements for weapons transfer notifications from the Government of Liberia and directing the Committee to review the list of designated individuals. The Panel of Experts was reduced to two individuals and no longer had the explicit mandate to monitor the use of natural resources as a potential source of instability.
In 2014 and 2015, the focus of the Sanctions Committee shifted to security concerns, particularly security sector reform and institutional capacity building. The Ebola crisis in 2014 postponed expectations that the Liberian government could implement security sector measures, but after the end of the crisis in 2015, concerns about the border with Côte d'Ivoire and groups of ex-combatants and mercenaries along the border came to the fore. The conflicts were highly localized however, and did not threaten the government. The PoE expressed concern about the pace of security sector reform (Firearms Control Act, military code of conduct, Police Act, arms marking, and the security of storage facilities), but sanctions played a limited role in their analysis of peacebuilding challenges.. On 2 September 2015, all individual sanctions (asset freeze and travel ban) were terminated, keeping in place only the arms embargo on non-governmental entities and the PoE reduced to one expert in charge of investigation violations of the arms embargo on non-state actors and monitoring the government`s progress in arms and border management. After final PoE report on 15 April 2016, the remaining arms embargo was terminated and the Sanctions Committee and PoE dissolved on 25 May 2016 (UNSCR 2288). UNMIL formally ended its mission on 30 June 2016 and Liberia assumed full security responsibilities for the first time since 2003.
Initially, constraining parties who might undermine the peacebuilding process was main purpose, with lifting of sanctions as an inducement to those who might otherwise oppose the peace process.
Over the course of the episode, the purpose shifted to signaling the government to improve natural resource governance and increase its authority to establish and maintain security in the country.
Ongoing arms imports embargo (since December 2009 on non-governmental entities, previously on all parties with conditional government exemptions).
Timber and diamond exports bans were terminated early in the episode (timber in June 2006, diamonds in April 2007), travel ban and asset freeze were terminated in September 2015.
Sanctions were imposed for a limited time period (1 year, 6 months for diamond exports ban) and periodically renewed. Sanctions Committee and Panel of Experts in place. Designation criteria were specified and targets designated (individual sanctions terminated in September 2015 – 21 individual travel ban designees and 8 individual and 30 entity asset freeze designees at the time of sanctions termination). Enforcement authorities specified, PKO has enforcement role.
No major challenges to the Johnson Sirleaf government from remnants of Taylor's forces or other potential spoilers; peaceful elections held, government entered Kimberley Process, progress on timber sector governance, limited progress on security sector reform.
Sanctions reinforced the peacebuilding efforts of the government of Liberia throughout the episode, but salience has declined over time; international tribunals play a major role in constraining the remnants of Charles Taylor's regime.
International tribunal's first conviction of a former head of state since WW II sends powerful signal deterring spoilers from destabilizing the government; signal in support of more effective resource management and security sector reform less clear and effectiveness of signal diminishes over time with phase out of PKO and sanctions regime.
Sanctions reinforce the peacebuilding efforts of the Liberian government, but the lifting of sanctions on diamonds and timber and phasing out of PKO and sanctions diminishes the need for the signal.
Increase in international enforcement capacity in different issue domains.