Libya I - EP 2

Duration: 11-Nov-1993 to 05-Apr-1999

Taking note of the letters and statements of the Government of Libya (29 September and 1 October 1993) indicating the intent to encourage suspects to appear for trial in Scotland and willingness to cooperate with French authorities, the UNSC reiterated its demands that Libya complied fully with UNSCRs 731 and 748. In UNSCR 883 (11 November 1993), the UNSC added a partial government asset freeze (exempting petroleum, petroleum sector equipment and maintenance services, as well as oil services equipment); strengthened enforcement of the aviation ban (which greater details on proscribed activities); and maintained the arms embargo. UNSCR 883 also spelled out explicitly criteria for the suspension of the sanctions, once suspects were handed over. This was reaffirmed in UNSCR 1192 of 27 August 1998.

Evidence of sanctions fatigue emerged later in the episode. The ICJ claimed jurisdiction over the dispute in February 1998 and, in June 1998, the OAU officially allowed its Member States to ignore the aviation ban, unless the US and the UK agreed to a trial for the suspects in a neutral country. In August 1998, the US and UK proposed a trial before a specially created Scottish Court sitting in a neutral territory, the Netherlands. UNSCR 1192 spelled out the terms for the suspension of sanctions, once the Secretary-General reports that the accused have arrived for trial in the Netherlands.


Coerce Libyan authorities to hand over suspects in the Lockerbie and UTA bombings and to renounce the use of terrorism.


Constrain the Government of Libya from engaging in international terrorism.


Signal (reinforce) the norm against state terrorism.


Ongoing aviation ban (strengthened), arms imports embargo (on government forces), and diplomatic sanctions (limit travel and number of diplomatic personnel, limit visas).

Newly imposed government asset freeze (exempting petroleum derived financial resources) and oil services equipment ban (specific items).

No individual targets specified.

Potential scope of impact


UN sanctions are likely to have significant impacts on the general population, since they include restrictions on the import of widely used commodities (such as oil), major commodity exports, and/or the transportation or financial sectors that affect the entire economy.

Sanctions imposition deliberately delayed by 20 days. Sanctions Committee in place, no sanctions monitoring mechanism. Enforcement authorities not specified.



Policy outcome

Given the similarity to a Libyan proposal offered years before (trial before a Scottish court), the central change in behavior came from accommodation on the part of the US and UK, concerned about the decline in support for sanction against Libya.

Sanctions contribution

Sanctions reinforced other measures. They constrained Qadhafi and prompted him to an extensive effort to counter their effects. Growing sanctions fatigue also played a major role.



Policy outcome

Clear evidence of economic impact and some evidence of reduction in proscribed activity (state support for terrorism).

Sanctions contribution

UN Aviation ban and cumulative effect of petroleum services sector sanctions appear to have played a major role.



Policy outcome

Stigmatization of the regime declined over time. Signal to Libya that by delivering two individuals for trial the sanctions would be suspended; also a signal to Libya's many supporters in the AU and AL that their requests had been taken into consideration.

Sanctions contribution

UN sanctions clearly specified the terms of an agreement, but Qadhafi's diplomatic counter-offensive reduced his stigmatization.



Increase in corruption and criminality, strengthening of authoritarian rule, rally round the flag effect, resource diversion, humanitarian consequences, decline in the credibility and/or legitimacy of UN Security Council.



  • Imposes financial asset freeze on Government or public authorities in Libya, any entity or controlled by them, or any individual acting on their behalf
  • Specifies financial asset freeze exemption for financial resources derived from sale or supply of petroleum and petroleum products, including natural gas and natural gas products, or agricultural products or commodities originating in Libya, provided such funds are paid into separate bank accounts exclusively for these funds
  • Imposes ban on provision of oil equipment (Annex), including its licensing, manufacture or maintenance
  • Expands UNSCR 748 provisions regarding Libyan Arab Airlines by (1) closure of their office, (2) prohibition of any commercial transactions with them, (3) entering or renewal of arrangements for making available for operation within Libya any aircraft or aircraft components, and their engineering and maintenance servicing, (4) supply of any materials for construction, improvement, maintenance, engineering or servicing of Libyan airfields and associated facilities and equipment (except emergency equipment and services directly related to civilian air traffic control), (5) advice, assistance, or training to Libyan pilots, flight engineers, or ground maintenance personnel, and (6) renewal on insurance for Libyan aircraft
  • Delineates criteria for sanctions suspension


  • Delays sanctions implementation (until 01.12.1993)
  • Modifies Sanctions Committee mandate
  • Requests MS reporting



  • Adds UNSCR 748 aviation ban exemption for UN aircraft conveying Secretary-General's reconnaissance team.



  • Suspends all UNSCR 748 and 883 sanctions upon Secretary-General's report on arrival of two accused in the Lockerbie bombing for trial in The Hague (or their appearance before appropriate court in UK or US).