Libya II - EP 1

Duration: 26-Feb-2011 to 17-Mar-2011

One week after the outbreak of widespread demonstrations against the Muammar Qadhafi regime in Libya and the government’s strong crackdown against them, the UNSC issued a press statement (SC/10180 of 22 February 2011) condemning the actions of the Libyan government. Four days later, on 26 February 2011, the Security Council passed UNSCR 1970, referring the matter to the International Criminal Court and imposing an arms embargo, targeted financial sanctions, and a travel ban on the leadership of the regime.


Coerce the Qadhafi government to exercise restraint in its response to the protests, allow HR monitors into the country, allow humanitarian relief, and lift media restrictions.


Constrain the Qadhafi regime from using armed force against its population.


Signal key regime figures and leaders elsewhere in the region that excessive use of force is not an appropriate response to mass unrest (and support the Responsibility to Protect, R2P, norm).


Arms imports and exports embargo on all parties to the conflict, travel ban on Qadhafi family and key members of the regime, and asset freeze on Muammar Qadhafi and his close family members.

Maximum number of designees during the episode: 16 individual travel ban and 6 individual asset freeze designees.

Potential scope of impact


UN sanctions can have some non-discriminating impact on the general population, since they include arms embargoes, diplomatic sanctions, and/or restrictions on the conduct of particular activities or the export of specific commodities.

Sanctions Committee created, no sanctions monitoring mechanism in place. Designation criteria were specified and targets designated. Enforcement authorities specified.



Policy outcome

Qadhafi regime was intransigent and increased threats to, and attacks on, the Libyan population.

Sanctions contribution

In addition to sanctions, the ICC referral reduced Qadhafi’s room for maneuver, regime was losing control on the ground to rebel forces.



Policy outcome

Immediate drying up of liquidity made it more difficult for the Qadhafi regime to support its mercenary forces.

Sanctions contribution

Financial sanctions were the single most important factor in constraining the regime during this episode.



Policy outcome

Some key regime members defected and invocation of R2P was widely noted in the region and globally.

Sanctions contribution

Given the ICC referral and widespread public condemnations of Qadhafi’s reaction to protests, particularly from the Arab League, sanctions reinforced other measures but were not the decisive factor in the regime’s stigmatization.



Increase in corruption and criminality, strengthening of authoritarian rule, increase in human rights violations, harmful effects on neighboring states, strengthening of political factions, significant administrative burden on implementing states, humanitarian consequences.



  • Refers the situation in Libya (since 15.02.2011) to ICC
  • Imposes arms imports and exports embargo on Libya and specifies exemptions for non-lethal military equipment and related technical assistance or training for humanitarian and protective use (pending prior Committee approval), UN exported protective clothing for personal use of UN, media and humanitarian and development workers and associated personnel, and other approved arms sales and supply
  • Authorizes MS to seize and dispose of items prohibited under the arms imports and exports embargo upon discovery
  • Imposes travel ban (Annex I designations) and specifies humanitarian, religious, peace and reconciliation (pending Committee approval), judiciary, and MS approved stability exemptions
  • Imposes financial asset freeze (Annex II designations) and specifies exemptions for necessary basic expenses, extraordinary expenses, and expenses subject of a judicial, administrative or arbitral lien or judgment (pending Committee approval)
  • Calls for MS inspection of all cargo to and from Libya, if reasonable grounds for sanctions violation
  • Delineates designation criteria


  • Specifies criteria for optional additions of account payments and interests
  • Establishes Sanctions Committee and specifies its mandate
  • Requires MS reporting upon inspection and MS granted travel ban exemption
  • Calls for MS reporting