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.
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.
Qadhafi regime was intransigent and increased threats to, and attacks on, the Libyan population.
In addition to sanctions, the ICC referral reduced Qadhafi’s room for maneuver, regime was losing control on the ground to rebel forces.
Immediate drying up of liquidity made it more difficult for the Qadhafi regime to support its mercenary forces.
Financial sanctions were the single most important factor in constraining the regime during this episode.
Some key regime members defected and invocation of R2P was widely noted in the region and globally.
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.