Libya II - EP 2

Duration: 17-Mar-2011 to 16-Sep-2011

Violence continued to escalate, civilian casualties began to mount, and the rebel force grew in strength and expanded the territory under its control beyond the eastern city of Benghazi. Refugee flows surged, and at least one P5 Member (France) recognized the interim government (the National Transitional Council or NTC). France also took the lead in urging UNSC support for a no fly zone, a move supported by the UK and (more importantly) the Arab League. When Qadhafi threatened to take Benghazi back by force, the UNSC passed UNSCR 1973 (17 March 2011) to protect civilians from the regime, authorizing a no-fly zone and expanding the scope of the financial sanctions to encompass also a number of state-owned institutions, given the difficulty of separating private Qadhafi funds from public state funds. On 25 March 2011, NATO took over military operations and controversies arose among the P5 over the scope of its role in protecting the civilian population. Leaders of France, the UK, and the US called on Qadhafi to step down in a joint statement on 15 April 2011.


Coerce Qadhafi to call off the attack on Benghazi and agree to a cease fire (and to induce defection of senior members of the regime).


Constrain the regime from being able to engage in further armed violence against its population.


Signal the regime leadership and leaders elsewhere in the region that excessive use of force is not an appropriate response to mass unrest (R2P).


Ongoing arms imports and exports embargo on all parties to the conflict and travel ban on Qadhafi family and key members of the regime.

Asset freeze was expanded to Libyan state-owned entities (Libyan authorities, Central Bank, National Oil Corporation, Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio).

Newly imposed aviation ban (and a no-fly zone).


Newly imposed conditional aviation ban (if reasonable grounds for arms embargo violation).

Maximum number of designees during the episode: 20 individual travel ban designees and 15 individual and 6 entity asset freeze designees.

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 Committee in place, Panel of Experts created. Designation criteria were specified and targets designated. Enforcement authorities specified.



Policy outcome

Qadhafi attacked Benghazi, but was driven back by NTC forces and French fighter planes enforcing the no-fly zone; Qadhafi agreed to AU peace process, but it was rejected by the NTC.

Sanctions contribution

Authorization of use of force for the protection of civilians (no-fly zone) was more important than sanctions in repelling attack on Benghazi.



Policy outcome

Evidence of significant financial constraint, as sanctions were expanded (ATM cash withdrawals were capped in the country and interest rates were doubled to try to attract capital), was confirmed by a member of the Libya Panel of Experts; cash disbursements were critical to the payment of mercenary forces by the Qadhafi regime.

Sanctions contribution

Financial sanctions were necessary, but not the only significant factor. Other constraints on the regime were created by the imposition of the no-fly zone, which helped shift the advantage away from the regime.



Policy outcome

Defections continued, and even Qadhafi’s supporters outside the country were more concerned with how to manage his exit than to maintain his rule.

Sanctions contribution

Authorization of use of force for the protection of civilians (no-fly zone, ICC referral, and diplomatic pressure) were more important than sanctions.



Increase in corruption and criminality, increase in human rights violations, harmful effects on neighboring states, strengthening of political factions, significant administrative burden on implementing states, humanitarian consequences, reduction of local institutional capacity, widespread harmful economic consequences.



  • Authorizes MS that notified Secretary-General to take all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya (MS reporting requested), excluding foreign occupation force on any part of Libyan territory
  • Imposes a no-fly zone over Libya and specifies humanitarian, evacuation, civilian protection and no-fly zone enforcement exemptions
  • Authorizes MS that notified Secretary-General and Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to take all necessary measures to enforce the no-fly zone (MS reporting required)
  • Imposes aviation ban on any aircraft registered, owned or operated in Libya, as well as any aircraft if reasonable grounds for arms embargo violation, except in case of emergency landing and prior Committee approval
  • Extends UNSCR 1970 financial asset freeze to all funds and other financial and economic resources owned or controlled by Libyan authorities
  • Imposes UNSCR 1970 travel ban and financial asset freeze on new designees (listed in Annex I and II, respectively)
  • Calls upon MS to inspect vessels and aircrafts to or from Libya if reasonable grounds for arms embargo violation
  • Requires MS to exercise vigilance when doing business with Libyan entities if reasonable grounds contribute to violence and use of force against civilians
  • Delineates designation criteria


  • Establishes Panel of Experts (1 year) and specifies its mandate
  • Requires MS reporting upon inspection