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Libya


1. Latest developments in New York Retour à la table des matières


- On 17 July 2014, members of the Security Council heard Mr Tarik Mitri, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Libya and head of UNSMIL (United Nations Support Mission in Libya) and Mr Mohamed Abdelaziz, Minister of International Cooperation and Foreign Affairs of Libya.

Mr Tarik Mitri stressed the risks of a conflict worsening in Libya, particularly because of the recent tensions between armed groups. The recent clashes in Tripoli and the bombing of the International Airport in Benghazi led to the withdrawal of UNSMIL’s international staff. He also regretted the talks fail between both parties. Finally, he warned the Security Council about the situation of the migrants which transit through Libya in very precarious conditions.

- On 9 June 2014, members of the Security Council heard Mr Tarik Mitri, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Libya and head of UNSMIL (United Nations Support Mission in Libya), and Mr Ibrahim Omar Ali Dabbashi, Permanent Representative of Libya, on the situation in the country, as well as Mr Eugene-Richard Gasana, Permanent Representative of Rwanda and head of the 1970 committee, on the work of the 1970 committee on sanctions against Libya.

Mr Mitri and Mr Dabbashi expressed concern at the deterioration of the security and political situation. Despite deep political disagreements regarding the functioning of institutions, it was crucial that the parliamentary elections of 25 June take place peacefully and on schedule. Mr Dabbashi commended the considerable efforts made by UNSMIL to assist the civil society and to allow a smooth transition, the organization of elections, an elected government with permanent institutions and the adoption of a constitution by the end of 2014.

During private consultations that followed, the Permanent Representative of France reminded that the reconstruction of Libya would be long and difficult. Libyans needed to gather around a common political project through an inclusive process of national reconciliation and an open and democratic dialogue. The UN had to maintain a central role within a strengthened international process in order to promote the transition in Libya. It was also necessary to support a full implementation of the sanctions regime in order to help Libyan authorities control arms flows in Libya.

- On 13 May 2014, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), presented her seventh report on the implementation of resolution 1970 to the Security Council.

The Prosecutor deplored the practice of torture and cases of death in detention centers. The 7000 people who remained detained by armed groups had to be transferred to State authorities. Mrs. Bensouda also encouraged the Libyan authorities to implement the law adopted in April 2013 criminalizing torture, enforced disappearances and discrimination. Those responsible had to be held accountable and brought to justice. Finally, Libya had to meet its international obligations in accordance with resolution 1970 and to cooperate with the Court. Libya had to immediately handover Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to the ICC.

All members of the Security Council expressed concerns about the political and social situation which remained fragile, and about the many challenges to the transition, democracy and the rule of law, including an increase in violence. All members of the Council including France called for cooperation of Libya with the ICC and for the acceleration of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed at the end of 2013 between the attorney general of Libya and that of the prosecutor of the ICC.

- On 10 March 2014, the Security Council held a meeting on the situation in Libya with the Permanent Representative of Libya, Mr Ibrahim Omar Ali Dabbashi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-general in Libya and head of the UNSMIL (United Nations Support Mission in Lybia), Mr Tarek Mitri, and the Permanent Representative of Rwanda and president of the 1970 sanctions committee on Libya, Mr Eugène-Richard Gasana.

Mr Mitri reported a worsened security situation in Libya and a growing frustration on the political process. He expressed concern at the recent increase in violence manifested by the occupation of governmental buildings and the deaths of civilians. He reminded the urgency of rebuilding the Libyan state.

During closed consultations that followed, the Permanent Representative of France expressed concern at the worsened security situation in Libya. He commended the work of the European border assistance mission in Libya, EUBAM Libya. He regretted that the insecurity in the country led to the murder of a French engineer in Benghazi on 2 March. The restoration of the state should remain a priority. In this context, he encouraged the renewal of the UNSMIL as well as the reinforcement of the EUBAM mission.

On 14 March 2014, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2144

- On 16 December 2013, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement expressing its concern at the worsening security situation and political divisions, which threaten to undermine the transition to democracy in the country.

- On 9 December 2013, the Security Council held consultations on UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). Mr. Tarek Mitri, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNSMIL, deplored the precarious humanitarian situation characterized by murders and abductions of officials in Benghazi and Derna. The events of recent months had once again shown the need for a dialogue with armed groups. The head of UNSMIL also returned to the recent popular protests in Benghazi and Tripoli, which had led to the withdrawal of some armed forces from the capital. He also expressed concerns concerning the detention of 8000 detainees related to the 2011 conflict by armed brigades, while UNSMIL pointed out cases of torture and ill-treatment. In this context, Mr. Mitri stressed the role of the United Nations mission in promoting the rule of law and the protection of human rights. Concerning the electoral process, Mr. Mitri noted steady progress towards the election of an assembly tasked with drafting a new Constitution. He stressed the key role that an inclusive national dialogue could play to defuse the excessive political polarization and to produce a shared global vision for the future.

During the private consultations, the representative of France pointed out that Libya entered a long period of instability. The international community needed to increase its efforts to restore stability to Libya and support the current transition to democracy in the country.

-  The complete timeline of events here.

2. Resolutions 1970 and 1973 Retour à la table des matières



Resolution 1970

- On 26 February 2011, the Security Council adopted unanimously resolution 1970, which establishes an arms embargo, imposes individual sanctions (travel band, assets freeze) and refers the case to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Resolution 1970 of 26 February 2011:

— refers the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court;
— Imposes an embargo on weapons to Libya;
— Imposes a travel ban and an assets freeze on Muammar Gaddafi, several members of his family and senior officials of the regime (it creates a sanctions committee to that effect);
— Calls on member States to work together to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Libya.

The Security Council also makes a clear reference to the responsibility to protect.


In his statement after the vote, Gérard Araud, permanent representative of France said: "A wind of freedom is blowing south of the Mediterranean. The Security Council had to seize this historical moment next to the Libyan people."

Gérard Araud made remarks to press after the meeting.

Resolution 1973

- On 17 March 2011, the Security Council, in the presence of Mr Alain Juppé, "ministre d’Etat", Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, adopted resolution 1973 with 10 votes in favour (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, France, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States) and 5 abstentions (Brasil, China, Germany, India, and Russia).

"With this resolution, we are giving ourselves the means to protect the civilian population.

— First, by authorizing the establishment of a no-fly zone and authorizing members of the Arab League and member states that wish to do so, to take the necessary measures to its implementation.
— Then by authorizing these States to take on top on the no-fly zone, all necessary measures to protect the populations and the territories, including Benghazi, which are under the threat of an attack by the forces of the Qaddafi regime.
— Finally, this resolution makes it possible to strengthen sanctions against the Qaddafi regime, whether it be with respect to the arms embargo, the moratorium on oil revenues, or the prohibition of certain financial transactions."

Alain Juppé, 17 March 2011, Security Council


Before the vote on the resolution, the Minister made a statement in which he said: "We are running out of time. It is a matter of days, maybe a matter of hours. With every day, every hour that passes, the forces of repression are clamping down on civilian populations in quest of freedom, in particular the population of Benghazi. Every day, every hour that passes increases the weight of responsibility that weighs on our shoulders. Let us not be too late! The honour of the Security Council will be upheld if in Libya we make sure that law prevails against force, democracy against dictatorship, freedom against oppression".


Alain Juppé voting for resolution 1973 - New York, 17 March 2011 (AFP)


Before the meeting of the Security Council, the Minister spoke to the United Nations press corps and gave an interview to the French TV channel TF1 (in French).

See also the statement of the spokeperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs announcing the Minister’s visit to New York.

3. Chronology leading up to the adoption of the resolutions Retour à la table des matières

- On 15 February 2011, riots broke out in Benghazi, the second largest city in Libya. In the days that followed, the movement spread and grew, despite a brutal crackdown. The army drove back the demonstrators with live ammunition; reports also claimed the use of heavy weapons in Benghazi. Human Rights Watch reported on 21 February that at least 233 people had died in the country.

The violence perpetrated against the demonstrators was widely condemned. On 23 February, President Sarkozy declared that "France again calls for an immediate end to the violence in Libya and urges the leaders of this country to immediately engage in a political dialogue in order to put an end to the ongoing tragedy" (read the statements made by the French authorities).

On 21 February, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, spoke on the telephone with Muammar Gaddafi. He urged Colonel Gaddafi to put an end to the violence against the demonstrators and to respect “fundamental freedoms and human rights, including the right of free assembly and the right to information.”

On 22 February, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navenethem Pillay, mentioned possible crimes against humanity and demanded an “immediate halt to the serious human rights violations perpetrated by the Libyan authorities.” The UN demanded that an independent international inquiry be opened.

Mr. Dabbashi, Deputy Ambassador of the Libyan Mission to the UN, disassociated himself from the regime along with several colleagues of the Libyan mission on Monday, 21 February 2011 in a statement to the press. He sent a letter to the Security Council on 21 February on behalf of the Permanent Representation of Libya to the UN, asking for “an urgent meeting of the Security Council in order to discuss the grave situation in Libya and to take appropriate action.”

- On 22 February 2011 the Security Council held an emergency meeting in a private format (open to UN member states and observers only) under the agenda item "Peace and Security in Africa", to listen to a report by the Secretariat (Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs) and the Permanent Representative of Libya to the UN. The Council then met in private consultations. After the meeting, the president of the Security Council made a press statement.

- The Security Council met in a formal session on 25 February 2011 to hear a briefing of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the situation in Libya. The permanent representative of Libya, Mr Shalgam, also addressed the Council, disassociating himself completely from Colonel Gaddafi. The Security Council then met in private consultations to examine a draft sanctions resolution. After the meeting, the president of the Security Council made the following statement:

"The members of the Security Council continue to be gravely concerned about the deteriorating situation in Libya, and particularly about the reports of civilian casualties on a very large scale, and called for an immediate end to violence.

The members of the Security Council reiterated the need for the Libyan authorities to ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and to facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the strong positions taken by the League of Arab States and the African Union.

The members of the Security Council agreed to consider urgently a draft Security Council resolution including specific, targeted measures aimed at putting an end to violence, helping achieve a peaceful solution to the current crisis, ensuring accountability and respecting the will of the Libyan people.

With this in mind the Security Council decided to meet tomorrow morning."

Gerard Araud, permanent representative of France, made remarks to the press after the meeting.

- The Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted on 25 February 2011 a resolution recommending to the UN General Assembly the supsension of Libya (member of the organization since May 2010) from its ranks and deciding to dispatch an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the violations of international human rights committed by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, which could be regarded as "crimes against humanity". The resolution was proposed by the European Union and was adopted by consensus by the 47 Council members.. The UN General Assembly is the only body empowered to order such a suspension by a two third majority (under Article 8 of resolution 60/251 on the functioning of the Human Rights Council).

- On 26 February 2011, the Security Council adopted resolution 1970.

- On 1st March 2011, the General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution suspending Libya from the Human Rights Council in Geneva. France co-sponsored the resolution along with 72 Member States (including all EU Member States). This resolution followed a resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 25 February recommending that the UNGA consider such a suspension. Only the UNGA can suspend a member of the Council of Human Rights (by consensus or a two-thirds majority) in cases of gross and systematic violations of human rights. This is the first time such a suspension has occurred.

- On 10 March 2011, France recognised the National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

- On 14 March 2011, the Security Council met in private consultations to discuss "The situation in Libya", following the Arab League statement on 12 March calling on "the Security Council to bear its responsibilities towards the deteriorating situation in Libya, and to take the necessary measures to impose immediately a no-fly zone on Libyan military aviation, and to establish safe areas in places exposed to shelling as a precautionary measure that allows the protection of the Libyan people and foreign nationals residing in Libya, while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighboring States."

Before the meeting, Ambassador Araud said to the press: “France and the UK have been in favor of a no-fly zone for some time. So now that there is this Arab League statement we do hope that it is a game-changer for the other members of the Council.” He said after the meeting that a draft resolution would be presented to members of the Council in view of its adoption "as soon as possible". "We are moving forward", he added. "The problem for us is the urgency. The Qaddafi forces are moving forward. We would prefer to act as soon as possible. We would prefer that our partners on the Security Council would have the same sense of urgency we have."

- On 15 March 2011, the Security Council met in consultations during which a new draft resolution was introduced, which would include a no-fly zone.

Before the meeting, Ambassador Araud said to the press: "We are deeply distressed by the fact that the things are worsening on the ground, that the Kadhafi forces are moving forward extremely quickly and that this council has not yet reacted. So my authorities would want to move as quickly as possible to have a resolution in this Council. So it means for us in the very coming days. We want a resolution. We want to respond to what the Arab League has requested, already three or four days ago."

- 16 March 2011: the Security Council met in private consultations to discuss a draft for a new resolution on Libya. France asked that the Security Council vote on the resolution the following day.

- On 17 March 2011, the Security Council adopted resolution 1973 authorizing member states to take all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya.

- On 19 March 2011, France launched Operation "Harmattan" and attacked pro-Khadafi forces moving on Benghazi in defense of its population. On 31 March, military operations to protect civilians came under the command of NATO and were named "Unified Protector".

- On 16 September 2011, the credentials of the CNT appointed representatives of Libya were accepted by the United Nations General Assembly. The Security Council adopted resolution 2009, which created UNMIL, a political mission with a mandate to assist the new Libyan authorities in the reconstruction of institutions and which partially lifted the financial sanctions on Libya.

- On 20 October 2011, the Libyan authorities announced the capture and death of Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte.

- On 23 October 2011, the National Transition Council proclaimed the liberation of Libya.

- On 27 October 2011, following the proclamation of the liberation of Libya by its new authorities and the subsequent announcement by NATO that it would put an end to its operations, the Security Council adopted resolution 2016, lifting the no-fly zone and the authorization to resort to force.


(May 2014)

4. Latest French statements Retour à la table des matières


Read all the statements made by the French authorities on the situation in Libya on the website of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs


In New York

- 30 July 2014 - Security Council - UNSC wrap up for the month of July - Statement by Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations

- 13 May 2014 - Security Council - Libya /ICC - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

- 14 November 2013 - Security Council - Libya/ICC report - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

- 8 May 2013 - Security Council - Libya/ICC report - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

- 7 November 2012 - Security Council - Libya/Report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, chargé d’Affaires a.i. of France to the United Nations

- 16 May 2012 - Security Council - Libya/ICC report - Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent representative of France to the United Nations

-  All French Statements in New York here


Other statements

- 23 October 2011 - Declaration of Libya’s liberation by the National Transitional Council – Statement by Mr. Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

- 28 March 2011 - Joint statement by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron

- 19 March 2011 - Paris summit for the support of the Libyan people


5. Reference documents Retour à la table des matières

- 23 July - Security Council - Press statement on Libya

- 17 July 2014 - Security Council - Press statement on Lybia

- 23 June 2014 - Security Council - Press statement ahead of 25 June elections

- 14 mars 2014 - Security Council - Resolution 2144

- 16 December 2013 - Security Council - Presidential statement

- 18 June 2013 - Security Council - Press Statement.

- 13 May 2013 - Security Council - Press Statement - on deadly attack in Benghazi

- 23 April 2013 - Security Council - Press Statement - Attack against the French Embassy in Tripoli

- 14 March 2013 - Security Council - Resolution 2095, extending for one year UNSMIL mandate.

- 12 September 2012 - Security Council Press statement on attacks against the United Nations diplomatic personnel

- 10 July 2012 - Security Council Press statement on Libya elections

- 12 March 2012 - Resolution 2040 extending the mandate of UNMIL for a period of 12 months

- 31 October 2011 - Resolution 2017 - On proliferation of arms in Libya

- 27 October 2011 - Resolution 2016 - lifting the no-fly zone and the authorization provided by resolution 1973 to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of civilian populations

- 19 September 2011 - Resolution 2009 allowing the creation of a United Nations mission in Libya.

- 28 March 2011 - Briefing by the Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970

- 19 March 2011 - Paris Summit for the support to the Libyan people - Final Communique

- 17 March 2011 - Resolution 1973

- 1 March 2011, General Assembly - Resolution 65/265 - Suspension of the rights of membership of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in the Human Rights Council

- 26 February 2011 - Resolution 1970

6. Useful links Retour à la table des matières

- Website of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 concerning Libya



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