A wide view of the Security Council as Members unanimously adopt resolution of sanctions against the Libyan leadership UN photo)
The Security Council Saturday night voted unanimously to impose sanctions against the Libyan authorities, slapping the country with an arms embargo and freezing the assets of its leaders, while referring the ongoing violent repression of civilian demonstrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In its Resolution 1970, the Council obligated all United Nations Member States to “freeze without delay all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories, which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the individuals or entities” listed in resolution.
The Council imposed a travel ban on the Libyan leader, Muammar Al Qathafi and other senior figures in his administration, including some members of his family and other relatives.
“All Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, from or through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related material of all types, including weapons and ammunition,” according to the arms embargo clause of the resolution.
The arms embargo also prohibits Libya from exporting all arms and related materiel, and obligates UN Member States to prevent the procurement of such items from Libya by their nationals.
The Council directed the Libyan authorities to cooperate fully with the ICC in its investigations of the situation in Libya since February 15, , while recognising that the country is not party to the Rome Statute that created the Court.
In their resolution, members of the Council said that they considered that the “widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity.”
The Council demanded an immediate end to the violence and called for steps to fulfil “the legitimate demands of the population.” It called upon the Libyan authorities to ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and their assets, and to facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country.
It also called for safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies, and humanitarian agencies and workers, into Libya, and demanded the immediately lifting of restrictions on the media.
In remarks to the Security Council soon after the resolution was adopted, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the move, saying that while the measure cannot, by itself, end the violence and the repression, it is a clear expression of the will of a united community of nations.
“The actions taken by the regime in Libya are clear cut violations of all norms governing international behaviour and serious transgressions of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Mr. Ban.
“It is of great importance that the Council in response has reached the consensus and is determined to uphold its responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security,” he said.
He reiterated that peace and stability are at stake across the Arab world, adding that the world's collective challenge is to provide real protection and halt the ongoing violence.
“The text sends a strong message that gross violations of basic human rights will not be tolerated, and that those responsible for grave crimes will be held accountable.
“I hope the message is heard, and heeded, by the regime in Libya. I hope it will also bring hope and relief to those still at risk. The sanctions you have imposed are a necessary step to speed the transition to a new system of governance that will have the consent and participation of the people,” said the Secretary-General.
He said he will continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in close touch with world and regional leaders to ensure their support for swift and concrete international action.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express my solidarity with the people of Libya as they brave the bloodshed and as they cope with possible shortages of food and medical supplies and other humanitarian impacts.
“As the Libyan people take their destiny into their hands, as is their right, I hope that the new future for which they yearn, peaceful, prosperous and democratic, will soon be theirs,” Mr. Ban added.