Security Council Extends Mandate of United Nations Support Mission in Libya for Twelve Months, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2095 (2013)

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Security Council
6934th Meeting (AM)

Also Modifies Arms Embargo, Extends Expert Panel’s Mandate; Hears from Top Envoy, Sanctions Committee Chair, Libya’s Prime Minister

The Security Council today extended for 12 months the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya to assist the authorities in defining national needs and priorities and match those with offers of strategic and technical advice, and modified the two-year-old ban on arms imports to boost the country’s security and disarmament efforts.

The Council adopted the Chapter VII resolution — 2095 (2013) — unanimously, following briefings by the United Nations envoy in that country and Rwanda’s Ambassador in his capacity as Chair of the Council’s Sanctions Committee, as well as a statement by Libya’s Prime Minister, who called for “patience” during the country’s steady “march” towards the establishment of a democratic State.

Today’s resolution set out the tasks of the Mission, known as UNSMIL, which, focused on managing the democratic transition and included technical advice and assistance to the electoral process and the drafting of a new constitution; rule of law promotion and human rights protection; restoration of public security; countering weapons proliferation; and supporting efforts to promote reconciliation.

In important adjustments to the arms embargo, launched by resolution 1970 of 26 February 2011, the Council lifted the requirement that the Sanctions Committee approve supplies of non-lethal military equipment and assistance for humanitarian or protective use. It also removed the need for notification to the Committee of non-lethal military equipment being supplied to the Libyan Government for security or disarmament assistance, and urged the Government to improve the monitoring of arms supplied to it, including through the issuance of end-user certificates.

Also by the text, the Council kept in place the asset freeze and extended for 13 months the expert panel assisting the Sanctions Committee in monitoring implementation of the remaining sanctions. The Panel’s mandate is set out, and includes assisting the Sanctions Committee in carrying out its functions; analysing information from States and relevant bodies; and expediting investigations of non-compliance.

Prior to the resolution’s adoption, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of UNSMIL, Tarek Mitri, reported that, in mid-February, the Libyan people had taken to the streets to mark the second anniversary of their revolution. Thousands had gathered in Benghazi’s Freedom Square calling for an end to the political and socioeconomic marginalization of the east and for greater stability. Contrary to widespread concern, those incidents had not destabilized the country.

He commended the Libyan leadership for its efforts to defuse tensions and provide significant security measures during what he called a “largely peaceful and celebratory demonstration of pride in the revolution”. Leaders had reached out across the political spectrum in the east and used the opportunity to reiterate their commitment to justice, national reconciliation and improvements in the economic and local governance — a key demand in the east.

Presenting several updates on the most recent and critical developments, he discussed a political debate that culminated in a decision that an amendment of the Constitutional Declaration by the General National Congress was required in order to move forward in drafting a new constitution. In recent weeks, a political crisis had resulted from the controversy over a proposed law on “political isolation”, with proponents arguing that it was a necessary tool to protect the revolution and to ensure that those who had corrupted public life under the previous regime be excluded from public office.

He said the legitimacy of adopting measures to exclude from public office individuals who had committed serious human rights violations constituted a valid transitional justice measure. However, UNSMIL urged caution on its adoption, and highlighted international standards that should apply to any vetting mechanism.

On 5 March, a special session of the General National Congress to discuss the draft law ended in disarray after protestors threatened to use force unless Congress members voted to adopt the draft law. He strongly deplored that armed intimidation of the parliament and the attempted assassination of President El-Magariaf. Also last week, the Al-Assima television station was stormed by armed men, kidnapping but later releasing the director and five of his staff.

Mr. Mitri strongly deplored acts of violence against media organizations and journalists, as well as against a church in Benghazi and other places of worship. The Prime Minister had called on the Libyan people to stand with the Government when it used force against people breaking the law.

Among other developments, Mr. Mitri noted that the Government had taken measures to accelerate the screening of detainees and their transfer to State-controlled detention facilities. But, UNSMIL continued to highlight the plight of detainees, particularly those held in secret detention facilities, including farms and private homes in the Toripoli area. Libyan authorities had challenged a decision of the International Criminal Court to surrender the former intelligence chief.

The first international high-level meeting since Libya’s revolution was held on 12 February in Paris, he recalled. International partners endorsed the detailed priorities articulated by the Libyan Government in the form of a Security, Justice and Rule of Law Development Plan. “The onus is now on the Libyan Government to take relevant policy decisions and create appropriate coordination structures that would contribute towards the implementation of its action plans,” he said.

He said that the Libyan people had come a long way since the liberation of the country 17 months ago, but the security problem remained formidable, and was arguably the predominant concern of most Libyans. Significant progress was hampered by weak State institutions and security coordination mechanisms, as well as continuing mistrust of the State’s security forces by many of those who fought during the revolution, most of whom remained armed.

Related to that, he said Libya remained awash with unsecured weapons and munitions, which posed a regional security risk given Libya’s porous borders. UNSMIL would continue to help the Government enhance security and address the problems associated with weapons proliferation and the continued presence of armed groups outside the legitimate control of the State.

Given the legacy bequeathed to the Libyan people by the former regime, the process of democratic transition would surely face an array of obstacles requiring long-term responses, he said. The past few weeks had seen increased political polarization in the debate over the draft political isolation law and attempts to openly undermine the authority of the democratically-elected bodies and legitimate State institutions. He impressed again upon Libya’s political leadership that safeguarding the democratic transition would require an inclusive dialogue leading to genuine national reconciliation.

Briefing next, on the final report of the Panel of Experts under resolution 2040 (2012) of 15 February, Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana of Rwanda, said that, despite notable efforts, most of the challenges to implementation and enforcement had persisted. The Panel noted that Libya’s security sector was still being built, but meanwhile, the proliferation of weapons from Libya had continued at a worrying scale and spread into new territory.

It, thus, expressed concern that while several Member States had notified the Sanctions Committee of the transfers of military and other material to the Libyan authorities for security purposes, Libya lacked any official procurement mechanism. The Panel also reported on cases of arms and ammunition transfers during the recent uprising and on its ongoing investigations in that regard.

Concerning the assets freeze, he said that the Panel had focused its efforts on the hidden assets of the two listed entities — the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio — and on the assets of the listed individuals, most of which were believed to be held abroad in different names.

In particular, he added, the Panel had collected information regarding efforts by certain listed individuals to negate the effects of the assets freeze measures by the use of front companies and by accomplices who had assisted them. The Panel also reported on the implementation, or lack thereof, of the asset freeze by certain Member States. On the travel ban, the Panel continued to seek information on all violations with a particular focus on two listed individuals.

On 6 March, he said, the Committee had discussed the Panel’s report and recommendations. The report had been generally well-received, with the main points being: concern about the level and reach of arms proliferation from Libya, with acknowledgement of certain steps taken by the Libyan authorities towards improving the situation; a desire to apply the sanctions framework in partnership with the Libyan authorities and in support of the Libyan-led transition and institution-building process; ways in which to raise awareness of the sanctions measures and to remove any misconceptions of them as barriers to progress; and how to carry forward the Panel’s recommendations.

Of the eight recommendations, the Committee had agreed to take follow-up action on five. A sixth recommendation required no action and the Committee simply took note of it, while the two remaining recommendations were addressed to the Security Council. In relation to the arms embargo, the Committee approved 10 exemption requests and received 29 notifications on which no negative decision was taken. With respect to the assets freeze, the Committee received four notifications on which no negative decision was taken. The Committee responded to four requests for guidance from Member States. The Committee was considering a request for the removal of a name from its travel ban and assets freeze list.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, addressing the Council for the first time since his election on 14 October 2012, reviewed the country’s recent history and the important role played by the Security Council and wider United Nations over the years. He sought continued assistance as the country sought to fulfil the high ideals for human rights and development and prosperity, and to contribute freely and effectively within the international community.

He said his Government was “quite happy” with the mandate renewals today, as the Special Representative and Secretary-General had played a “very prominent role in achieving victory”. He also thanked those countries who supported Libya in various ways towards attainment of that goal on 20 October 2011, and stretched his hand of friendship and cooperation to all regions of the world.

Still, he acknowledged, the security challenges were “enormous and difficult”, but Libya “in a short time” had developed the mechanism and means to exert some control, including in controlling weapons flows from and into the country. In that, it strove to secure its borders and to have a national guard assume security responsibility outside urban areas.

Additionally, he reported, the Government was implementing its justice programme, which might be approved in the coming weeks. In a related endeavour, it had made progress in rehabilitating prisoners in line with international standards, and it had trained 10,000 police officers in addition to those previously trained. The Government was also promoting national reconciliation at all levels, building State institutions and developing legal instruments.

In six months, he hoped work could begin on drafting a constitution, on which future elections would be conducted. Additional efforts were under way to rebuild what had been destroyed in recent years, including in the areas of housing, electricity and communications, and health care.

Libya, he continued, was striving to establish cooperation and had participated in the Paris Conference. Domestically, the Government was “dealing with political isolation with wisdom and alertness”, hoping to entrench justice and human rights, and equal opportunities for all Libyans, into the fabric of the country.

He said his country “had been away from democracy for 42 years” and, as such, it needed “big efforts” and patience as it proceeded along that path. He hoped the international community would understand that. He reassured its members that Libyans would not accept injustice or isolation for any of Libya’s citizens. In closing, he pledged his country’s continued commitment to Security Council decisions, as well as the efforts of the Sanctions Committee to identify hidden assets. He reaffirmed its full commitment to partnership with all countries.

The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and was adjourned at 11:03 a.m.