UN Security Council imposes sanctions, refers Libya to the International Criminal Court

February 27th, 2011 - 3:17 pm ICT by BNO News  

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations Security Council on Saturday voted unanimously to impose sanctions against 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 part one of Resolution 1970, the Council gives the ICC jurisdiction over crimes committed in Libya after February 15, the day of the first protests in Benghazi. This referral to the ICC was required as Libya is not a party to the ICC Rome Statute.

Further, Resolution 1970 imposes an arms embargo and other arms restrictions on Libya. Specifically, it prohibits all states from providing arms to Libya, allowing the transit of mercenaries to Libya, and prohibits Libya from exporting any arms to another state. It also calls upon states to inspect suspicious cargo and “strongly discourage” their nationals from traveling to Libya.

The UN Resolution, adopted during an emergency meeting on Saturday, also imposes an international travel ban on sixteen loyalists to Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi and Gaddafi himself. Five of his loyalists and Gaddafi himself are also subject to a freeze of their assets.

In addition, the Council established a Sanctions Committee to impose targeted sanctions on additional individuals and entities who are suspected of committing serious human rights abuses, including ordering attacks and aerial bombardments on civilian populations and facilities.

Finally, the last part of the Resolution calls upon states to work together to facilitate humanitarian assistance and support the return of humanitarian agencies to Libya. It also expresses its readiness to consider additional measures to achieve the delivery of such assistance.

The adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution was hailed by the international community. “I welcome the resolution you have just adopted unanimously,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the UN Security Council. “While it cannot, by itself, end the violence and the repression, it is a vital step, a clear expression of the will of a united community of nations.”

Ban said the actions taken by the regime in Libya are “clear cut violations” of all norms governing international behavior and “serious transgressions” of international human rights and humanitarian law. “They are unacceptable,” Ban added.

The United States also welcomed the Resolution, calling it a clear warning to the Libyan government that it must stop the killing. “When atrocities are committed against innocents, the international community must speak with one voice and today, it has,” said Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. “Tonight, acting under Chapter VII, the Security Council has come together to condemn the violence, pursue accountability, and adopt biting sanctions, targeting Libya’s unrepentant leadership.”

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, said the European Union would implement the restrictive measures as “a matter of urgency.” She added that the EU had already begun to work on restrictive measures such as assets freeze, travel bans and arms embargoes against Libya.

“Today’s UNSC resolution shows that what is taking place in Libya will not be tolerated by the international community. It shows that the international community is united in its efforts to stop the atrocities taking place in Libya. The violation of human rights must stop now,” Ashton said. “Gaddafi and the Libyan authorities know that their unacceptable and outrageous actions will have consequences. I once again urge him to stop the violence to bring about a peaceful resolution of the situation which is acceptable to the people of Libya.”

The EU High Representative added: “The people of Libya have spoken and Colonel Gaddafi must listen. I stress the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks on civilians and welcome the UNSC decision to refer to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Impunity for crimes committed will not be tolerated by the international community.”

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