U.N. Security Council Discusses Sanctions Against Libya In Urgent Session Saturday

The 15 member United Nations Security Council met Saturday in an urgent session to discuss a draft resolution that would impose sanctions against Libya as well as refer Colonel Moammar Gaddafi and others in his regime to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to investigate possible crimes against humanity.

The sanctions, which were drafted by France and Britain, call for an arms embargo, asset freeze, and a travel ban.

By late afternoon, diplomats said there was broad support for the sanctions, but disagreement over whether to refer Gaddafi to the ICC.

As Reuters reports:

It was unclear whether the call for an immediate ICC referral would be cut to get unanimous agreement on the draft’s other punitive steps.

In an attempt to break the deadlock, Libya’s U.N. delegation, which has denounced Gaddafi, sent a letter to the president of the Security Council, Brazilian U.N. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, confirming its support for an immediate ICC referral.

Libyan U.N. Ambassador Abdurrahman Shalgam wrote to Viotti that his mission “supports the measures proposed in the draft resolution to hold to account those responsible for the armed attacks against the Libyan civilians, including through the International Criminal Court.”

The council has referred only one other case to the ICC — the conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region. The court has indicted Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for genocide and other crimes against humanity in Darfur.

U.N. Secretary General ban ki-Moon addressed the Secuity Council on Friday and urged member to act swiftly. “In these circumstances, the loss of time means more loss of lives,” the Secretary General said. U.N. estimates put the number killed in Libya at over 1,000 in less than two weeks.

Not all countries are for the sanctions though. MSNBC reports that earlier Saturday, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking from the capital city of Ankara, urged the Security Council not to impose sanctions. His main concern: that the Libyan people, not the government, would suffer most. Turkey is not currently a member of the Security Council. And there were reports of concerns by Portugal that language in the draft referring to the ICC could endanger the Portuguese citizens who remain in Libya.


Erdogan also suggested the international community might be acting more out of concern about Libya’s oil reserves than about the welfare of its people.

“The people are already struggling to find food, how will you feed the Libyan people?” Erdogan asked. “Sanctions, an intervention, would force the Libyan people, who are already up against hunger and violence, into a more desperate situation.”

“We call on the international community to act with conscience, justice, laws and universal humane values — not out of oil concerns,” he said.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron talked on the phone Saturday and agreed the Security Council should approve harsh sanctions against the Libyan regime as soon as possible, Merkel’s spokesman, Christoph Steegmans said in a statement.

Merkel and Cameron also favor European Union sanctions against Libya, he said.

Some, too, are concerned the sanctions won’t work. CNN interviewed Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Ajami noted that Gaddafi has survived sanctions once before, following the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

“The sanctions never worked,” he told CNN. “Anyone with money can break these sanctions.”

Sign the petition to tell Berlusconi: You Can Stop Violence Against Libyans


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Photo of U.N. Security Council chamber courtesy of plusgood


John E.
John E6 years ago

Sanctions don't appear to have had much effect on Mugabe in Zimbabwe ... I think a No Fly Zone is imperative to keep the struggle somewhat even ...
I do understand the Libyan peoples reluctance to invite outsiders to their aid in removing their tyrant... after all, look at the results of such "aid" in Afghanistan and Iraq. So that probably rules out western intervention.
How about a coalition of democracy loving Islamic nations to enforce a No Fly Zone?
Not many to choose from eh?
So I guess the Libyan people are pretty much on their own, while Gaddaffi has the air force.
I wish them all the best.
It's a sad old world.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Ike Charles
Ike Charles6 years ago


Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson6 years ago


Liz Edwards
Joan Edwards6 years ago

Gadhafi himself needs to be brought down; not the whole nation. Therefore I am against sanctions.
Where are all the snipers when you need one?

Edward M.
Edward M6 years ago

Why should any Country take any notice of the UN "Security Council" when each individual member has the use of a veto over all decisions and uses it when needed.
The "Security Council" should be disbanded and all decisions taken by a full UN vote, with either a simple majority or a percentage, for example say 60/40 with no veto permitted.
Perhaps, then and only then, the United Nations can begin the process of becoming what it was always created to be, which was to be an impartial World organisation; only then will it be taken seriously, by each of its current members, as a true international mediator.

Steve P.
Steve P6 years ago

Sanctions never seem to harm the the people they are supposed to, only the innocent citizens seem to suffer.


noted thanks

Bon L.
Bon L6 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Scott W.
Scott Wilson6 years ago

That Clonal Gadhafi should incite riots in his homeland seems so beyond absurd, especially since he seen what happened to his “pal” Saddam Husain.
The people doing the killing are mercenaries, WHO I know we will never find. Now we will soon hear of a great struggle for democracy for the people, that word has long been dead. America has been battering at the doors of Libya for almost 30 years then withdrawing only to go in to new talks after peak oil.

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The Essential Guide to Exploration & Production in the Libyan Oil & Gas Market
Khashayar Bahar & Afshin Javan (May 2000)

Libya is a major oil exporter, particularly to Europe. With the suspension of UN sanctions against Libya, following its extradition of two men suspected in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, oil companies are eager to resume and/or expand operations in Libya.
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