By Nangayi Guyson – New York —UN deploring what it called “the gross and systematic violation of human rights” in strife-torn Libya, the Security Council has voted unanimously to impose sanctions on Muammar Gaddafi’s regime demanding an end to the violence and decided to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court while imposing an arms embargo on the country and a travel ban and assets freeze on his family and certain Government officials.
Saturday night’s vote was only the second time the Security Council has referred a country to the ICC, and the first time such a vote has been unanimous.
Adopting resolution 1970 (2011) under Article 41 of the Charter’s Chapter VII, the Council authorized all Member States to seize and dispose of military-related materiel banned by the text and adopt “all measures necessary” to secure the prompt and safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.
Through the text, the Council also decided to establish a new committee to monitor sanctions, to liaison with Member States on compliance and to respond to violations and to designate the individuals subject to the targeted measures. Individuals and entities immediately subjected to the targeted sanctions were listed in an Annex to the resolution.
Regarding its referral of the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the Council recognized that States not party to the Rome Statute that established the Court had no obligations to it, but urged all States and concerned organizations to cooperate fully with the Court’s Prosecutor.
The Council affirmed it would keep the actions of the Libyan authorities under continuous review and would be prepared to strengthen, modify, suspend or lift the prescribed measures in light of compliance or non-compliance with the resolution.
Following the adoption of the text, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Council’s “decisive” action. “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,” he said.
He expressed hope that the message that “gross violations of basic human rights will not be tolerated and that those responsible for grave crimes will be held accountable” would be “heard and heeded” by the Libyan regime and that it would bring hope and relief to those still at risk. He looked for similar action from the General Assembly and the international community as a whole, and warned that even bolder steps might be necessary.
Reaction to Sanctions
Mustafa Abdel-Jalil – who resigned as justice minister in protest against the excessive use of force against demonstrators – said a body comprising military and civilian figures would prepare for elections within three months, Libya’s privately-owned Quryna newspaper reported.
Libya’s ambassadors to the United States and UN have both reportedly voiced their support for the plan, which was being discussed in the rebel-controlled eastern town of Benghazi.
“The sanctions will help put an end to this fascist regime which is still in existence in Tripoli,” said Ibrahim Dabbashi, who declared his opposition to Col Gaddafi at the start of the week.
The UN estimates more than 1,000 people have died as Col Gadddafi’s regime attempted to quell the 10-day-old revolt.