Sanctions Profile: Libya

At a glance

UN sanctions on Libya were first imposed in 2011, by UN Security Council Resolution 1970. They originally consisted of an arms embargo, along with targeted travel bans and asset freezes.

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The resolution also established a Sanctions Committee to oversee and implement these measures. Since its introduction, the sanctions regime has been expanded to target illicit exports of petroleum.

These sanctions were originally established in response to what the UN described in UN Security Council Resolution 1970 as “the gross and systematic violation of human rights, including the repression of peaceful demonstrators” in the country and the Libyan government’s role in it.

EU sanctions on Libya were first imposed in 2011, by Council Regulation (EU) 204/2011 and Council Decision 2011/137/CFSP. They implemented UN sanctions, and comprised an arms embargo along with a travel ban and asset freeze on listed individuals, and later implemented the UN’s new measures targeting illicit exports of petroleum. In addition to implementing the UN sanctions, the EU is able to impose unilateral sanctions listings under the regime.

Since their introduction, UN and EU sanctions have developed to take account of the changing political situation in Libya. Following the fall of the Qadhafi regime, they were amended to take account of the threat posed by people and entities owning or controlling Libyan state funds misappropriated during that regime’s tenure and impose sanctions on those who were involved in its repressive policies or who pose an ongoing threat to the peace or stability of Libya and the completion of its political transition.

In January 2016, the EU consolidated its Libya sanctions into new measures for the sake of clarity, following the many changes made to the regime since its inception. The new measures are Council Regulation (EU) 2016/44 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1333.

Summary of Current UN Sanctions:

General

  • Arms embargo
  • Measures in relation to attempts to illicitly export petroleum, including: (i) Members States being required to direct designated vessels not to load, transport or discharge petroleum (including crude oil and refined petroleum products) from Libya; and (ii) Member States being required to prevent UN-designated vessels from entering their ports

Targeted

  • Asset freeze
  • Travel ban

Designation Criteria

People and entities:

  1. involved in or complicit in ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses in Libya;
  2. acting for, or on behalf of, or at the direction of those identified above;
  3. having violated, or assisted in the evasion of, the provisions of UNSC Resolution 1970, particularly the arms embargo, or to have assisted others in doing so; or
  4. engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya, or obstruct or undermine the successful completion of its political transition.

Summary of Current EU Sanctions:

General            

  • Arms embargo
  • Measures in relation to attempts to illicitly export petroleum, including: (i) Members States being required to direct designated vessels not to load, transport or discharge petroleum (including crude oil and refined petroleum products) from Libya; and (ii) Member States being required to prevent designated vessels from entering their ports

Targeted

  • Asset freeze
  • Travel ban

Designation Criteria

People and entities designated by the UN Security Council or Libya Sanctions Committee established by UN Security Council Resolution 1970.

In addition, people and entities determined by the EU as:

  1. being involved in or complicit in ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing the commission of serious human rights abuses in Libya (including involvement in aerial bombardments on civilian populations or facilities in violation of international law);
  2. having violated or assisted in the violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1970, UN Security Council Resolution 1973, or Council Regulation (EU) 2016/44;
  3. being involved in the repressive policies of the former Qadhafi regime in Libya, or otherwise formerly associated with that regime, and posing a continued risk to the peace, stability or security of Libya, or the completion of its political transition;
  4. being engaged in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya, or obstruct or undermine the successful completion of its political transition; or
  5. owning or controlling Libyan state funds misappropriated during the former Qadhafi regime in Libya, which could be used to threaten the peace, stability or security of the country, or the completion of its political transition.

The EU also specifically lists the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio in a separate annex of its sanctions measures. Both of those listings are implementations of UN listings.

 

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News

Cayman judgment on “use” of funds

The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands has held that the exercise of voting rights by the shareholders of an investment fund to change the directors of the fund was not a “use” of shares within the meaning of the UN Libya sanctions regime, nor a “circumvention” of its prohibitions. The court said the provisions […]

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ECJ judgment on Libya sanctions payments

The ECJ has given judgment in a request for a preliminary ruling from the Hungarian courts in proceedings between two Hungarian banks concerning the payment of costs arising in connection with bank guarantees for public service construction works for the Libyan Housing and Infrastructure Board, which was designated under the EU’s Libya sanctions regime between […]

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UK passes Sanctions (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

The UK has passed the Sanctions (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/26, which make amendments to a number of EU sanctions regimes to ensure (inter alia) that they continue to apply within the UK after Brexit. The Regulations will come into force on exit day.

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UN, US & EU add 1 person to Libya sanctions list

Last week (16 November 2018), the UN Security Council added one individual, Salah Badi, to its Libya sanctions list. As a result, he will now be subject to a UN asset freeze and travel ban. See UN Press Release and Narrative Summary of Reasons for Listing. On 19 November 2018, the US implemented this UN […]

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Third countries align with EU sanctions on Russia/Ukraine & Libya

Russia/Ukraine: Last month, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1237, which prolonged for 6 months its sanctions on Russia over “actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” (see previous blog). The EU has now announced that the following countries have aligned themselves with that Council Decision: Montenegro; Albania; Norway; and […]

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Current Sanctions

EU UK

Consolidated

Council Regulation (EU) 2016/44

Parent Regulation

Council Regulation (EU) 2016/44

Amended by:

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/466

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/690

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/819

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1334

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1687

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1752

Council Regulation (EU) 2017/488

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/489

Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1325

Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1419

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1423

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1456

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1974

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2006

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2260

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/126

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/166

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/200

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/711

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/870

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1073

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1245

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1285

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1863

Council Regulation (EU) 2018/2004

Consolidated

Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1333

Parent Decision

Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1333

Amended by:

Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/478

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2016/694

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2016/816

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2016/1340

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2016/1694

Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/1755

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2017/497

Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/621

Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1338

Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1427

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2017/1429

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2017/1458

Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1776

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2017/1976

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2017/2008

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2017/2265

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/132

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/167

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/203

Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/476

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/713

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/872

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/1086

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/1250

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/1290

Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1465

Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/1868

Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/2012

Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018

Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (Commencement No 1) Regulations 2018

Sanctions Review Procedure (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

Sanctions (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019