12 EU restrictive measures against Libya |
Council Decision concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya
Council Regulation concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya
|Legal base||(a) Article 29 TEU; unanimity
(b) Article 215 TFEU; QMV
|Department||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration||Minister's letter of 27 February 2011
(a) EM of 28 February 2011
(b) EM of 1 March 2011
|Previous Committee Report||None
|Discussed in Council||28 February 2011
|Committee's assessment||Politically important
12.1 On 23 February 2011 the European Union expressed its grave
concern over the situation unfolding in Libya; strongly condemned
the violence and use of force against civilians; deplored the
repression against peaceful demonstrators; and reiterated its
call for an immediate end to the use of force and for steps to
address the legitimate demands of the population.
12.2 More recently, on 27 February 2011, the High
Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
and Vice-President of the Commission (Baroness Ashton), made today
the following statement:
"I welcome today's adoption of a resolution
by the United Nations Security Council in regard to the events
taking place in Libya.
"The European Union fully endorses this resolution
and will implement the restrictive measures as a matter of urgency.
"The EU had already started to work on restrictive
measures such as assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo and
preparations are already well underway. Formal adoption will take
place as soon as possible to ensure full and immediate implementation.
"I am in constant contact with international
partners, including with the UN and the US, to discuss next steps.
On Saturday I met with U.S Under Secretary of State Bill Burns,
and I spoke at length by telephone with Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton to discuss the next steps following today's UNSC resolution.
We will continue this conversation when we meet in Geneva on Monday
and we continue to coordinate our efforts over the weekend.
"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. 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 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.
"The EU continues to work together to coordinate
the evacuation of EU citizens and support humanitarian efforts.
"The EEAS crisis response arrangements are fully
in place, evaluating constantly the situation and recommending
action on all fronts: situation of EU citizens and progress on
evacuation, political situation, diplomatic effortsboth
in New York and Genevaand, together with ECHO, humanitarian
"Following the meeting of the EEAS Crisis Cell
on Saturday morning another teleconference with EU capitals was
held in the afternoon to coordinate evacuation and consular efforts."
The Minister's letter of 27 February 2011
12.3 On 27 February 2011, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Alistair Burt)
wrote to advise the Committee that it would be necessary to adopt
a Council Decision and Council Regulation
to respond to the crisis in Libya; and to say that, in view
of fast moving developments on the ground and the need to implement
measures rapidly and effectively, it would be necessary for the
Government to agree to their adoption before the Committee would
be able to scrutinise them.
The draft Council Decision and Council Regulation
12.4 The measures were adopted without discussion
at the 28 February 2011 Transport, Telecoms and Energy Council,
after which the following statement was issued:
"In line with Saturday's decision by the UNSC,
the Council banned the supply to Libya of arms, ammunition and
related material. In addition to the UN measures, the Council
also prohibited trade with Libya in equipment which might be used
for internal repression.
"The Council enacted the following UN measures:
visa ban on 16 persons, including Muammar Qadhafi, parts of his
family closely associated with the regime and other persons responsible
for the violent crackdown on the civilian population since 15
freeze of the assets of Muammar Qadhafi and five members of his
"The Council also adopted as autonomous measures
a visa ban on an additional 10 individuals and an asset freeze
on a further 20 individuals responsible for the violent crackdown
on the civilian population."
The Government's view
12.5 In both his Explanatory Memoranda, the Minister
for Europe (Mr David Lidington) says that, as well as the EU measures,
"considering the full range of other measures
at our disposal, bilaterally and with international partners with
our friends in the Arab League, EU, with the US and other partners
and at the UN
[and] pressing through the UN for asset freezes,
travel bans, sanctions, and the investigation of war crimes and
crimes against humanity. We want action that is legally binding,
targeted and meaningful."
12.6 With regard to the measures, the Minister notes
travel ban is to be enforced using secondary legislation under
Section 8B of the Immigration Act 1971 (as inserted by Section
8 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999);
the secondary legislation currently in
force is the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans)(Amendment)
the procedures for designating individuals
as subject to asset freezes are compliant with fundamental rights:
provision is made for competent authorities of Member States to
authorise the release of frozen funds where necessary in certain
circumstances, for example, to satisfy the basic needs of listed
persons or their dependents and where necessary for extraordinary
expenses; decisions by competent authorities of Member States
in this regard would be subject to challenge in Member State's
courts; prohibitions on transfer of funds and financial services
are exempted where necessary for humanitarian purposes, or where
necessary for supply of foodstuffs, medical equipment or provision
of health care.
the Regulation respects the fundamental
rights and observes the principles recognised in particular by
the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and notably
the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial and the right
to the protection of personal data;
the Regulation says that the Council
shall provide designated persons and entities an opportunity to
present observations on the reasons for their listing; and, where
observations are submitted, the Council will review its decision
in the light of those observations and inform the person or entity
in addition, the asset freezing measures
will be reviewed at regular intervals and at least every 12 months.
12.7 The Minister continues his comments in both
Explanatory Memoranda as follows:
"We stand 100% behind the Libyan people and
their right to express their views free from the threat of assassination,
beatings, rape and intimidation. At a time of cautious optimism
in other parts of the Middle East, Qadhafi's brutality has made
him once more a pariah.
"We will continue to push for a tough approach.
Action is best done on an international basis and we are doing
a lot of preparatory work in order to be able to take further
measures very soon.
"What is important is that we work to end the
appalling and unacceptable violence. We are sending a warning
to people in the Libyan regime that the world is watching them
and will hold them to account. The UK is pressing through the
UN for asset seizures, travel bans, sanctions, and the investigation
of war crimes and crimes against humanity. International justice
has a long reach and a long memory and they will be held to account
for what they do.
"We are also considering additional measures
to the EU restrictive measures:
i) "On Wednesday 23rd February
we secured a unanimous UNSC press statement. We are now looking
at further measures. So far, Qadhafi's shocking brutality has
been met with unanimous condemnation. We are considering all options
including further measures at the UN. We are discussing
with partners how to end the violence and ensure those responsible
for terrible crimes are held to account. Our approach is closely
aligned with the French and we are discussing language.
ii) "We are urgently exploring with our
partners other means by which the UN could bring pressure to bear
on the Libyan regime and protect the Libyan people, including
binding UNSC Resolutions calling for specific actions by the Libyan
authorities and mandating the ICC to investigate individuals.
iii) "The UK has driven today's UN Human
Rights Council Special Session on Libya as part of a concerted
international effort to end the violence in Libya. We welcome
the resolution which calls for an independent international commission
of inquiry and recommends that the UN General Assembly consider
suspending Libya from its seat in the HRC was today passed by
iv) "States have an obligation to protect
their citizens from mass atrocities. The Libyan government should
do so. The UK supports the UN Security Council press statement
issued by the Brazilian Presidency on 22 February, which called
on the Government of Libya to meet its responsibility to protect
its population. We called upon the Libyan authorities to act with
restraint, to respect human rights and international humanitarian
law, and to allow immediate access for international human rights
monitors and humanitarian agencies.
v) "We are discussing the situation with
a range of key partners and co-ordinating closely with them. We
are in close discussions with the US, EU, our friends in the Arab
League and other key allies like Turkey about the whole situation
in North Africa."
12.8 The Minister concludes by saying that his priority
"to make sure our nationals are safe and to
get the message across to people in Libya that they will be held
to account for what happens, what's happened in recent days and
what may happen over the coming days."
12.9 The Council Decision and Regulation raise
no questions per se, but we are reporting them to the House
nonetheless because of the widespread interest in the situation
12.10 We recognise the situation faced by the
Government and, in these circumstances and on this occasion, do
not object to its having agreed their adoption prior to the completion
12.11 We now clear the documents.
61 See http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/cfsp/119453.pdf
for the full text. Back
Full details of UN Security Council resolution 1970 (2011) are
available at http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10187.doc.htm. Back
Available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/119511.pdf.
The Council Regulation implements the policy measures set out
in the Council Decision. Back