Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reports on crimes committed in Libya, warns that fundamental issues of peace and security are at stake
Remarks to Security Council Meeting on Peace and Security in Africa
Office of the Secretary-General
25 February 2011
(…) Before we discuss the deeply disturbing situation in Libya, let me quickly update you on developments elsewhere in Africa. We are all gravely concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Côte d'Ivoire, as perhaps you have seen in my statement earlier today.
Clashes between security forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo and armed groups opposing them have resulted in significant civilian fatalities in several areas of Abidjan. We are also receiving reports of renewed fighting in the west of the country. Once again, I urge the security forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo to stop the violence.
The government has a clear responsibility to protect its civilian population. Its armed forces must carry out those responsibilities professionally and impartially. (…)
(…) Fundamental issues of peace and stability are at stake, most immediately at this moment in Libya.
(…) These accounts -- from the press, from human rights groups and from civilians on the ground - raise grave concerns about the nature and scale of the conflict. They include allegations of indiscriminate killings, arbitrary arrests, shooting of peaceful demonstrators, the detention and torture of the opposition and the use of foreign mercenaries.
We are also hearing reports of women and children being among the victims, as well as reports of indiscriminate attacks on foreigners believed to be mercenaries. We know from the Red Crescent and the ICRC that there are dangerous impediments to medical treatment and access of humanitarian workers.
We do not have conclusive proof, but the reports appear to be credible and consistent. I strongly believe that the first obligation of the international community is to do everything possible to ensure the immediate protection of civilians at demonstrable risk. (…)
(…) I would like to underscore the statement of the High Commissioner to the Human Rights Council Ms. Pillay. As she reminded Member States, when a State is manifestly failing to protect its population from serious international crimes, the international community has the responsibility to step in and take protective action in a collective, timely and decisive manner. (…)
(…) My Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to protect have reminded the national authorities in Libya, as well as in other countries facing large-scale popular protests, that the heads of State and Government at the 2005 World Summit pledged to protect populations by preventing genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, as well as their incitement. (…)
(…) Some of the proposals being considered by you include: the imposition of trade and financial sanctions, including targeted measures against the leadership such as a ban on travel and the freezing of financial assets.
Some Member States call for a comprehensive arms embargo. Others draw our attention to the clear and egregious violations of human rights taking place in Libya and urge the Security Council to take effective action to ensure real accountability. (…)
Summary of Resolution 1970:
Deploring what it called “the gross and systematic violation of human rights” in strife-torn Libya, the Security Council this evening demanded 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 the family of Muammar Al-Qadhafi and certain Government officials.
Unanimously 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. It called on all Member States to facilitate and support the return of humanitarian agencies and make available humanitarian and related assistance in Libya and expressed its readiness to consider taking additional appropriate measures as necessary to achieve that.
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.
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.