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Libya – update May 2022

From Atrocities Watch Monitor N° 4, May 2022
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The stand-off between Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah and Fathi Bashagha continued in April. Despite this, the first meeting of the UN led Joint Committee took place from 13 to 18 April, aiming to determine the constitutional framework for elections. Members of both parliamentary chambers, the House of Representatives (HoR) (who appointed Fathi Bashagh) and the High Council of State (HCS) (who recognise Dbeibah as prime minister) participated.[1] The meetings ended with no agreement in sight and a second round of talks are expected to take place.

While global oil prices are at their highest in years, during mid-April, pro-Bashaga forces forced the closure of oil facilities to pressure Dbeibah to step down. Dbeibah continues to insist that he will only hand power to an elected successor.[2] The National Oil Corporation declared force majeure and was forced to shut down some of its facilities, tribal leaders appear to be behind it. This move was accompanied by the closure of all oil facilities in Whahat according to local residents.[3]  Losses amount to at least $60 million daily.[4] Representatives of both the Government of National Unity (GNU) as well as the HoR have engaged with protesters to resume oil production.[5]

On 21 April, Bashagha and his cabinet held their first meeting in Sabha where they discussed the recent closure of many Libyan oil fields and ports by protesters who demanded Dbeibah step down and hand over power.[6]

Context

In March 2021, the transitional Government of National Unity (GNU) began preparing the nation for presidential elections in December 2021, these did not take place and have been postponed with no clear date in sight.

In early March 2022, parliament appointed a new premier, Fathi Bashaga, to replace Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. Parliament argues that it has the authority to name Bashaga because Dbeibah’s mandate officially ended December 24, 2021. However, Dbeibah says that he will only hand over power to a government emanating from a newly elected parliament.[7] Dbeibah announced plans for presidential elections in June, an exact date has not been set.[8]

International response:

The UN Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and emphasised there can be no military solution to the ongoing situation and demanded all Member States follow the 2011 arms embargo, which prohibited Libyans from exporting arms and obliged Member States to prevent the supply of all weaponry to the country.[9]

ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan, presented to the UNSCa new approach to investigations in the Situation in Libya which was referred by the Council to the Court in 2011. The new approach consists of prioritising referrals made by the Council; working alongside witnesses and survivors to enable their participation in the investigation process; improving the relations with Libyan national authorities and lastly improving cooperation with third States as well as international and regional organisations.[10]

 

 

[1] UNSMIL, SASG Williams closing remarks to members of the High Council of State and the House of Representatives, 18 April 2022,  https://unsmil.unmissions.org/sasg-williams-closing-remarks-members-high-council-state-and-house-representatives

[2] The Arab Daily, “Libya losing $60 million a day in oil installations shutdown,” 30 April 2022, https://thearabweekly.com/libya-losing-60-million-day-oil-installations-shutdown

[3] Daily Sabah, “Libya’s largest oil field shut amid tensions between 2 sides,” 19 April 2022, https://www.dailysabah.com/world/africa/libyas-largest-oil-field-shut-amid-tensions-between-2-sides

[4] The Arab Daily, “Libya losing $60 million a day in oil installations shutdown,” 30 April 2022, https://thearabweekly.com/libya-losing-60-million-day-oil-installations-shutdown

[5] Security Council Report, May 2022 Monthly Forecast, 29 April 2022, https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/monthly-forecast/2022-05/libya-30.php

[6] Security Council Report, May 2022 Monthly Forecast, 29 April 2022, https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/monthly-forecast/2022-05/libya-30.php

[7] The Arab Weekly, “Dbeibah said to reject Turkish mediation bid in Libya,” 8 March 2022, https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-libya/dbeibah-said-reject-turkish-mediation-bid-libya

[8] Daily Sabah, “PM Dbeibah pushes summer election in Libya amid bid to oust him,” 22 February 2022, https://www.dailysabah.com/world/africa/pm-dbeibah-pushes-summer-election-in-libya-amid-bid-to-oust- him

[9] UNSC, Adopting Resolution 2629 (2022), Security Council Extends Mandate of Libya Support Mission until 31 July, Asks Secretary-General to Appoint Special Representative, 29 April 2022, https://reliefweb.int/report/libya/adopting-resolution-2629-2022-security-council-extends-mandate-libya-support-mission

[10] Jurist, “ICC prosecutor reveals Libya investigation strategy to UN Security Council,” 2 May 2022, https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/05/icc-prosecutor-reveals-libya-investigation-strategy-to-un-security-council/

 

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