By John Lee.
The UN Panel of Experts on Libya has published the final report on its work.
Over the reporting period, the predatory behaviour of armed groups posed a direct threat to the political transition in Libya. The use of violence to exert control over State institutions was particularly noticeable in Tripoli and could result in a return of armed confrontations. The Libyan Investment Authority, the National Oil Corporation and the Central Bank of Libya were targets of threats and attacks, affecting the performance of the country’s oil and financial sectors.
Armed groups are also responsible for targeted persecutions and serious hu man rights violations, which are deepening grievances among some categories of the population and ultimately threatening long-term peace and stability in Libya. Most armed groups involved are affiliated with either the Government of National Accord or the Libyan National Army.
Trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants are substantially benefiting armed groups. These activities fuel instability and undermine the formal economy. Criminal networks organize convoys of migrants and use sexual exploit ation to generate significant revenues. The Panel is concerned about the impunity in Libya of those systematically violating the human rights of migrants, notably due to weak law enforcement and large security vacuums. In this regard, the decision of the S ecurity Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya to sanction six smugglers of migrants represents a key step forward.
The Panel is particularly concerned by the attempts of various armed groups to gain legitimacy by ostensibly supporting efforts to combat irregular migration and thereby receive technical and material assistance from foreign actors. During the current mandate, the use of vessels mounted with weapon s has increased in both the east and west of the country.
A growing number of armoured vehicles and pickup trucks fitted with heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles, mortar and rocket launchers has been observed in combat theatres, notably in eastern Libya. These transfers to Libya indicate that all Member States could considerably increase their efforts to implement the arms embargo.
Arms and related materiel from both former regime stockpiles and transfers conducted after 2011 continue to fall into the hands of Libyan and foreign armed groups. The diversion of arms feeds into the increasing insecurity and constitutes a continued threat to peace and security in Libya and neighbouring countries. Foreign fighters and armed groups, moving in and out of Libya, exploit the proliferation of arms and related materiel in the country, resulting in regular violations of the arms embargo.
Since the beginning of its current mandate in August 2017, the Panel has documented six attempts by the eastern National Oil Corpo ration in Benghazi to illicitly export crude oil. Illicit exports of refined petroleum products, by both land and sea, continue to be a prosperous activity. The Panel has identified networks involved in such activities operating in various regions and their modi operandi.
The Panel has analysed available data and information on the assets of the Libyan Investment Authority and has uncovered two major instances of non -compliance with the asset freeze. Through its enquiries, the Panel has exposed varying pr actices and interpretations in the application of the United Nations sanctions, which could have an adverse impact on the management and proper custody of the frozen assets. The Panel has concluded that the asset freeze has not adversely affected the Libyan Investment Authority.