In the past weeks, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the Council of the European Union, Canada and the UK, amongst others, have imposed targeted sanctions on Muammar Qadhafi (MQ) and members of his family, including an international travel ban and all funds and assets controlled by them. Almost all (non-US) national and multilateral legislation that we have seen has its roots in the UNSC Resolution 1970 (2011).

The Resolution also imposes an arms embargo, including inspection obligations on governments for any suspicious cargo, and prohibits transit of mercenaries to Libya. However, national and multilateral implementing legislation, often varies significantly from UNSC resolutions. In particular, experience shows that domestic US and EC legislation often goes beyond UNSC resolutions. For example, the US legislation passed before the UNSC sanctions, applies to Libya, not just MQ family members, and covers the Libyan Central Bank. The EU has also extended its sanctions to 20 named individuals and five named entities, including the Libyan Investment Authority. Canada’s legislation on the other hand, adheres more closely to the original scope of coverage of UNSC Resolution 1970.

Issues that have already arisen involve the conflict between US and UK legislation, the extension in the EC of sanctions, and the issue (outside the US) of the specific assets over which the Qadhafi family or the Libyan state organisations it controls, exercise ownership or control. Almost any sanctions issue will involve several different jurisdictions. Penalties for non-compliance are severe.

The Fasken Martineau worldwide teams in the areas of political risk, government affairs, trade law, oil and commodities trading and infrastructure projects are all highly experienced in the legal issues affecting conflicts, political crises and sanctions regimes. We have been involved in the majority of world conflict points for the last 30 years and, in particular, have played pivotal roles in the Iraq, Iran and Serbian crises. We have advised in depth and worked closely with sanctions authorities in all major sanctions regimes in a multitude of countries worldwide.

We have world leader experience in handling, often at a governmental level, as well as at the most practical, front line, day-to-day level, commercial catastrophes in wars, civil wars and political events. However, our preference is to lawyer and risk manage those risks in advance. The recent events in the Middle East may prompt many companies worldwide to reassess their political risk exposure, a process in which we would be pleased to participate.