Since 2018, the U.N. included the most important militia chiefs in sanction lists. These persons were in the same time chiefs of detention centers, bosses of human smuggling of boat-people, commanders of the so called Libyan Coastguard – and the most important pillars of the GNA (Western Libyan Government). The sanctions have been legimated by evidence of torture, extorsions and corruption.

In a certain manner, these sanction lists were the weak answer of the U.N. to the Italian transformation of the western criminal coast militias to a proxy of the Fortress Europe in 2017.

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime published in April 2021 the informal arrangement between U.N., EU, GNA and these militias chiefs: The sanctions would remain without result if the criminal militias act in the future „on land“, creating diffulties for the refugees to escape to Europe.

The GNA assured good will to the U.N., with „arrest warrants or asset freezes issued by the Interior Ministry for notorious figures such as al-Dabashi and Mohammed Kushlav. Due to his understanding of the pressure and scrutiny he faced, al-Dabashi also distanced himself from human smuggling. For example, in August [2020], he insisted […] saying: ‚I will stop any smugglers I find on the land‘ […].

Broadly speaking, the governing paradigm included securing the support of subordinate groups by allowing sufficient access to resources (in many cases this meant access to criminal activity) in a semi-feudal manner, and minimizing local instability by the same means. On the other hand, this had to be balanced with the interests of the GNA, which in turn depended on the support of European countries by keeping migrant departures, and other criminal activities, below the threshold that would attract scrutiny and reprisal.“ (p. 31)

These militia chiefs were not arrested but celebrated, corresponding to the conditions of the Fortress Europe, in continuity of known criminal activities and as pillars of the GNA.

Libya: U.N. sanctions, EU conditions, and new difficulties to escape to Europe