Good News and Bad News
Posted by Clif Burns at 9:27 pm on March 9, 2011
Category: Libya Sanctions
For all you lawyers chomping at the bit to provide legal representation to Col. Gaddafi and the government of Libya, I have, as they say, good news and bad news.
Following tradition, let’s have the good news first. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) today issued General License No. 3 under Executive Order 13566. The general license permits the provision of certain legal services to Colonel Gaddafi, family members, the Government of Libya or other persons or entities blocked by Executive Order 13566. The permitted legal services include representation as to compliance with U.S. law, representation before courts and agencies, and representation with respect to imposition of sanctions. A significant proviso to the general license is that “all receipts of payment of professional fees and reimbursement of incurred expenses must be specifically licensed.” There is nothing particularly unusual about General License No. 3 as it parallels similar provisions relating to payment of legal fees in the regulations promulgated to implement other sanctions programs, such as section 560.525 of the Iranian Transaction Regulations.
Now for the bad news. Executive Order 13566 blocks all the assets of all persons and entities covered by the order, and OFAC severely limits the extent to which blocked funds can be used to pay legal fees. Most significantly the policy only permits the use of blocked funds to pay the legal fees of a U.S. person. Needless to say, no one covered by Executive Order 13566 is a U.S. person. In other words, U.S. lawyers are now authorized to represent Libya as long as they agree to do it pro bono.
Libya: The Hammer Begins to Fall
Posted by Clif Burns at 7:11 pm on February 28, 2011
Category: Libya Sanctions
Now that most U.S. citizens appear to have been evacuated from Libya, the White House has begun to re-impose sanctions on Libya, although they are far from comprehensive. On Friday, February 25, President Obama release an Executive Order that blocked the assets of the government of Libya, Colonel Gadaffi and his family and prohibited the provision or receipt of goods, funds or services to and from these entities and individuals. The Executive Order also invoked section 203(b)(2) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2), to prohibit humanitarian donations of food, clothing or medicine to Gaddafi and his family, although such donations seem unlikely in any event. It is doubtful that any clothing that could be donated to the Colonel would even meet his bizarre sartorial standards.
In addition to the Colonel himself, the Executive Order designated Ayesha, his only daughter; Saif al-Islam, his second oldest son; Mutassim, his fourth eldest son; and Khami, his seventh son. Sons Muhammed, al-Saadi, Hannibal and Saif al-Arab have, at least for the moment, escaped the OFAC ban hammer. Khamis was no doubt singled out for his recruitment of the mercenary force used against protesters in Libya.
The designation order reflects considerable uncertainty about the correct transliteration of the Colonel’s family name. Ayesha and Mutassim have the surname Gaddafi listed first, whereas the Colonel, Saif al-Islam and Khamis have their surname spelled Qadhafi. In all fairness, ABC says that there are 112 known spellings of the Colonel’s name and there was even a 1981 Saturday Night Live skit based entirely on confusion about how to spell his name. And Gaddafi’s own website, algathafi.org, spells the name in a way found almost nowhere else.
In addition to the sanctions imposed on the Colonel and some of his children, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) announced today that all export licenses it had issued for exports to Libya had been suspended until further notice and that no exemption set forth in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations could be utilized for exports of defense articles and services to Libya. Currently only non-lethal defense articles and services and safety-of-use items, such as technical manuals and ejection seats for military aircraft, that are parts for lethal defense articles could be authorized for export to Libya.
Libya Sanctions: Easier Said Than Done
Posted by Clif Burns at 9:39 pm on February 24, 2011
Category: Libya Sanctions
A thoughtful article from the McClatchey News Service explains why no matter how attractive it may seem now to impose economic sanctions on Libya, that is something easier said than done. Administration aides in Washington told McClatchey that even though Obama has so far not called directly for sanctions against Libya, the White House would seek such sanctions in cooperation with international partners.
The first complication, of course, is that the United States does not want to jeopardize the safety of the many Americans that remain trapped in Libya. Although many U.S. citizens have been able to leave on a State Department chartered ferry from Tripoli to Malta, many more U.S. citizens who are working on oil fields are stranded in remote locations. A second problem with sanctions is that, to the extent they try to cut off sales of Libyan oil, they will have a detrimental impact on U.S. consumers by increasing the price of oil. Third, unilateral U.S. sanctions would have little impact on Libya because there is very little trade between the U.S. and Libya. Those are all fair points.
Libya is already subject to an arms embargo under section 126.1 of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Exceptions to the embargo are made for non-lethal defense articles and safety-of-use items, such as technical manuals and ejection seats for military aircraft, as parts for lethal defense articles. The use of military aircraft against the civilian population of Libya could serve as a justification for the elimination of these exceptions, but there is no indication that this is currently being contemplated.