The Charter of the United Nations – an international treaty – obligates Member States to settle their disputes by peaceful means, in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered. They are to refrain from the threat or use of force against any state, and may bring the dispute before the Security Council. The UN Charter gives the Security Council primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. The Council may convene at any time, whenever peace is threatened. All Member States are obligated under the UN Charter to carry out the Security Council’s decisions. When the Council considers a threat to international peace, it first explores ways to settle the dispute peacefully. It may suggest principles to the parties for a peaceful settlement, appoint special representatives, ask the Secretary-General to use his good offices, or undertake investigation and mediation. It has developed and refined the use of non-military measures including arms embargoes on travel and banks, and restrictions to guard against the exploitation of natural resources to fuel conflicts, as well as taking a lead role in the coordination of international counter-terrorism efforts.


Libya, an oil-rich country in the Maghreb with the total population of 6.4 million, is considered one of the most fractured countries in the world. Ever since its former leader, Muammar Gaddafi was toppled down six years ago after a domestic rebellion, culminating with the Western military intervention, political situation in Libya has deteriorated leaving the society in turmoil and its economy in despair. With the presence of rival governments, competing militias, a rise of Islamist militancy and thousands of migrants passing through the country on their way to Europe, the situation in Libya does not only pose a threat  to the Libyan society itself, but also to the regional peace and stability. The Libyan security vacuum has a significant impact on the security of neighboring countries, and affects Europe as well as regions beyond.

The post Gaddafi Libya is now suffering three main consequences:

  • A power vacuum left after the implosion of Gaddafi’s institutions.
  • The development of armed non-state actors and Islamist groups.
  • The collapse of the state’s exclusive coercive power has made it easier for new armed actors to implement their political ideas through violence in some sub-regions, especially regarding Salafist movements , such as ISIL and Ansar al-Sharia.

At the same time, the loss of state control has also enabled conflict constellations between cities, ethnic groups and tribes.

The efforts made by the UNSMIL, the Arab League and other regional actors to stabilize the country are welcomed, but they have proven to be insufficient to bring back peace and stability to Libya. In this unstable scenario, it is now more important than ever to build strong alliances and create a comprehensive consensus.


The ongoing civil war in South Sudan has impacted the stability and political landscape of the new state. Approximately 2.7 million people have been displaced either to the UN peacekeeping bases or neighbor countries. Despite the August 2015 peace agreement, ongoing armed conflict in South Sudan poses a direct threat to populations who are being targeted on the basis of ethnicity and presumed political loyalties. The peace agreement, which led to the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity, has not de-escalated the tensions. Instead, country, in the beginning of 2017, saw the escalation of violent conflicts between the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) and Sudan’s People Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLAIO).

The United Nations Security Council established the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in July 2011 and reinforced its mandate in May 2014, but the mission has encountered obstacles in cooperation with the government and with the ongoing intrastate civil war. On 15 December the UNSC adopted a resolution extending UNMISS’ mandate for an additional year. The resolution also authorized UNMISS to monitor, investigate and report on incidents of hate speech and incitement to violence in cooperation with the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. On 23 December the UNSC failed to adopt a resolution authorizing an arms embargo and further targeted sanctions when eight members of the Council abstained from voting. The UNMISS in cooperation with the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect political commitment have so far not been able to fulfill its goals to help stabilize the country.

South Sudan faces many challenges including the lack of economic and political stability, which has led to subsequent problems of famine and a displaced population. The crisis in South Sudan highlights very clearly some of the key problems surrounding the practical implementation of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, while international community is unable to forestall a humanitarian disaster that is well underway.

Country Matrix:

Russian Federation*
United Kingdom*
United States*
Libya/South Sudan**
*P5 members