Deploring what it called ‘the gross and systematic violation of human rights’ in strife-torn Libya, on 26 February the Security Council adopted Resolution 1970 (2011), where it demanded an end to the violence and decided to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court while imposing an arms embargo on the country and a travel ban and assets freeze on the family of Muammar Al-Qadhafi and certain Government officials.
This resolution was adopted unanimously under Chapter VII of the UN Charter (Article 41). The Council authorized all Member States to seize and dispose of military-related materiel banned by the text and adopt ‘all measures necessary’ to secure the prompt and safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.
Through this binding resolution, the Council also decided to establish a new committee to monitor sanctions, to liaison with Member States on compliance and to respond to violations and to designate the individuals subject to the targeted measures. Individuals and entities immediately subjected to the targeted sanctions of travel bans and assets freezing were listed in the two annexes to the resolution. Many countries have already taken steps to freeze the assets of Qadhafi and his associates.
Regarding its referral of the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the Council recognized that States not party to the Rome Statute that established the Court had no obligations to it, but urged all States and concerned organizations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor.
Finally, the Council affirmed that it would keep the actions of the Libyan authorities under continuous review and would be prepared to strengthen, modify, suspend or lift the prescribed measures in light of compliance or non-compliance with the resolution. This might well be the fastest the Security Council has moved with regard to a situation. The general agreement among its members might partly be due to the fact that under Article 41 the Security Council decides what measures, not involving the use of force, can be employed to give effect to its decisions.
Besides these measures ordered by the Security Council, talks are under way between the US, and European and allied governments to impose a no-fly zone over Libya in order to prevent further killings of civilians by forces loyal to Qadaffi.
I’ve collected a wide array of the arguments for and against humanitarian intervention in Libya, as well as assembled a short list of the relevant literature on humanitarian intervention in general, here: http://ratiojuris.blogspot.com/2011/03/humanitarian-ie-military-andor.html