The United States (US) unilaterally blacklisted Al-Kaniyat militia and its leader Mohammed Al-Kani – who are loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar – on Wednesday after Russia last week prevented a UN Security Council committee from imposing sanctions over human rights abuses by the group.
The US sanctions were imposed under the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the US government to target human rights violators worldwide by freezing assets and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.
“Al-Kani and the Kaniyat militia are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.” The US Treasury said.
“Mohamed al-Kani and the Kaniyat militia have tortured and killed civilians during a cruel campaign of oppression in Libya,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“The United States stands with the Libyan people and will use the tools and authorities at its disposal to target human rights abusers in Libya and across the world.” He added.
The statement indicated that Al-Kani is designated for being or having been a leader or official of an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse related to his tenure.
“Al-Kaniyat militia is designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse”. It explained.
The United States and Germany earlier this month proposed that the U.N. Security Council’s 15-member Libya sanctions committee impose an asset freeze and travel ban on Kaniyat militia and Al-Kani.
However, such a move has to be agreed by consensus and Russia said on Friday it could not approve the sanctions because it wanted to see more evidence first that they had killed civilians.