And the U.N. named names: Gadhafi, five of his children and 10 of his top aides were hit with the sanctions.
Council members agreed to refer the issue of the Gadhafi regime's brutal and systematic attacks on protesters to the war crimes tribunal for an investigation into possible crimes against humanity.
Diplomats hope the threat of prosecution for war crimes will cause even more of Gadhafi's dwindling inner circle to jump ship.
"This is wonderful, this is what we were waiting for, this is great!" Mohamed Eljahmi, a Libyan-American activist, told AOL News today.
Eljahmi's brother, Fathi, a leading Libyan dissident, died in state custody in 2009 after protesting Gadhafi's regime for years.
"This is the best news I've heard for Libya in awhile," Eljahmi said. "Eventually what's just comes to people who deserve it. Gadhafi's bad deeds are finally coming back to him."
The resolution stated that "widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place in Libya against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity" and "those responsible for the attacks" must be held accountable, according to The Wall Street Journal.
All nations must also immediately freeze assets in their countries held by any of the Libyan leaders named in the resolution.
The 15-0 vote came after nearly eight hours of discussions and followed an impassioned plea by Libyan Ambassador Mohammed Shalgham for the U.N. to "save" his nation on Friday.
In an emotional speech to the Security Council yesterday, Shalgham broke with the Gadhafi regime and asked that sanctions be adopted.
Council members did not consider imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, and no U.N.-sanctioned military action was planned. NATO also has ruled out any intervention in Libya, the Associated Press reported.
More than 1,000 protesters have been killed by government loyalists since the popular rebellion against 42 years of Gadhafi's autocratic rule began Feb. 17.