Democratic Republic of the Congo
Expected Council Action
The Secretary-General’s report on the future of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) is expected in January. Some discussion is possible, but decisions are more probable in February since MONUC’s mandate expires on 15 February.
However, at press time, Council members seemed ready to agree on re-hatting to MONUC the troops borrowed from the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB), which expires on 31 December.
The Group of Experts’ midterm sanctions report, expected for January, will include recommendations adjusting the sanctions to better curb the illegal use of natural resources to finance militias in the east. Action by the sanctions committee does not seem likely in January.
Key Recent Developments
On 26 November, the DRC’s Supreme Court confirmed President Joseph Kabila’s victory in the presidential elections. Rival candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba is reported to be interested in leading the opposition and running for the Congolese senate in elections at provincial assemblies in late December.
The Secretariat has started consultations with the new government and key stakeholders on the future of MONUC.
The mandate of the EU force in the DRC (EUFOR RD Congo) expired on 30 November. Withdrawal should be completed by January.
In late November, fighting broke out in the eastern province of North Kivu, pitting government forces against militias loyal to dissident General Laurent Nkunda, displacing 150,000. After MONUC troops intervened, the militias seemed to retreat. Observers note that the government has been trying to persuade Nkunda to integrate into the new army. At press time, it seems that a cessation of hostilities deal was reached on 20 December.
Accountability concerns have arisen over the appointment of reported serious human rights violators -including Kyungu Mutanga (alias Gédéon), Peter Karim and Matthieu Ngudjolo (listed in the DRC sanctions list)-for positions in the Congolese armed forces. Violators could receive amnesties as part of the cessation of hostilities and integration of Ituri militia in the army, following agreement in early December to disarm and demobilise about 5,000 militiamen.
The second Great Lakes summit took place on 14-15 December in Nairobi. The DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania signed a security, stability and development pact, with reports of agreement on a security action plan to disarm militias and to “refrain from, prevent and punish” serious crimes. A secretariat, expected to be based in Burundi under Ambassador Liberata Mulamula of Tanzania, will be responsible for follow-up on implementation. In a statement after an open debate on 20 December, the Council commended the countries in the region for the conclusion of the summit and extended the mandate of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for the Great Lakes for a final period until 31 March 2007, “with a view to ensuring regional ownership of the follow-up mechanism and completing successfully the transition to the Conference Secretariat.”
Deciding when to withdraw MONUC. This could involve consolidation over two to three years-following the model of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)-then substantial phasing down in parallel with progress on security and subject to peacebuilding benchmarks.
Deciding future activities, perhaps with emphasis on disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, reinstallation and reinsertion (the revised UN DDR standards issued in December 2006 are timely in this regard), security sector reform (SSR), extending state authority and good governance. It seems unlikely that MONUC will be involved in forceful disarmament. SSR activities seem likely to concentrate on police training.
Furthering work on sanctions, including consultations with the new government about possible targeted lists under resolutions 1649 and 1698 and measures on natural resources. (The 18 July report of the Group of Experts recommended that the Council declare illegal exploitation of natural resources a sanctionable act.) This may require consultations with the new government, but its position is unclear.
The key issue will be MONUC’s post-election role in maintaining security and helping consolidate state institutions in the DRC.
Cost and management pressures on the UN’s limited peacekeeping resources and pressure from other crises are likely to be increasingly important issues in future discussions.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Positions on MONUC’s future are unlikely to emerge until both the recommendations of the Secretary-General and the new government’s position become clear. There is concern about the Burundi precedent, where the new government’s decision to go it alone within one year is already leading to heightened concern about human rights, governance and long-term stability.
Most Council members expect the UK, the US and France to propose names for additional lists for targeted sanctions lists. When, or if any proposals will emerge remains unclear. There is enthusiasm for measures on natural resources as a necessary step towards bringing stability to the DRC, but it is unclear whether members would want to focus on that at this point. Most members are likely to be guided by the DRC government’s position on this matter.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Presidential Statement|
|Selected Secretary-General’s Reports|
|Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission|
|William Lacy Swing (US)|
|MONUC Force Commander|
|Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye (Senegal)|
|Size, Composition and Cost of Mission|
|30 November 1999 to present, mandate expires on 15 February 2007|