July 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 June 2007
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AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action
The Council in July is expected to focus its attention on the issue of sanctions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  The report by the Group of Experts is due on 10 July and the discussions on the renewal of the sanctions regime and the Group’s mandate by 31 July. The Council will also have the report of its mid-June mission to Kinshasa.

It is unlikely that there will be any major disagreement among Council members on renewing sanctions and the mandate of the Group of Experts.  However, there is the possibility that specific proposals may arise from the open debate on natural resources and conflict, the content of the report of the Group of Experts, and the mission to Kinshasa.

Key Recent Developments
On 15 May the Council adopted resolution 1756 extending the mandate of MONUC until 31 December.  It also decided that MONUC should assist the DRC government in establishing a stable security environment in terms of:

  • protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and United Nations personnel;
  • security-sector reform;
  • territorial security of the DRC; and
  • disarmament and demobilization of foreign and Congolese armed groups.

The resolution demanded that militias and armed groups still present in the eastern part of the DRC lay down arms and voluntarily participate in their demobilization, repatriation or settlement and reintegration.  It also called on the Congolese authorities to put an end the culture of impunity.  The Council requested the Secretary-General to provide periodic updates on the situation in the country and to submit a report containing benchmarks and a timetable for MONUC’s gradual drawdown.

The situation in the DRC remains volatile as the nation attempts to consolidate the peace.  While the continued presence of MONUC is helping the government to establish its authority throughout the country and to improve overall security, significant challenges remain especially in the security-sector reform process as well as in the protection of human rights. This has been demonstrated in the continuing conflict and human rights violations in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri.  The Archbishop of the eastern town of Bukavu, Monsignor François-Xavier Maroy, has cautioned that violent conflict could reoccur in the east.  Serge Maheshe, a broadcaster who worked with the UN-backed Radio Okapi in Bukavu, was shot dead in June.  His demise brings to three the number of journalists killed in the country since 2005.  Two government soldiers have been put on trial for the killing. 

Key Issues
The sanctions measures include an arms embargo as well as targeted travel and financial measures. The first issue is whether to continue them. Given the nascent stage reached in rebuilding the country, the Council is likely to be wary of lifting sanctions too soon. A second issue is whether the sanctions should be strengthened.  The interim report of the Group of Experts in January (S/2007/40) voiced concerns, but indicated that there was not much of a case for imposing further sanctions. 

With the adoption of resolution 1493 in 2003, the Council initially imposed an arms embargo on all foreign and Congolese armed groups and militias operating in the territory of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri, and on groups not party to the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the DRC, which was signed in 2002.  Subsequently, the sanctions regime was modified and strengthened from 2004 to 2006 with the adoption of resolutions 15331596, 1649 and 1698.  These extended the scope of the arms embargo, imposed additional targeted sanctions measures (i.e. assets freeze and travel ban), and broadened the criteria for the imposition of the measures.

Council Dynamics
The general inclination of the Council is towards reinstating sanctions until conditions are deemed more satisfactory for lifting them.

UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1756 (15 May 2007) renewed MONUC until  31 December.
  • S/RES/1698 (31 July 2006), 1649 (21 December 2005) and 1596 (3 May 2005) strengthened sanctions.
 Selected Presidential Statement
  • S/PRST/2007/9 (3 April 2007) deplored the March violence and called on the government to respect the role conferred on political parties by the Congolese constitution.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2007/156 (22 March 2007) was the latest MONUC report.

 

Other Relevant Facts

 Group of Experts
 Ibra Déguène Ka (Senegal, chairman of the group)
 David Huxford (UK and Northern Ireland, arms expert)
 Enrico Carisch (Switzerland, finance expert)
 Abdoulaye Cissoko (Mali, aviation expert)
 Jean-Luc Gallet (France, customs and border-control expert)
 Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission
 William Lacy Swing (US)
 Size, Composition and Cost of Mission
  • Authorised strength: about 18,000 military and 1,316 police
  • Strength as of 31 March 2007: 17,307 military and 1,029 police
  • Main troop contributors: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uruguay 
  • Cost: 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2007 US$ 1.138 billion
 Duration
 30 November 1999 to present, mandate expires on 31 December 2007


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