December 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 November 2007
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AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), which expires on 31 December. The Secretary-General’s latest report on MONUC, received on 14 November, recommends renewal at current levels at least until after the 2008 local elections.

Key Recent Developments
Violence in the eastern regions of North and South Kivu has worsened recently, resulting in a further deterioration in the humanitarian situation. Ongoing conflict involves the national army, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Forces armées de la République Démocratique du Congo or FARDC), and forces loyal to renegade general Laurent Nkunda and other militia groups.

UN representatives have emphasised the staggering levels of sexual violence in the DRC. On 25 October, the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on violence against women, Yakin Ertürk, in her annual report to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, highlighted DRC as one of the places on the globe with particularly acute problems, where the level and nature of sexual violence currently occurring amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. On 6 November, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC Ross Mountain emphasised that the main perpetrators are members of FARDC, police and militias.

On 15 October, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the DRC, William Lacy Swing, and MONUC Force Commander General Babacar Gaye met DRC President Joseph Kabila to discuss the continued violence in North Kivu. After the meeting Swing released a statement reiterating UN support for the government but stressing the president’s “right and his duty” to protect all citizens of the DRC.

On 27 October, a militia commander, Kibamba Kasereka, leader of the Forces patriotiques Mayi-Mayi, also known as Forces armées populaires de libération (FAPL) and 29 of his men surrendered to MONUC peacekeepers in North Kivu. On 3 November, 16 former military commanders from Ituri region and 300 of their troops handed themselves over to MONUC for reintegration into FARDC.

The Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Haile Menkerios, travelled to the DRC between 3-5 November, meeting government officials in Kinshasa as well as government and military leaders and civil society groups in Goma. The meeting in the DRC was followed by meetings with the Government of Rwanda, and were designed to promote a solution to the regional dimensions of the ongoing conflict in eastern DRC. An agreement, facilitated by the UN, was reached between DRC and Rwanda on 9 November. Kinshasa resolved to forcibly disarm and hand over to Kigali members of Hutu militia groups operating in eastern DRC suspected of responsibility for the 1994 Rwanda genocide. In a presidential statement on 21 November the Council commended both governments on their communiqué and encouraged them to fully implement the commitments agreed to.

The UNDP coordinator in Ituri, Gustavo Gonzalez, stated on 8 November that disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of rebel forces and militias in Ituri is proceeding well, with the recent surrender of various commanders. However, he cautioned that urgent action is required on poverty alleviation and state-capacity building to achieve sustainable peace.

Options
Options include:

  • renewal of MONUC’s mandate without substantial modification;
  • mandate renewal with new provisions emphasising support for the 2008 local elections;
  • renewal with drawdown provisions to take effect after successful local elections; and
  • mandate renewal but with a new focus involving transitioning MONUC’s current role to one of aiding in consolidating democracy.

Key Issues
The most important issue is MONUC’s mandate, which ends on 31 December. A complicating factor is the worsening security and humanitarian situation in the eastern regions.

Council Dynamics
Belgium, France and African members, which are the lead countries on the DRC, and most other Council members, remain inclined to maintain MONUC’s current deployment level. This is due to concern about the security situation in eastern DRC and the risk that a premature withdrawal might preclude long-term stability. Members are likely to endorse the Secretary-General’s request for MONUC to support the 2008 local elections and discuss subsequent drawdown conditional upon progress towards benchmarks set out in his latest report.

(For further information please see our November Forecast.)

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1771 (10 August 2007) renewed the sanctions regime, with some modifications to the arms embargo, and the mandate of the Group of Experts until 15 February 2008.
  • S/RES/1756 (15 May 2007) renewed MONUC until 31 December.
  • S/RES/1698 (31 July 2006), 1649 (21 December 2005) and 1596 (18 April 2005) strengthened sanctions.

Latest Presidential Statement

Selected Press Statement

  • SC/9113 (12 September 2007) expressed concern about violent clashes in eastern DRC.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2007/671 (14 November 2007) recommended MONUC’s renewal at current levels.

Selected Secretary-General’s Letter

  • S/2007/586 (2 October 2007) was the Secretary-General’s letter informing the Council of his appointment of the latest Group of Experts.

Selected Letters from the DRC to the Council

  • S/2007/550 (18 September 2007) was a letter urging the Council to ask MONUC to help end impunity in eastern DRC.
  • S/2007/443 (18 July 2007) was the DRC government’s request for a review of the arms embargo on the country.

Selected Group of Experts’ Report

  • S/2007/423 (16 July 2007) was the final report submitted pursuant to resolution 1698.

Security Council Mission Briefing Record

  • S/PV.5706 (26 June 2007) was a briefing by the heads of the Council’s mission to Africa in June.

Other Relevant Facts

Group of Experts

• Abdoulaye Cissoko (Mali, aviation expert)
• Caty Clément (Belgium, regional expert)
• Amadou Hamidou (Niger, customs expert)
• Ramón Miranda Ramos (Spain, arms expert and Coordinator of the Group)
• Gregory Salter (United Kingdom, finance expert)

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission (MONUC)

William Lacy Swing (US), to be succeeded by Alan Doss (UK)

MONUC Force Commander

Lieutenant-General Babacar Gaye (Senegal)

Size, Composition and Cost of Mission

• Strength as of 31 October 2007: 17,386 military and 1,013 police
• Main troop contributors: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uruguay
• Approved budget (1 July 2007-30 June 2008): $1,166.72 million

Duration

30 November 1999 to present; mandate expires on 31 December 2007

Full forecast