July 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 June 2009
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AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action

The Council is expected to consider the Secretary-General’s report on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), due on 30 June. The Council is expected to be briefed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the DRC, Alan Doss. The mandate of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) expires on 31 December.

Key Recent Developments
On 7 May Congolese parliamentarians adopted a law granting amnesty to militias in the east of the country, as part of the process to bring peace to provinces of North and South Kivu. The amnesty covers acts of war committed since 2003 but not war crimes, nor does the amnesty legislation apply to crimes committed by foreign rebel groups. It will take effect after being signed into law by President Joseph Kabila.

On 4 May the Group of Experts submitted its interim report to the Sanctions Committee. It referred to violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Oriental Province as well as North and South Kivu by members of foreign armed groups, namely the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Rwandan Hutu militias known as the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda, or FDLR). It also highlighted similar violations by elements of the Congolese army (Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo, or FARDC). Crimes included “arbitrary executions, reprisal killings, abductions and willful destruction of property, perpetrated mainly by the LRA and the FDLR, and sexual violence, forced labour, looting and ill-treatment of civilians perpetrated by FARDC soldiers.” Finally, the report also noted continued presence of children in the ranks of the brigades recently integrated into Congolese army and serious human rights abuses committed by former commanders of armed groups currently integrated into the national army.

The Group of Experts said it has evidence that a number of former military officers of the rebel National Congress for Defence of the People (Congrès national pour la defense du people, or CNDP) who are now in the government military forces (FARDC) are operating parallel command structures. This included documentary evidence, and testimonies from senior FARDC officers and sources close to CNDP, that former CNDP warlord Bosco Ntaganda was acting as a de facto FARDC deputy commander for military operations in the Kivus. Ntaganda, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2006 on three counts of war crimes, including recruiting and using child soldiers, was placed on the sanctions list in November 2005.

Council members visited the DRC as part of a mission to Africa from 14 to 21 May. Following the mission, the Council on 28 May held a public meeting at which Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert of France reported on the mission’s visit to the DRC, where he led the delegation. He said that the situation in the Great Lakes Region had improved, particularly as a result of the rapprochement between the Congolese and Rwandan governments. However, MONUC still remained indispensable. Sexual violence was widespread and assistance with security sector reform remained crucial. Ripert also said that deployment of 3,000 additional troops, approved by the Council (troops are to be provided by Egypt and Jordan) was expected on the ground in June and July.

In late May government forces and MONUC forces began a joint military offensive (Kimia II) in North Kivu against the ethnic Hutu Rwandan militia FDLR to stem the latter’s attacks against civilians in the area.

There are also reports of several mutinies by disgruntled Congolese soldiers in North Kivu over non-payment of salaries by army commanders, including an incident on 17 June when a UN base in eastern DRC was fired on by FARDC soldiers.

Units of LRA fighters continued looting, destroying property and kidnapping in northeast DRC, resulting in the displacement of more than 12,000 civilians. Operation Lightning Thunder, which was carried out between December and March by the DRC, Uganda and South Sudan forces, was unsuccessful in eliminating the LRA presence. To support the Congolese army efforts, MONUC forces were also deployed over the weekend of 23 May to a village near the northeastern town of Dungu where LRA elements had allegedly committed atrocities.

On 5 June a Congolese military court handed down thirty-year sentences to five militia fighters, found guilty of rape and other sexual crimes, and ordered them to pay financial damages to more than 135 female victims.

On 15 June the ICC confirmed that the former Congolese Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba would face charges relating to the actions of his former rebel Movement for the Liberation of Congo (Mouvement de Libération du Congo, or MLC) troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 and 2003. Bemba faces trial on three counts of war crimes and two of crimes against humanity, including criminal responsibility for rapes, murders and pillage. MLC fighters were accused of committing atrocities, when they became involved in the conflict in CAR to support then-embattled CAR President Ange-Félix Patassé. Bemba’s lawyers moved to the have case dismissed, saying the militia was not under his command once they had crossed the DRC border into CAR. (Bemba had previously held the post of DRC vice-president in 2003 as part of a peace agreement which he subsequently lost in the national election against President Kabila in 2006. Bemba went into exile in 2007 after being charged with treason following violent clashes between his bodyguards and the Congolese army. Belgium arrested Bemba in May 2008 and transferred him to the ICC in July 2008.)

Key Issues
The key issue for Council members at this time is effective implementation of MONUC’s mandate to protect civilians. Supporting the strengthening of democratic institutions and the rule of law and assisting in the establishment of a secure and peaceful environment for the holding of free and transparent local elections are also key tasks at this time.

A related issue is whether the Council will put renewed political support behind UN efforts to generate the additional capacities authorised authorised by the Council in November 2008 to reinforce the rapid reaction capacity of MONUC to protect civilians. At press time, none of the additional troop and aerial capacities approved for the mission in November 2008 had yet been deployed to the country.

Options
Possible options for the Council include:

  • taking the opportunity of the Secretary-General’s report and the impressions gleaned from the Council visit in May to issue a comprehensive updated policy statement with guidelines, priorities and benchmarks for MONUC;
  • requesting the DRC Sanctions Committee to update its list of individuals and entities deemed to be obstructing the peace process;
  • considering the Secretary-General’s report but deferring action, and only scheduling subsequent meetings as appropriate in light of the evolving situation the ground; and
  • following up the allegations against Bosco Ntaganda in light of his role in FARDC and the associated responsibility that this puts on the Kabila government.

Council Dynamics
While Council members have been satisfied with the mending of fences between Rwanda and the DRC, and also with the decision to reconfigure MONUC to enable it to better carry out its protection mandate, they are concerned about delays in getting additional capacities on the ground to enable MONUC to deal effectively with the protection of civilians mandate.

France is the lead country on this issue in the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1857 (22 December 2008) renewed the sanctions regime for the DRC and extended the Group of Experts’ mandate until 30 November.
  • S/RES/1856 (22 December 2008) renewed MONUC’s mandate and continued authorisation of the additional 3,085 troops for MONUC until 31 December 2009.
  • S/RES/1843 (20 November 2008) authorised the temporary deployment of an additional 3,085 troops to reinforce MONUC’s capacity.
  • S/RES/1807 (31 March 2008) lifted the arms embargo for government forces, strengthened measures related to aviation and customs.
  • S/RES/1698 (31 July 2006), 1649 (21 December 2005) and 1596 (18 April 2005) strengthened sanctions, including provisions in resolution 1698 against actors recruiting and using children in armed conflict in the DRC.

Latest Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2008/48 (22 December 2008) welcomed regional efforts to address the security threat posed by the LRA.
  • S/PRST/2008/40 (29 October 2008) condemned the offensive by the rebel CNDP in the eastern region of the DRC and noted the request for reinforcement of MONUC.
  • S/PRST/2008/38 (21 October 2008) expressed concern about the resurgence of violence in the eastern parts of the DRC and requested a comprehensive analysis of the situation.

Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2009/160 (27 March 2009) was the latest report on the DRC.

Other

  • S/2009/253 (4 May 2009) was the latest report of the Group of Experts on the DRC.
  • SC/9633 (9 April 2009) was the latest Council press release on the situation in the DRC.
  • SC/9608 (3 March 2009) was the press release on the addition of four individuals to the assets freeze and travel ban list by the DRC Sanctions Committee.
  • S/2009/105 (19 February 2009) was the letter from the Secretary-General on the revised concept of operations and rules of engagement for MONUC.
  • S/PV.6083 (17 February 2009) was a briefing on the humanitarian situation in the DRC by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes.
  • S/2009/52 (27 January 2009) was a letter from the Secretary-General about difficulties being encountered in attempts to secure additional troops and capacities for MONUC.
  • SC/9576 (16 January 2009) expressed concern about LRA activities.
  • SG/SM/12029 (30 December 2008) was the Secretary-General’s press statement on the LRA.
  • S/2008/791 (15 December 2008) was the response from Rwanda to the accusations of the DRC Group of Experts
  • S-8/1 (1 December 2008) was the resolution on DRC adopted by the Special Session of the Human Rights Council.

Other Relevant Facts

Chairman of the DRC Sanctions Committee

Ambassador Baki ─░lkin (Turkey)

Group of Experts

  • Christian B. Dietrich, USA (aviation)
  • Claudio Gramizzi, Italy (arms)
  • Dinesh Mahtani, UK (finance expert and coordinator)
  • Mouctar Kokouma Diallo, Guinea (customs expert)
  • Raymond Debelle, Belgium (regional expert)

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Alan Doss (UK)

MONUC Interim Force Commander

Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye (Senegal)

Size, Composition and Cost of Mission

  • Strength as of 31 May 2009: 16,626 troops, 681 military observers, 1,074 police, 969 international civilian personnel and 2,154 local civilian staff, 606 UN volunteers
  • Approved budget (1 July 2008-30 June 2009): $1,242.73 million

Duration

30 November 1999 to present; mandate expires on 31 December 2009

Full forecast

 

 

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