October 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2009
Download Complete Forecast: PDF
AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action
In October the Council will consider the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), due on 30 September, as well as the final report of the Group of Experts on the DRC sanctions. The mandate of the Group and the sanctions regime expire on 30 November. MONUC’s mandate expires on 31 December.

Key Recent Developments
On 10 July the Council was briefed in an open meeting by Alan Doss, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the DRC and the head of MONUC. Doss indicated that significant progress had been achieved in the integration of Congolese armed groups into the national army (Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo, or FARDC). He also cited progress in joint MONUC-Congolese national army operations against foreign armed groups operating in the DRC. These include the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northeastern DRC and Rwandan Hutu militias known as the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda, or FDLR) in the eastern provinces. (It seems that these operations have nevertheless resulted in grave humanitarian consequences for the civilian population, particularly in terms of displacement due to reprisal attacks by the illegal armed groups.)

Also on 10 July, the Council issued a press statement in which it “undertook to continue to monitor progress” by the Congolese authorities to address impunity in the national security forces. The Council also requested the Secretary-General to keep it informed of further developments in this regard.

On 6 August, President Joseph Kabila of the DRC met his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame in Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu. The meeting resulted in pledges by both leaders to continue their joint efforts to address the destabilising presence of the FDLR in the DRC. They also committed to consolidate their renewed relationship through future meetings in both Kigali and Kinshasa.

On 3 September, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Appeal Chamber decided that Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former Congolese vice-president and opposition leader, charged with having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic, should remain in custody ahead of his trial. (In August the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC had found that Bemba’s continued detention was unnecessary to ensure his appearance at trial and granted temporary release. However, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo successfully appealed that decision, arguing that Bemba was a flight risk and could harm witnesses involved in his trial.)

In the eastern DRC, MONUC reported the desertion on 4 September of hundreds of former rebels who had been integrated into the Congolese army. Renegades cited dissatisfaction with salaries and assigned military ranks.

On 20 September Grégoire Ndahimana, a high-level FDLR figure indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for his role in the 1994 genocide, was handed over to the court following his arrest in eastern DRC by the Congolese army on 10 August. He was one of 13 fugitives remaining out of 81 people indicted by the ICTR for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda in 1994.

Human Rights-Related Developments

On 7 September two UN reports on human rights violations carried out both by the Congolese army and rebel groups in the eastern DRC were issued by the UN Joint Human Rights Office. The reports were a collaborative effort between MONUC and the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights. One report highlighted the predatory actions of Congolese government forces against civilians in Goma and surrounding areas in late October and November 2008, as they fled advancing forces from the mainly Congolese Tutsi rebel group, the National Congress for People’s Defence (Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple, or CNDP).

The other report focused on human rights violations committed by the CNDP, including at least 67 cases of arbitrary executions on 5 November 2008 in Kiwanja, North Kivu. In this incident, which followed intense fighting between the CNDP and the Mayi Mayi militia, the CNDP carried out reprisal killings of civilians suspected of being members or collaborators of the Mayi Mayi. In the aftermath of the attacks, MONUC was strongly criticised for not having protected the civilians.

The reports prompted the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, to conclude on 9 September that the atrocities could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity, and that they constituted “part of a self-perpetuating pattern” of largely unpunished brutality in eastern DRC.

The Human Rights Council will conduct its Universal Periodic Review of the DRC on 3 December.

Key Issues
The key issue for Council members following the crisis in eastern DRC in late 2008 is effective implementation of MONUC’s mandate to protect civilians. A related issue is sustaining political support for UN efforts to reinforce MONUC’s rapid-reaction capacity to protect civilians by generating additional capacity, which was authorised by the Council in November 2008.

Another key issue is progress by the DRC government to address accountability for actions by the national security forces.

The main issue for the DRC Sanctions Committee is the effective implementation of the sanctions regime. Key factors fuelling instability in the DRC include illegal arms trafficking and the illicit exploitation of natural resources.

Options
Options for the Council in October include:

  • a statement after consideration of the Secretary-General’s report following up on accountability issues and the effectiveness of the joint MONUC/FARDC operations;
  • for the Sanctions Committee, reporting quickly to the Council its conclusions and recommendations following consultations on the Group of Experts’ report; and
  • another option for the Sanctions Committee, adding to its targeted sanctions list new names of individuals and entities obstructing the peace process, recruiting child soldiers or committing sexual violence.

Council Dynamics

Due to the continued violence in the eastern parts of the DRC (including attacks against children, women and civilians in general) some Council members are focusing on additional action against those responsible.

France is the lead country on the DRC 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

Other

  • SC/9703 (10 July 2009) was the latest Council press release on the situation in the DRC.
  • S/PV.6159 (10 July 2009) was the verbatim record of the briefing by Alan Doss.
  • S/2009/253 (4 May 2009) was the latest report of the Group of Experts on 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/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.
  • 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 a resolution on DRC adopted by the Special Session of the Human Rights Council.

Other Relevant Facts

Chairman of the DRC Sanctions Committee

Ambassador Ertu─črul Apakan (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 July 2009: 16,960 troops, 703 military observers, 1,076 police, 1,006 international civilian personnel and 2,539 local civilian staff, 592 UN volunteers
  • Approved budget (1 July 2009-30 June 2010): $1,350.00 million

Duration

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

Full forecast