April 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 March 2010
Download Complete Forecast: PDF
AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
On 9 April the Sanctions Committee on Côte d’Ivoire is expected to consider the advice of the Group of Experts on the sanctions regime (i.e. arms embargo, travel bans, assets freeze and diamond sanctions). The chairman of the committee will brief the Council in mid-April. The sanctions measures and the mandate of the Group of Experts expire on 31 October. The mandate of the peacekeeping operation, UNOCI, expires on 31 May.

Key Recent Developments
On 17 March, Choi Young-jin, the head of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), briefed the Council. Choi said the political impasse resulting from the recent dissolution and subsequent reconstitution of both the Ivorian government and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had seriously weakened the electoral momentum and delayed the elections once again. He outlined three immediate objectives for UNOCI:

  • maintaining peace and security;
  • safeguarding past achievements, including the provisional electoral list of registered voters; and
  • establishing the definitive electoral list as expeditiously as possible.

Choi stated that UNOCI would prepare detailed plans and possible options for UNOCI for the Council’s next consultations on the country expected in May.

Ambassador Ilahiri Djédjé of Côte d’Ivoire told the Council that the political crisis of late January and February had been caused by irregularities in the electoral list in favour of the opposition. He repeated claims that the previous chairman of the IEC (an opposition member) had fraudulently registered more than 429,000 people in the electoral list. Djédjé argued for:

  • removal of the 429,000 names from the electoral list;
  • “a full audit of the provisional list…to remove those who have no right to be on it and to validate…the inclusion of those who do have that right” (Djédjé indicated that these first two processes would take one to two months, after which the final voters list will be established for the elections); and
  • progress in the disarmament and reunification of the country.

The Council was clearly not impressed by the argument and subsequently issued a press statement:

  • expressing concern about the continued delays in the electoral process and emphasising the need for elections to be held as soon as possible in accordance with existing mutually agreed commitments by all parties;
  • urging Ivorian stakeholders to fully support the IEC’s work; and
  • indicating that the Council will continue to follow the situation closely.

At press time, talks were yet to get under way among the major political parties in Côte d’Ivoire on the most contentious issues, in particular the government’s demands for criteria beyond those contained in previous understandings to be met (e.g. auditing of the provisional electoral list) and the opposition’s preference for the process to be expedited to avoid further delays.

Human Rights-Related Developments

The report of the Working Group of the Human Rights Council (HRC) that conducted the Universal Periodic Review of Côte d’Ivoire was tabled during the March session of the HRC. The Ivorian government supported over two-thirds of the recommendations of the HRC’s Working Group. The remaining recommendations were to be further examined by the government. (The recommendations dealt largely with ratifying the statute of the International Criminal Court and protocols to various human rights instruments including those on torture and the rights of the child.)

Key Issues
The key issue for the Sanctions Committee in April is compliance with the sanctions regime and certain challenges posed to the work of the Group of Experts. (The Group recommended in its October 2009 report that the Ivorian government ensure unrestricted access for the Group and UNOCI to all sites and military installations, including areas designated “presidential perimeters”. It also said that the leadership of the former rebel Forces nouvelles should ensure similar access to all arms and related materiels, “including materiel that zone commanders retain in their private residential compounds.”)

Underlying Issues
The risk that the general security situation in Côte d’Ivoire could unravel, given the repeated delays in holding the presidential elections, is an underlying problem for the Council.

A related issue for the Council is how to restore momentum to the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire after the recent setbacks, which have led to uncertainty about when elections would be held. Continued tensions and lawlessness in many parts of the country pose additional challenges.

The reported restrictions by the Ivorian government and the former rebel Forces nouvelles to the arms inspections by UNOCI raise concerns about the commitment of the parties to the disarmament process and the latent threat that political opponents could resort to armed violence.

Delays in the restoration of state authority across the country and the stalled disarmament process enhance the risk of a relapse into violent conflict.

Options
Options for the Sanctions Committee include:

  • maintaining the current sanctions regime without any significant changes;
  • moving to impose targeted sanctions on additional persons who are obstructing the peace process; and
  • considering a possibility of secondary sanctions on persons or entities violating the current sanctions regime.

Options for the Council include:

  • taking up the wider issues on Côte d’Ivoire again in April and issuing a statement highlighting the possibility of sanctions on those who obstruct the peace process or the electoral process;
  • arranging a visit to Côte d’Ivoire by a small Council mission (the Council last visited the country in June 2007); and
  • encouraging the Secretary-General to send his Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to the country individually or as a part of a high-level team, in view of the fact that the issue of national identity lies at the core of unrest in Côte d’Ivoire.

Council Dynamics
Some Council members remain unenthusiastic about imposing further sanctions. But they have signalled in recent decisions that it is a possibility. The recommendations by the Group of Experts are therefore likely to be influential. However, no significant changes are expected to be made to the sanctions regime as a whole during the upcoming midterm review.

Council members have grown increasingly frustrated with the repeated delays since 2005 in holding elections. The recent demands by the government have proved worrisome to the Council since they portend an unwelcome longer term delay of the elections till autumn, due to the practical logistical constraints that the onset of the rainy season will present.

Overall, the dynamics within the Council remain largely unchanged, characterised by a low key Council approach and a preference to follow developments on the ground and await the Secretary-General’s recommendations. His next report is due at the end of April (for more details, please see our March 2010 Monthly Forecast).

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

UN Documents

 

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1911 (28 January 2010) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 31 May 2010.
  • S/RES/1893 (29 October 2009) renewed the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts until 31 October 2010.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/33 (8 December 2009) noted with concern the postponement of the first round of the presidential election, scheduled for 29 November 2009.
  • S/PRST/2009/25 (29 September 2009) expressed concern about the delay in the publication of the Ivorian electoral list and the Council’s intention to review the situation by 15 October 2009.
  • S/PRST/2008/42 (7 November 2008) expressed the Council’s determination to fully support the electoral process on the understanding that elections would be organised before the end of spring 2009.
  • S/PRST/2008/11 (29 April 2008) welcomed the approval by the Ivorian authorities of the IEC’s proposal to postpone the presidential elections to 30 November 2008.
  • S/PRST/2007/8 (28 March 2007) endorsed the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Latest Group of Experts’ Report

Selected Letters

  • S/2009/446 (4 September 2009) was on the preparation of the provisional electoral list for the Ivorian presidential election.
  • S/2009/5 (5 January 2009) and S/2008/793 (16 December 2008) were from the Secretary-General, appointing experts to the Côte d’Ivoire Sanction Committee’s Group of Experts.
  • S/2008/834 (30 December 2008) contained the fourth supplementary agreement to the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Other

  • SC/9882 (17 March 2010) was the latest press statement by the Council in the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/PV.6284 (17 March 2010) was the verbatim record of the last briefing to the Council on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/2009/626 (7 December 2009) contained the press statement of the sixth meeting of the Permanent Consultative Framework (Cadre permanent de concertation, or CPC) of the Ouagadougou Agreement.
  • S/2007/144 (13 March 2007) contained the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Choi Young-jin (Republic of Korea)

Force Commander

Major-General Fernand Marcel Amoussou (Benin)

Police Commissioner

Major-General Gerardo Cristian Chaumont (Argentina)

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil)

Size and Composition of UNOCI

Strength as of 31 December 2009: 8,536 total uniformed personnel, including 7,202 troops, 189 military observers, 1,145 police; supported by 400 international civilian personnel, 682 local staff and 304 UN Volunteers

Approved Budget

1 July 2009-30 June 2010: $491.77 million

Full forecast