October 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2010
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
In October the Council will be waiting for the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire and the peacekeeping operation there, UNOCI. The presidential elections are currently scheduled to be held in Cote d’Ivoire on 31 October and developments in this context could also influence Council action.

The Council is also expected to renew the sanctions regime (on arms and diamonds, along with a targeted asset freeze and travel ban on certain individuals) and the mandate of the Group of Experts monitoring the effectiveness of the sanctions regime. Both expire on 31 October.

The mandate of UNOCI expires on 31 December.

Key Recent Developments
On 30 June, following a one-month technical rollover, the Council extended and modified the mandate of the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) until 31 December. The Council:

  • requested the Secretary-General to inform it of the publication of the final voter list and to provide a midterm report no later than 22 October on the situation on the ground;
  • expressed its intention to consider raising, for a limited time before and after the Ivorian presidential elections, the level of authorised UNOCI military and police forces by up to 500 additional personnel;
  • expressed its concern at the continuing delays in the electoral process and the absence of an electoral timeframe and urged the relevant Ivorian stakeholders to ensure the publication of the final voters list without further delay;
  • reiterated that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative would certify that all stages of the electoral process provided all the necessary guarantees for credible presidential and legislative elections; and
  • stressed that the Council would base its assessment of the electoral process on the certification to be prepared by the Special Representative under the five-criteria framework referred to in the Secretary-General’s April 2008 report on UNOCI and after inclusive contacts with all stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire.

The situation in Côte d’Ivoire remains tense, though progress has been made during the last several months towards holding the presidential election, (postponed seven times over the past five years).

On 15 July the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) published a provisional voter list, replacing all previous versions. The list had been expanded to include 490,000 voters who had been under age during the 2000 elections.

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On 4 August the IEC proposed 31 October as the date for holding presidential elections. On 5 August the Ivorian government confirmed that date. (The presidential elections are to be followed by legislative elections 45 days after the announcement of the results of the presidential elections.)

On 6 September, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro—in a joint appearance with President Laurent Gbagbo and key electoral rivals, former prime minister Alassane Ouattara (leader of the Rally of the Republicans or RDR) and Henrie Konan Bédié (leader of the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire-African Democratic Rally or PDCI-RDA)—announced that all the presidential aspirants had reached agreement on the final voter list and the “holding of presidential elections as planned.” On 9 September President Gbagbo issued a decree validating the list.

On 17 September 2010 the Council, through an exchange of letters with the Secretary-General, took note of the Secretary-General’s recommendation (S/2010/245) on raising the level of authorised UNOCI military and police personnel to assist in addressing security concerns relating to the holding of the Ivorian elections.

On 21 September the Permanent Consultative Framework (Cadre permanent de concertation, or CPC) of the Ouagadougou Agreement endorsed the final voter list. (The CPC was established in 2007 following the Ouagadougou Agreement and includes Ivorian President Gbagbo, former rebel Forces nouvelles leader Prime Minister Soro and the leaders of the main opposition parties, as well as President Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso, who is the facilitator of the Agreement). The head of UNOCI, Choi Young-jin, verified the list and on 24 September certified it to be valid. The Secretary-General, in a statement that same day congratulated the Ivorian leaders and the facilitator on this achievement and called on the Ivorian actors to build on this consensus in order to maintain a peaceful environment before, during and after the elections.

On 28 September Choi briefed the Council on the Ivorian electoral process. In a subsequent statement to the press that day, the Council indicated that any attempt to undo the achievements of the electoral process, or add preconditions to holding the elections that could delay them, would be inconsistent with the commitments taken by the parties. It further stressed the need for the parties to ensure calm prior to, during and after the vote and agreed to deploy up to 500 additional uniformed personnel to UNOCI for a limited period of no more than six months, to assist with related security arrangements. On 29 September the Council adopted a resolution formally authorising the deployment of 500 additional troops to UNOCI to help with security during the election period.

An AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) team visited Côte d’Ivoire from 27 September to 1 October, where it met with members of the Ivorian government, civil society and representatives of the international community in the country. The visit was in fulfilment of an AUPSC decision to send a delegation to Côte d’Ivoire and the neighbouring region to assess the situation in that country and identify measures to further contribute to a way out of the crisis.

Human Rights-Related Developments
A UNOCI report issued on 26 August disclosed serious human rights violations that were committed during the demonstrations held in Côte d’Ivoire in February following the dissolution of the government and the national electoral authority. (The demonstrations resulted in 13 deaths.) Among the violations, UNOCI recorded extrajudicial executions, physical violence, cruel and degrading treatment of people arrested, and illegal arrests and detentions committed by agents of the Defence and Security Forces of Côte d’Ivoire. The report invites the UN to examine requests for a waiver of the arms embargo on Côte d’Ivoire to help the country import anti-riot materials, noting that the lack of these materials had led the law enforcement forces to resort to firearms.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is whether the positive momentum generated by the recent progress in the Ivorian electoral process can be maintained and the presidential elections can be held successfully on 31 October.

A related issue is whether the Council can do any more at this stage to facilitate the electoral process.

Other issues involve disarmament and the reunification of the country (including establishing a truly centralised national treasury), in line with the fourth supplementary agreement to the Ouagadougou Agreement. (President Gbagbo’s party had earlier in the year insisted that those preconditions be met before elections are held and, although tensions in that regard have subsided, they remain a latent source of trouble for the electoral process.)

A further issue is the sanctions regime on Côte d’Ivoire and the renewal of the mandate of the Group of Experts. A closely related issue is whether the Council should use the September sanctions renewal resolution to act on the Secretary-General’s recommendation in May that it should impose targeted sanctions against media institutions found to be stoking political tensions and inciting violence.

Underlying Problems
The continued inability of Côte d’Ivoire to return to legitimate governance through presidential elections has prolonged instability. The possibility of relapse into conflict is a particular risk given the previous history of violence based on ethnic lines.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • deciding on a simple renewal of the sanctions regime, as well as the mandate of the Group of Experts without modifications;
  • modifying the sanctions regime and adding new names to induce compliance with the peace process; and
  • signalling an intention to renew the scope of application of the sanctions to recognise progress already made (this is perhaps more likely after a successful election).

Council Dynamics
Council members are cautiously optimistic about the recent progress made in the electoral process. There is a consensus about UNOCI’s ongoing role in assisting in consolidating peace in the country.

There is wide agreement on the need to monitor the electoral situation closely and proactively. No modifications in UNOCI’s mandate are anticipated, as the recent resolution is seen by members to be adequate.

Several Council members are concerned that the calendar of activities leading to the presidential election on 31 October may not be viable in view of the formidable logistical challenges that must be addressed to meet the deadline, as well as potential distractions that could be caused by political and security action (e.g. disarmament and reunification) by key parties in the country.

Council members seem ready to renew the mandate of the Group of Experts and to maintain the current sanctions regime. Many seem to prefer a wait-and-see approach that would defer any substantial changes until after the elections. Most are mindful that previous resolutions (including the June resolution 1893) made provision for reconsidering the sanctions three months after the holding of elections.

France remains the lead country in the Council on this issue, but the Ivorian government has voiced its preference that another country assumes that role.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1942 (29 September 2010) authorised the deployment of 500 additional troops to UNOCI to help with security during the election period.
  • S/RES/1933 (30 June 2010) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 30 December 2010.
  • 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 presidential election scheduled for 29 November 2009.
  • S/PRST/2007/8 (28 March 2007) endorsed the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2010/245 (20 May 2010)
  • S/2008/250 (15 April 2008) contained the five-criteria framework Special Representative for certifying all stages of the Ivorian electoral process

Latest Group of Experts’ Report

Selected Letters

  • S/2010/493 (24 September 2010) was from the Secretary-General informing the Council about the head of UNOCI’s certification of the Ivorian electoral process.
  • S/2010/486 and S/2010/485 (17 September 2010) was the exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Council on raising the level of authorised of UNOCI military and police personnel in relation to the holding of the Ivorian presidential elections
  • S/2010/221 (29 April 2010) was from the president of the Security Council to the Secretary-General requesting his report by 21 May.
  • S/2010/220 (26 April 2010) was from the Secretary-General to the president of the Security Council proposing a one-month technical rollover of UNOCI’s mandate until 30 June 2010 and notifying the Council that his report would be delayed until 31 May.
  • S/2007/144 (13 March 2007) contained the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Other

  • SC/10043 (28 September 2010) was the latest statement by the Council on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • PSC/PR/BR (CCXVIII) (5 March 2010) was an AU Peace and Security Council press statement on Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/PV.6284 (17 March 2010) was the verbatim record of the latest briefing to the Council on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire


Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Choi Young-jin (Republic of Korea)

Force Commander

Major.-General Abdul Hafiz (Bangladesh)

Police Commissioner

Major.-General Jean Marie Bourry (France)

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil)

Size and Composition of UNOCI

Strength as of 31 July 2010: 7,194 troops, 191 military observers, 1,169 police personnel, 398 international civilian personnel, 755 local staff and 273 UN Volunteers.

Approved Budget

1 July 2010-30 June 2011: $485,078,200 million

Full forecast

Useful Additional Source
Report of 26 August 2010 by UNOCI disclosing serious human rights violations that were committed during the demonstrations held in Côte d’Ivoire in February 2010