November 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 October 2010
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AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action
In November the Council will consider the renewal of the DRC sanctions regime and the mandate of the group of experts, which expire on 30 November. The DRC Sanctions Committee is scheduled to meet in mid November to discuss the final report of the group of experts.

It is also possible that experts will be discussing new listing requests for the sanctions committee, for possible approval in December.

The Council is unlikely to address the “mapping” report released by the UNHCHR.

The mandate of the peacekeeping operation in the DRC, MONUSCO, expires on 30 June 2011.

Key Recent Developments
On 14 October the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, briefed the Council. Wallström expressed concern over recent reports on the involvement of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) in rapes and looting. She urged the sanctions committee to list “Colonel” Serafim of the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Serafim is a counterpart of the recently apprehended “Lieutenant Colonel” Mayele, both allegedly responsible for the recent mass rapes in Walikale (please see our 3 September Update Report for more details). Wallström added that further analysis is needed to examine the nexus between the illicit exploitation of natural resources by armed groups and sexual violence. Wallström urged the Council to provide the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) with the proper resources to carry out the mandate to protect civilians. Finally, she called on member states to enact laws requiring companies to disclose whether their products contain minerals originating from the DRC.

During the meeting, Wallström was asked if she was able to obtain information about Bosco Ntaganda, de facto military head of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). He has been listed by the sanctions committee and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant for his arrest. Wallström replied that she has been given assurances by the DRC government that they are not cooperating with Ntaganda, and she could not obtain any further information.

On 15 October, Roger Meece, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MONUSCO, briefed the Council. Meece said the recent events in Walikale had compelled MONUSCO to conduct a major internal review of the protection programs carried out by the force. The increased military presence of MONUSCO in the eastern regions, improved radio and cell phone communications and use of more interpreters will be measures that can be taken to increase security in the region and communication with local population.

Meece further stressed that building the capacity of the country’s military, justice system and police force is needed in order to preserve the progress noted in the report. Meece said that MONUSCO and the FARDC have not been cooperating with Ntaganda, despite the latter’s statements.

The Secretary-General’s 8 October report said that the security situation in the eastern regions remains a serious concern. Repeated attacks by armed groups against civilians continue. (In a related development, on 11 October, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that the security situation in North and South Kivu provinces continues to deteriorate, with daily reports of assassination, rape and extortion.) The report also noted the recent withdrawal of nine helicopters provided to MONUSCO by India, and the expected withdrawal of an additional four attack helicopters by March 2011. These helicopters account for a large part of MONUSCO’s air capability. The report also said that MONUSCO’s efforts were hampered by the lack of Security Council authorisation to equip newly formed police battalions, an issue raised by Meece before the Council.

The report briefly addresses the joint DRC-MONUSCO security assessment process outlined in resolution 1925. Since its adoption 1,494 troops have been repatriated from the DRC. A joint consolidated report is expected shortly, the conclusions of which will be reflected in the next Secretary-General’s report. In his briefing, Meece added that no significant adjustment in MONUSCO’s deployment would be indicated in the report.

Finally, according to the report, the Independent Electoral Commission has announced that the first round presidential and national legislative elections are set to take place on 27 November 2011. Provincial legislative, senatorial and gubernatorial elections are all scheduled for 2012 and local elections for 2013. MONUSCO has begun assisting the electoral authorities with voter registration and will need to continue to provide logistical and technical support to the process.

The group of experts on sanctions was supposed to submit its final report on October 20. At press time the report had been circulated to Council members but not yet released publicly. It is reported to include due diligence guidelines for private entities conducting business in the DRC, in light of the sanctions regime.

On 1 October, a report resulting from a “mapping” exercise by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) was released, documenting serious violations of international human rights during the period from 1993 to 2003.

Several developments regarding criminal prosecutions occurred in October. In addition to the 6 October arrest of “Colonel” Mayele on 8 October, the Appeals Chamber of the ICC decided to resume the trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, founder and leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots in the Ituri region. On 11 October, Callixte Mbarushimana, a Rwandan rebel leader, was arrested in France on an ICC arrest warrant on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the eastern DRC last year. On 19 October, the Appeals Chamber confirmed the proceedings against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, a former senior official of the DRC charged with war crimes allegedly committed in the neighbouring Central African Republic.

Violence has also continued in other parts of the DRC. On 15 October, the UN Refugee Agency reported increased attacks and population displacement in central Africa, including the DRC, caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army.

On 23 October, some fifty men attacked a UN peacekeeping base in North Kivu province. Eight of the perpetrators were killed in the incident, while two others were injured. A joint MONUSCO-DRC investigation is underway to establish the identities and motives of the attackers who, according to early indications, appear to be part of the Mai-Mai militia group.

Human Rights-Related Developments

A UNHCHR report mapping the most serious human rights violations in the DRC from 1993 to 2003 has caused controversy because of allegations of genocide during the Congo Civil war. The objective of the mapping exercise was to formulate options to assist the Government of the DRC in identifying appropriate transitional justice mechanisms to deal with the legacy of these violations. The publication of the report was delayed until 1 October 2010. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with officials in Rwanda on 7 and 8 September to discuss their concerns.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council in November is the role of sanctions in addressing problems facing the DRC, such as overall insecurity in large parts of the country and endemic sexual violence, and the related issue of how to enhance this tool’s effectiveness amidst growing calls to deter perpetrators of such violence.

A related issue, highlighted by recent events, is the way in which the tools the Council have created have become trapped in bureaucratic silos limiting (such as peacekeeping operation mandates, expert panels and targeted sanctions), their ability to coherently address the situation on the ground, and the Council’s capacity for practical oversight to ensure these tools are used.

It remains to be seen whether the issues regarding the renewal of the mandate of the Sudan panel of experts (for details please see the Sudan brief in this Forecast), will be a factor in achieving agreement in the Council for the renewal of the DRC sanctions regime without compromising the independence of the group of experts.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • renewing the sanctions regime and the mandate of the group of experts;
  • modifying the sanctions regime and/or the mandate of the group of experts; or
  • not renewing the mandate of the group of experts (a less likely option at this time).

Council Dynamics
At press time it was unclear whether the Chinese abstention on the renewal of the mandate of the Sudan panel of experts will affect Council dynamics regarding the DRC sanctions. Council members may try to find a balance between ensuring that the content of the final report is supported by all Council members while not compromising the independence of the group of experts.

There have also been some continuing differences between members, such as China and Brazil, and others about the balance between MONUSCO’s role in capacity-building and reform activities, as opposed to a focus on peacekeeping advocated by others.

On the response to the recent events in Walikale and other acts of violence, some Council members believe that the response should be based, first and foremost, on the initiative of the DRC government and its suggested course of action. They believe that initiatives coming out of Kinshasa have a higher probability of gaining traction. Others remain profoundly sceptical that Kinshasa is yet in a position to grapple effectively with these issues.

With respect to the issue of police equipment, some members were uneasy about the language used in the Secretary-General’s report and by his special representative regarding the Council’s role in obtaining such equipment and would like MONUSCO to make more of an effort to mobilise donors.

The lead country is France.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1925 (28 May 2010) extended the mandate of MONUC until 30 June 2010 and decided that from 1 July 2010, MONUC shall bear the title of MONUSCO and shall be deployed until 30 June 2011.
  • S/RES/1896 (30 November 2009) extended the DRC sanctions and the mandate of the group of experts to 30 November 2010.

Latest Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2010/17 (17 September 2010) urged the DRC government to prosecute the perpetrators of the mass rapes that occurred in eastern DRC in late July and August.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Selected Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6403 (15 October 2010) was the briefing by Roger Meece.
  • S/PV.6400 (14 October 2010) was the briefing by Margot Wallström.

Selected Security Council Press Statements

  • SC/10016 (26 August 2010) expressed the Council’s outrage at the mass rapes in eastern DRC.
  • SC/10010 (18 August 2010) condemned the attacks on peacekeepers in Kirumba.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Roger Meece (US)

MONUSCO Force Commander

Lt.-Gen. Chander Prakash (India)

Size, Composition and Cost of Mission

  • Strength as of 30 August 2010: 17,625 troops, 716 military observers, 1,203 police, 973 international civilian personnel, 2,783 local civilian staff and 598 UN volunteers
  • Approved budget (1 July 2010-30 June 2011): $1.369 million

Duration

30 November 1999 to present; mandate expires on 30 June 2011

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