July 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 June 2011
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
In July the Council is expected to renew the mandate for UNOCI. The current mandate expires 31 July. The Secretary-General’s report on UNOCI, due 30 June, is expected to recommend extending UNOCI for 12 months at current troop levels, with a midterm review. Legislative elections are scheduled to be held before the end of the year.

Key Recent Developments
Although the security situation began to improve in May and June, continuing violence indicated that the post-election crisis had not entirely ended. A report from Human Rights Watch, issued 2 June, asserted that since mid-April forces loyal to Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara had killed at least 149 “real or perceived” supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo, while pro-Gbagbo forces had killed at least 220 individuals. On 9 June the human rights section of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) reported an increase in attacks and violence by the Forces Républicaines de la Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI), loyal to Ouattara, in the south and west of the country.

Reports continued of Liberian mercenaries retreating west, towards the border with Liberia, contributing to insecurity in those areas. On 14 June, the National Liberian Police announced the arrest of a Liberian mercenary, formerly in the employ of Gbagbo, operating under the nom de guerre “Bob Marley.” Human Rights Watch has linked Marley to massacres in which more than 100 people were killed, including the execution of at least 50 people, among them many children, on 25 March in Bloléquin, a village in western Côte d’Ivoire.

On 17 June, Liberian authorities discovered an arms cache consisting of AK-47 rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and several thousand rounds of ammunition near the border with Côte d’Ivoire. Liberia has detained 92 Ivorian refugees for questioning regarding the weapons. A recent report of the Panel of Experts on Liberia highlighted ongoing problems with the movement of arms and armed groups across the border separating the two countries.

Liberian refugees who had taken refuge at the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Abidjan during the immediate post-election violence resumed their repatriation on 27 May. Repatriation had begun in March, but was suspended due to increasing insecurity.

On 14 June, UNHCR reported that it had registered 322,277 internally displaced people across Côte d’Ivoire, mainly in the west, but also in the north and Abidjan. According to UNHCR, there continue to be more than 180,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberia and more than 25,000 Ivorian refugees in other countries in West Africa.

On 1 June, Ouattara announced a new government that notably lacked representation from Gbagbo’s Popular Front Party.

The international commission of inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire submitted its report to the Human Rights Council on 9 June.

On 23 June, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, formally submitted a request to open an investigation into crimes committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the elections in November. Earlier, on 17 June, he gave public notice that victims of the post-election violence have 30 days to submit testimony to the Court. Moreno-Ocampo is scheduled to visit Côte d’Ivoire from 27 June to 4 July.

On 16 June the Ivorian government announced the establishment of a national commission to investigate human rights violations perpetrated during the post-electoral crisis.

On 22 June, Amnesty International reported that authorities in Côte d’Ivoire had detained at least 50 individuals, including high profile politicians from Gbagbo’s party, without charge.

The UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations conducted a military capability study in Côte d’Ivoire from 21 to 29 April and in Liberia from 3 to 6 May. An interdepartmental assessment mission also visited Côte d’Ivoire from 1 to 14 May. Based on these visits, the Secretary-General wrote to the Security Council on 10 June recommending an extension of the redeployment of three armed helicopters to UNOCI and the return of two deployed utility helicopters to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

On 29 June, the Security Council adopted resolution 1992 extending the redeployment of troops and helicopters from UNMIL to UNOCI until 30 September. 

Human Rights-Related Developments
The international commission of inquiry established by the Human Rights Council (HRC) in its resolution 16/25 visited Côte d’Ivoire from 4 to 28 May and submitted its report on 9 June. The Commission found that serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law had been committed following last November’s presidential election. Violations were committed both by forces loyal to Gbagbo and to Ouattara. The HRC expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Côte d’Ivoire, called for an immediate end to the violence there and established a mandate for a UN independent human rights expert for a period of one year. The expert will assist the government in the implementation of the resolutions of the HRC and of the recommendations of the commission of inquiry. It will report to the March 2012 session of the HRC.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is determining focus for UNOCI’s mandate in the new situation.  A related issue is whether to make permanent the earlier ad hoc troop increases.

Another key issue is determining the new role for UNOCI in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of all combatants and reform of the security sector.

A final issue is whether to apply, in the specific case of Côte d’Ivoire, the key element arising from its thematic debate in February on security and development of the need to address root causes (S/PRST/2011/4) and the implications of it for UNOCI’s role in promoting national reconciliation.

Underlying Problems
Though there has been some improvement on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire, major challenges remain. Reconciling supporters of Gbagbo and Ouattara in order to reunify the country is the foremost issue facing Côte d’Ivoire. At the same time, the continuing presence of unofficial armed groups—including Liberian mercenaries—is having a destabilising effect throughout the country. While police have gradually been returning to their posts, many precincts and policing functions remain in the hands of FRCI soldiers.

Given the lack of effective control by Ouattara over the various armed groups that supported him in the post-election crisis, disarming and demobilising militias active throughout the country is an issue, as is the question of impunity for those responsible for the ongoing violence. The refusal of militia leader Ibrahim Coulibaly, formerly loyal to Ouattara, to disarm his troops in April, and his subsequent death in an assault on his compound by the FRCI, provides evidence of the complexity of the relationship between Ouattara and his allies.  

Options
The Council could:

  • renew UNOCI for six months, focusing the mission’s role on assisting with legislative elections;
  • renew UNOCI for 12 months, with a midterm review and a much wider focus;
  • increase the authorised troop level to permanently include the previous ad hoc troop authorisations, including the elements temporarily transferred from UNMIL;
  • maintain the current number of authorised troops in UNOCI;
  • enhance UNOCI’s current mandate for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration;
  • note the emerging evidence of major human rights violations and enhance UNOCI’s current mandate to support the promotion and protection of human rights, including the importance of women’s and children’s issues;
  • add provisions for UNOCI to assist Ivorian authorities with security sector reform to the mandate; or
  • highlight national reconciliation issues and reinforce the good-offices role of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in promoting reconciliation and the importance of his leadership of the security and development work of the UN with specific responsibilities to integrate efforts to address root causes.

Regarding support for the electoral process, the Council could:

  • limit UNOCI’s role to providing logistical support for the elections;
  • mandate UNOCI to provide more detailed technical support to Ivorian electoral authorities throughout the electoral process; or
  • reiterate the certification role of the special representative of the Secretary-General in the legislative elections.

Council Dynamics
Many members seem to want to ensure that the recent gains made in Côte d’Ivoire are not allowed to slip. As a result there appears to be some consensus amongst Council members on the need to reinforce disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration and add security sector reform to the mandate of UNOCI.

It seems also that most Council members also agree that UNOCI should maintain currently mandated troop levels, including the temporary increases authorised in resolutions 1942 and 1967

It is likely that there would be resistance from some members of the Council to continuing the certification role mandated for the special representative of the Secretary-General in the presidential elections. Resolution 1765 mandated that the special representative would certify both the presidential and legislative elections. However, some seem to feel that the problems following the presidential election were complicated, rather than helped, by the special representative’s certification role.

Some Council members seem concerned about the national reconciliation path and see risks in the lack of representation of members of Gbagbo’s party in the new Ivorian government. They appear interested in emphasising the need for national reconciliation.

Some differences seemed apparent in the Council in discussions over extending the redeployment of certain assets from UNMIL to UNOCI. It seems a number of Council members were concerned by the continued redeployment of resources from UNMIL to UNOCI, particularly ahead of potentially difficult Liberian elections expected later this year. It seems that the compromise to return utility helicopters to UNMIL, whilst retaining the attack helicopter capacity in UNOCI, addressed some of these concerns.

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

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1992 (29 June 2011) extended the redeployment of UNMIL assets to UNOCI until 30 September.
  • S/RES/1981 (13 May 2011) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 31 July and authorised the Secretary-General to extend until 30 June the temporary redeployment of UNMIL assets to UNOCI.
  • S/RES/1968 (16 February 2011) extended the mandate of troops temporarily deployed from UNMIL to UNOCI for three months.
  • S/RES/1967 (19 January 2011) authorised an increase of 2,000 troops in the overall strength of UNOCI military personnel and authorised the redeployment of aviation assets from UNMIL to UNOCI.
  • 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/1765 (16 July 2007) included the elections-related mandate of the special representative of the Secretary-General.
  • S/RES/1528 (27 February 2004) established UNOCI.

Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2011/4 (11 February 2011) was the statement made following the Council’s thematic debate on “the interdependence between security and development”.

Latest Report of the Secretary General

Selected Letter

  • S/2011/351 (10 June 2011) contained the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding temporary redeployments from UNMIL to UNOCI.

Other

  • S/2011/367 (15 June 2011) was a report of the panel of experts on Liberia.
  • A/HRC/17/49 (14 June 2011) was the report of the high commissioner for human rights on Côte d’Ivoire.
  • A/HRC/17/48 (14 June 2011) was the report of the international commission of inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire.
  • A/HRC/RES/16/25 (13 April 2011) established the HRC’s international commission of inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Choi Young-jin (Republic of Korea)

UNOCI Force Commander

Maj. Gen. Gnakoudè Béréna (Togo)

UNOCI Police Commissioner

Maj. Gen. Jean Marie Bourry (France)

Chair of Sanctions Committee

Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil)

UNOCI: Size, Composition, Cost and Duration

Maximum authorised strength (including temporary reinforcements): 11,142 total uniformed personnel, including 9,600 troops, 192 military observers, 1,350 police

Strength (as of 31 May 2011): 7,966 troops, 184 military observers, 1,267 police personnel

Main troop contributors: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco and Ghana

Annual Budget: $485.1 million

Duration: 4 April 2004 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2011.

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