October 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2011
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
In October the Council is expected to review the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions regime after the group of experts that supports the sanctions committee reports on their implementation. Resolution 1980, unanimously adopted on 28 April, renewed an arms embargo, a ban on the diamond trade that was helping fuel the conflict and sanctions on travel by selected individuals deemed to be threats to “peace and national reconciliation” in the country. The measures are to remain in effect until 30 April 2012.

Issues that are likely to be discussed as part of the review include: the continuing violence in the western parts of the country; issues relating to national reconciliation, including the setting-up of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission; accountability for the crimes committed during the post-electoral violence early this year; and the forthcoming National Assembly elections in December.

The mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) expires on 31 July 2012. 

 

Key Recent Developments
President Alassane Ouattara, who was inaugurated on 21 May, appears to have significantly consolidated his government and adhered to his inaugural message of reconciliation “through dialogue, solidarity and justice”. He has promised to combat impunity by allowing the national justice system and international judicial mechanisms a free hand to investigate and prosecute violators on all sides of the recent violence.

Former President Laurent Gbagbo, detained in April, was charged on 18 August with “economic crimes” that included his alleged looting of half a billion dollars from the state treasury. Ouattara’s government insists that this prosecution is separate from other charges that may be brought against Gbagbo, either by the national judiciary or the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On 3 May, Ouattara wrote the ICC Prosecutor to ask for investigations into serious crimes committed in the country since 28 November 2010, when the post-electoral crisis started. The Secretary-General’s report of 24 June 2011 estimated that as many as 3,000 people were killed during the violence, characterising it as “serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.” (Though Côte d’Ivoire is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, it accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction in 2003, ironically when Gbagbo was in office.)

Also in May, shortly after his inauguration Ouattara, announced the setting up of a Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a key transitional justice mechanism. Charles Konan Banny, a former prime minister, chairs the commission, which has commissioners from diverse ethnic, religious and regional groups. The commission was inaugurated by Ouattara on 28 September.

Human rights and other observers, however, have raised questions about Ouattara’s commitment to end impunity after he promoted two military commanders who were allegedly involved in past atrocities on 3 August. One of them, Martin Kouakou Fofie, was also placed on the UN sanctions list in 2006.

Ouattara has also announced plans to review the country’s controversial citizenship laws, which are believed to be a key cause of the electoral violence, when a new National Assembly is in place. But progress towards the legislative elections appears fraught. On 21 September, Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front party announced it was pulling out of the electoral commission on the grounds that it was stacked with Ouattara loyalists. It seems likely that this will lead to more controversy.

Violent incidents have continued to affect the country. In mid-September, mercenaries allegedly from Liberia killed 23 people in the western part of the country.

UNOCI has recently deployed more troops in the region and intensified its surveillance by helicopters, which after 30 September will be based in Liberia. Under resolution 1992, UNOCI has an inter-mission arrangement with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to share assets. Resolution 2008, which renewed UNMIL’s mandate on 16 September, emphasised the need for the two missions to “regularly coordinate their strategies and operations in areas near the Liberian-Côte d’Ivoire border…to prevent armed groups from exploiting the seam of political boundaries.”

 

 Human Rights-Related Developments
Addressing the Human Rights Council on 13 September, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang raised concerns about responses to peaceful protests that she said were too often met with brutal repression and other inhumane treatment. She recalled the High Commissioner’s denunciation of these kinds of human rights violations in Côte d’Ivoire, amongst others. Kang stressed that when peaceful protests occur, states have the responsibility to respond in a manner that is respectful of human rights. She stated that resorting to lethal or excessive force against peaceful protestors that is unlawful or incompatible with the tenets of a democratic society not only violates fundamental rights but exacerbates tensions and breeds a culture of violence.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is how the sanctions and related Council actions contribute to the consolidation of peace and security and, in particular, ensure that the continuing violence in the western region is curbed and help ensure successful legislative elections in December. 

A related issue is the successful implementation of the transitional justice mechanisms that are being set in place, including the ICC investigations, the prosecution for economic crimes, and the work of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

 

Options
The Council could:

  • leave the sanctions regime in place and adopt a resolution deciding to review all the sanctions after six months; or
  • make the following changes to the sanctions regime: decide that diamond sanctions are treated separately, to be reviewed only after Côte d’Ivoire complies with the requirements of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and becomes a participant;
  • or lift all the sanctions except the travel ban on select individuals to assist the ICC’s investigations.

 Council Dynamics
There seems to be broad consensus that the Council’s attention should now be focused on assisting the country through the process of reconciliation and accountability for past crimes, as well as instituting measures to entrench the rule of law and ensure a peaceful electoral process.

France is the lead country in the Council on Côte d’Ivoire.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2008 (16 September 2011) extended the mandate of UNMIL until 30 September 2012 and called on UNOCI and UNMIL to coordinate strategies and operations in the Liberia-Côte d’Ivoire border regions.
  • S/RES/2000 (27 July 2011) renewed the mandate of UNOCI at its current force levels (including the earlier ad-hoc increases) until 31 July 2012.
  • S/RES/1992 (29 June 2011) extended the temporary redeployment of helicopters from UNMIL to UNOCI until 30 September.
  • S/RES/1980 (28 April 2011) extended the sanctions regime and the mandate of the group of experts monitoring it for one year.
  • S/RES/1967 (19 January 2011) authorised the redeployment of aviation assets from UNMIL to UNOCI.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Letters

  • S/2011/577 (15 September 2011) was from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council on the inter-mission (UNOCI and UNMIL) use of three helicopters and the transfer of 150 military and 100 police personnel from UNOCI to UNMIL from 1 October to 30 November 2011.
  • S/2011/468  (26 July 2011) and S/2011/469 (28 July 2011) was an exchange of letters containing the Secretary General’s intention to appoint Albert Gerard Koenders as Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire and head of UNOCI.
  • S/2011/419  (7 July 2011) appointed four individuals to the group of experts for the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions committee.

 

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Albert Gerard Koenders (Netherlands)

UNOCI Force Commander

Maj. Gen. Jean Marie Bourry (France)

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil)

UNOCI: Size, Composition, Cost and Duration

Authorised Strength: 11,142 total uniformed personnel, including 9,600 troops, 192 military observers, 1,350 police
Strength (as of 31 July 2011): 8,974 troops, 193 military observers, 1,276 police personnel
Main troop contributors: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco and Malawi
Annual Budget: $486.7 million
Duration: 4 April 2004 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2012

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