April 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 March 2012
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Expected Council Action
In April, the Council is scheduled to receive a briefing and discuss in consultations the Secretary-General’s quarterly report on the AU-UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). 

In accordance with resolution 2003, the Council will also likely consider the review of “the uniformed personnel required for UNAMID to ensure the most efficient and effective implementation of the mission’s mandate,” which was conducted by the Secretary-General in consultation with the AU. (The findings of this review, which will take the form of an internal document, will likely be integrated into the Secretary-General’s report.) 

The Council is also likely to discuss the Framework for AU and UN Facilitation of the Darfur Peace Process, (formerly described as a “road map”), which had been delayed for several months but was released in the latter part of March. 

At press time, it was not clear whether there would be a formal outcome to the Council’s deliberations on Darfur, particularly with regard to the review of uniformed personnel and publication of the framework.

Key Recent Developments
The Council renewed the mandate of the Panel of Experts (PoE) of the 1591 Sanctions Committee for an additional year on 17 February. The resolution renewing the mandate contained several new elements.  It inter alia expanded the listing criteria for the travel ban and assets freeze to include entities (as well as individuals) requested that the PoE apprise the Committee of its activities on a monthly basis and expressed concern that all states were not implementing the assets freeze and travel ban on designated individuals. 

On 21 March, Ambassador Néstor Osorio (Colombia), chair of the 1591 Committee, briefed the Council in consultations on the recent activities of the Committee. His presentation focused on the recommendations outlined in the recent report of the PoE, which was circulated to Council members in late January but had not been released publicly at press time.   

On 27 January, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressing its concern that Ibrahim Gambari, the joint UN-AU Special Representative for Darfur, had attended the wedding of Chadian President Idriss Déby, at which Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was also a guest. The letter noted that “UN guidelines state that ‘the presence of UN representatives in any ceremonial or similar occasion with (persons indicted by international criminal courts) should be avoided.” Gambari was photographed at the wedding with Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant on 1 March for Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, Sudan’s Defence Minister, for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004, when Hussein was Minister of the Interior and Special Representative of the President in Darfur. (ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo had requested the pre-trial chamber to issue a warrant for Hussein’s arrest on 2 December 2011.) 

A series of workshops to disseminate the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur throughout the region began on 18 January. Led by the signatories to the document (the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement) and supported logistically by the UN, these workshops are designed to promote greater understanding of the Doha document among the people of Darfur and to create an environment conducive to its implementation.

On 8 February, the Darfur Regional Authority, responsible for managing implementation of the Doha document and development in the region, was officially launched in El-Fasher. In a message read on his behalf by Gambari, the Secretary-General urged the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement to “take all necessary measures to equip the authority to fulfil its responsibility to promote reconciliation, early recovery and development” in Darfur.  

The Darfur peace process framework was published in late March. The framework outlines mediation and facilitation steps that can be undertaken by the UN and the AU to support the peace process in Darfur.  It is based on three key elements: 

  • implementation of the Doha document;
  • engagement with the Sudanese government and rebel groups that have not signed the Doha document; and
  • dialogue with Darfurians on the peace process.

The framework states that UNAMID will monitor the political and civil rights of participants involved in consultations on the peace process and use its “good offices” role in conjunction with the AU High-Level Implementation Panel to encourage implementation of the Doha document. It also notes that the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement will have to be flexible and possibly renegotiate elements of the Doha document with rebel groups that have not acceded to the peace process. 

UNAMID has continued to operate under challenging security conditions. On 19 February, 55 UNAMID peacekeepers on patrol in north-western Darfur were blocked by approximately 100 rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement. The peacekeeping patrol, which included 50 Senegalese troops, remained in the area for two days, while negotiations took place to secure the release of one Yemeni police advisor and two Sudanese language assistants, who were part of the patrol and who had been detained by the rebel group. On 24 February, two members of a UNAMID formed police unit were wounded near El Dein in East Darfur when an unidentified gunman shot them while they were travelling in a bus near their base.  Additionally, a UNAMID peacekeeper was killed and three were wounded on 29 February when unidentified gunmen ambushed them near the town of Shearia in South Darfur. .  

Human Rights-Related Developments
At its last session, concluded on 23 March, the Human Rights Council endorsed Mashood Baderin as the new UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan. (Baderin replaces Mohamed Chande Othman, who resigned from his post on 19 December 2011. He is an academic with expertise in international law, Islamic law and human rights.)  

Key Issues 
A key issue is how the Council responds to the findings of the review of personnel required for UNAMID to carry out its mandate effectively and, in particular, how this affects the mission’s structure. (It seems that the review may recommend a reduction in the number of military personnel needed by UNAMID.)

Another key issue is whether the framework can breathe life into the peace process in Darfur. A related and ongoing issue is the fact that several key rebel groups in the region have not agreed to the Doha document, including the Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid and the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi.   

An important issue is whether Gambari’s presence at a social event also attended by Bashir is in keeping with his responsibilities as the joint AU-UN Special Representative and mediator in Darfur or whether it represents a violation of UN guidelines regarding interaction with persons indicted by the ICC. 

Further key issues are the targeting of UNAMID peacekeepers and the challenges they face in ensuring their own security. (Thirty-six UNAMID peacekeepers have been killed since the mission deployed on 31 December 2007.)

Also a key issue is whether and when the final report of the PoE, which was circulated to Council members in late January, will be publicly released. (The last final report of the PoE, which was submitted to the Committee in October 2010 and conveyed to the Council proper in November 2010, was delayed by China and did not become public until March 2011.)

Regarding the review of UNAMID’s uniformed personnel, options for the Council include:

  • maintaining the force level;
  • reducing the current force level; or
  • deferring a decision until July, when the mandate is scheduled to expire, to allow time for further consideration of the review’s findings.

The Council may also consider a statement:

  • welcoming the framework of the facilitation of the Darfur peace process;reducing the current force level;
  • reaffirming its support for the peace process,
  • expressing its concern at Gambari’s judgement in attending a wedding at which Bashir’s presence could have been anticipated.  

Another option is for the 1591 Committee to consider imposing an assets freeze and/or travel ban on rebel groups in Darfur that have not joined the peace process, as a means of pressuring them into doing so. (Imposing such sanctions on these groups is now possible, as resolution 2035 has expanded the purview of the sanctions regime to include entities as well as individuals.)

Council Dynamics
Several Council members believe that, especially in an era of financial austerity, UNAMID may be able to fulfil its mandate with a smaller force level through enhanced operational efficiency. While it appears that banditry and criminality are a serious problem in Darfur (including for UNAMID’s personnel), some members also seem to believe that there has been enough progress in the security situation in Darfur to permit a reduction.   

Several members appear disappointed with the Darfur peace process framework. There is a sense among these members that the document does not offer much in terms of fresh thinking and that, in some instances, it merely outlines activities already underway. Likewise, several Council members seem uncertain as to why there was a long delay in finalising the document. The Secretary-General noted in his October 2011 report on Darfur that the framework would be completed by the end of 2011.

There appears to be differences of opinion concerning whether or not the Council has a responsibility to publish the report of the PoE. Some members believe that, as a matter of procedure and transparency, the report should be made public. Others, however, believe that there is not a responsibility to do so, feeling as well that the report contains inaccuracies. Different perspectives regarding whether or not to make public the report is relevant to Council sanctions regimes more generally; for example, the most recent reports of the PoE of the 1718 Sanctions Committee (North Korea) and the 1737 Sanctions Committee (Iran) have also been put on hold and have not been released publicly.  

The UK is the lead country on Darfur.  

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UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2035 (17 February 2012) extended the mandate of the Sudan sanctions panel of experts until 17 February 2013. 
  • S/RES/2003 (29 July 2011) extended UNAMID’s mandate until 31 July 2012. 
  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.
  • S/RES/1591 (29 March 2005) and S/RES/1556 (30 July 2004) imposed sanctions.

Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2011/814 (30 December 2011) was the most recent quarterly report on UNAMID.
  • S/2011/252 (15 April 2011) was on implementation of the Darfur Political Process.


  • S/2012/166 (20 March 2012) contained the Framework for African Union and United Nations Facilitation of the Darfur Peace Process.
  • S/PV.6700 (11 January 2012) was the Council’s discussion of the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMID.

Other Relevant Facts

UNAMID: Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Ibrahim Gambari (Nigeria)

UNAMID: Force Commander

Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba (Rwanda)

UNAMID: Size, Composition, Cost and Duration

Maximum authorised strength: up to 19,555 military personnel, 3,772 police and 19 formed police units (total police 6,432) Main troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda, Egypt, Ethiopia and Senegal
Military strength as of 29 February 2012: 17,767 troops and 308 military observers 
Police Strength as of 29 February 2012: 5,182 police personnel
Annual Budget: $1.69 billion
Duration: 31 July 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2012

Sanctions Committee Chairman

Néstor Osorio (Colombia)

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