April 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 March 2012
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
In April the Council is expected to consider the final report of the panel of experts (PoE) that supports the Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee. Resolution 1980 of 28 April 2011 renewed for a year 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 Council is expected to renew the sanctions regime and the mandate of the PoE, though at press time it was unclear whether the sanctions regime will be modified and how.

The mandate of UNOCI expires on 31 July 2012.

Key Recent Developments
Albert Gerard Koenders, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Côte d’Ivoire and head of UNOCI, briefed the Council on 26 January on the December 2011 legislative elections. As many as 1,160 candidates from 35 parties contested 255 legislative seats. The UN deployed 7,000 troops across the country; to complement this, three armed helicopters and two military utility helicopters from the mission in Liberia were transferred to Côte d’Ivoire from 3 to 31 December. Voter turnout was predictably low at 35 percent, but the elections were largely peaceful.

Incidents of violence, however, were reported after the polls. Government forces killed ten people in December 2011 in the western town of Vavoua and the southern town of Sikensi.

In early February, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) sent an assessment mission to Côte d’Ivoire to look at various contentious issues, including security, relating to overall stability in the country. The report is expected to be circulated to Council members by the end of March.

On 12 March, former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro was elected head of the National Assembly. Soro had said on 15 December that Côte d’Ivoire would ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) once the National Assembly began deliberations. As the former leader of the Forces Nouvelles rebel group, which human rights activists have accused of widespread violations, Soro’s attitude towards the ICC will be important.

Human Rights-Related Developments
On 21 March, the Human Rights Council (HRC) discussed the report of the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire, Doudou Diene. Diene noted that most of human rights violations resulted “less from the state’s complicity than from its failure to prevent them, because of the difficulty of reforming the security sector.” Diene implicated rogue government forces in 27 cases of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment and 22 cases of arbitrary arrests. He told the HRC that the long-lasting roots of the crisis in the country were based on three main factors: the fight for political power to the detriment of human rights; the relationships among the political structure, ethnicity and rural land policy; and the predominance of a culture of impunity and lawlessness at all levels of power. He stated that the mandate of the Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Commission was weakened by a lack of a reference to justice, and he urged that priority be given to the question of reform in the security sector, especially to the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former rebels. For its part, the government told the HRC that it had taken strict measures to confine to barracks and reform the troops of the Republican Forces who had participated in the recent conflict.

The last Côte d’Ivoire PoE report discussed by the Council was submitted on 17 October 2011. That report highlighted a number of crucial gaps. The PoE did not have an arms expert, though illicit arms and weapons proliferation were a core concern. It reported that after the serious nation-wide violence following presidential elections in November 2010, “thousands of weapons still remain unaccounted for” and these weapons “pose a threat to the stabilisation of the country.” The report cited the views of government interlocutors that the threat is particularly palpable in the west of the country, bordering Liberia. (The latest Liberia PoE report, which was discussed by the Council on 9 December 2011, details the impact of the return of an estimated 4,500 Liberian mercenaries who had been hired and deployed by former president Laurent Gbagbo during the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. The Liberia PoE claimed to have interviewed a large number of mercenary commanders in Liberia but reported finding few combat weapons in the hands of these ex-mercenaries.)

The Côte d’Ivoire PoE report gave considerable space to diamond mining, which was a source of funding for some of the armed groups in the country. It noted that the situation in the diamond fields has “not changed dramatically following the post-electoral crisis”, and that diamond mining in northern Côte d’Ivoire “continues unabated and there is a lack of oversight and control of diamond operations.” But it stated that the PoE was “unable to establish a direct link between the possible diversion of revenues from diamond-mining activities and the purchase of weapons by either party involved in the conflict.” Côte d’Ivoire is not a participant in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), though the Ministry of Mines and Energy informed the PoE that Côte d’Ivoire “has met several of the minimum standards for compliance.” The PoE report, however, noted that the only evidence the Ministry provided for this claim was a copy of Decree No. 2003-143, which states the government’s commitment to the KPCS.

Of immediate interest in view of the ICC’s ongoing investigations was the report’s dealing with a number of individuals on the travel ban list. One such individual is Charles Blé Goudé, a notorious former ally of Gbagbo who was reported to have committed mass atrocities. The report noted that Goudé “is outside the country, which would constitute a clear violation of the travel ban.” Goudé, who is believed to be in a neighbouring country, “still exercises leadership over the Congrès panafricain des jeunes et patriotes (COJEP) and intends to reactivate his political network in Côte d’Ivoire,” the report stated. (On 1 July 2011, the Côte d’Ivoire government issued an international arrest warrant calling for the apprehension of Goudé for serious violations of human rights.)

Another individual discussed is Martin Kouakou Fofié, a commander in Soro’s Forces Nouvelles who was reported to have been involved in abuses. The PoE report noted that on 3 August 2011, “Fofié was appointed by the current government as the military commander of Zone 10 of the country and is based in Korhogo.”

The report expressed concern about “the lack of oversight by state authorities of the transport of cargo to and from neighbouring countries.” It noted that “based on an assessment of the extensive movement of transit cargo between Burkina Faso and Mali prior to the post-electoral crisis…a significant amount of revenue must have been generated from such trade.” Therefore, the report “cannot dismiss the possibility that such revenues were used for the purchase of arms and related materiel in breach of the embargo.”

The latest PoE report on Côte d’Ivoire was submitted to the 1572 Sanctions Committee members in March. It is expected to be discussed by the Committee and then by the Council in consultations in the first half of April, and to be published after that.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is the suitability of the sanctions regime as currently designed in view of the current political situation and steps taken by the government of President Alassane Ouattara to consolidate state authority and to establish the rule of law throughout the country.

A related issue is what measures would be most suitable to boost addressing some key challenges faced by the government, such as the extension of state authority to all or most parts of the country.

A  further issue is the successful implementation of the transitional justice mechanisms that are being set in motion, including the, indictment of former President Gbagbo by the ICC, further ICC investigations, the prosecution for economic crimes and the work of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Options
Removing most of the measures contained in the current sanctions regime, with the exception of the travel ban (to assist the ICC investigations) and the diamond sanctions (until Côte d’Ivoire is fully compliant with the requirements of the KPCS and becomes a participant) is an option.

Maintaining the sanctions regime through a technical rollover of resolution 1980 and renewing the mandate of the PoE (possibly for shorter period than a full year) is another option.

Council Dynamics
Within the Council, it seems there is consensus among members for the need to assist Côte d’Ivoire through its current phase of peace consolidation, reconstruction and the reconciliation process. Council members, in particular France—co-sponsor with Nigeria of resolution 1975 of 30 March 2011, which imposed targeted sanctions against five individuals and reaffirmed UNOCI’s mandate to protect civilians—continue to pay significant attention to the issue.

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

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2025 (14 December 2011) extended the sanctions regime on Liberia and the mandate of its Panel of Experts
  • 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

Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala)

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

Full forecast 

 

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