June 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 June 2012
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AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action
In June, Roger Meece, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), is expected to brief the Council on developments and the Secretary-General’s latest report on MONUSCO. The briefing will be followed by consultations. 

Consultations will also be held on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Sanctions Committee, in which the Chair of the committee, Agshin Mehdiyev (Azerbaijan), is expected to brief the Council on interim report of the group of experts.

The Sanctions Committee will likely convene to discuss the interim report as well.

The Council is likely to renew the mandate of MONUSCO, which expires on 30 June.

Key Recent Developments
On 7 February, Meece last briefed the Council. Following the briefing, the Council held closed consultations with Meece and Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, following his recent visit to the DRC.  

On 20 March, the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC reported that during the elections, at least 33 people in Kinshasa were killed by security forces, 83 were wounded and 16 were still missing. More than 265 people were arrested, and the majority of them were arbitrarily detained in various detention facilities in Kinshasa. There was also consistent, corroborated testimony of torture in detention.

In early April, several senior military and former members of the Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP) rebel group defected from the army and regrouped as a rebel force, and according to media reports attacked government troops and took control of areas in North Kivu province on 29 April.

On 11 April, DRC President Joseph Kabila was reported as calling for the arrest of CNDP leader Bosco Ntaganda, for whom there is a pending arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2006. Ntaganda has denied any involvement in the recent hostilities. (Kabila’s statement was a significant departure from his previous assertions that Ntaganda’s cooperation was essential in keeping the peace in the east of the country.)

In light of the escalation of violence in North Kivu, the Council held consultations on 3 May and was briefed by Ladsous. Following the consultations, the Council issued a press statement, urging the DRC to continue efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive national security sector development strategy and stressed the importance of an effective reintegration process. The Council further stressed the importance of the DRC actively seeking and holding accountable those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country. The Council urged the DRC to cooperate with the ICC and called upon MONUSCO to assist the DRC, within its mandate, in this regard.

Speaking to the press via teleconference during the daily UN noon briefing on 22 May, Meece reported that Ntaganda had orchestrated the army mutiny, which was countered by a Congolese army operation that eventually contained the rebels to a limited area near Virunga Park, North Kivu. He noted that the fighting has caused displacement and has allowed for other rebel groups to operate freely.

On 14 May, 11 Pakistani MONUSCO peacekeepers were wounded, two of them critically, after villagers opened fire on the troops at a UN base in Bunyakiri, South Kivu. The villagers were protesting after an overnight attack on their village had reportedly killed six people. They claimed that MONUSCO did nothing to protect them from an attack attributed to the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR).

On the same day, on the initiative of Pakistan, the Council held consultations and heard a briefing by Ladsous, after which it issued a press release condemning the attacks and expressing concern over the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Kivus.

On 20 April, Council members attended an Arria Formula meeting on security sector reform (SSR) in the DRC, organised by France.  Speakers at the meeting were Emmanuel Kabengele of the Congolese Network for Security Sector Reform and Justice, Mvemba Dizolele of the Eastern Congo Initiative and Marta Martinelli of the Open Society Foundations. A focus of the meeting was a recent report titled “Taking a Stand on Security Sector Reform,” issued on 16 April by 13 international and Congolese organisations and networks. In order to address the lack of political will in the DRC to conduct SSR, the report recommends that the Council extend the DRC sanctions regime to those individuals impeding reforms, empower MONUSCO to provide support for military reform and increase its SSR resources.

The Council received the Secretary-General’s latest report on MONUSCO on 23 May. The report recommends renewing MONUSCO’s mandate at its current strength and maintaining its primary focus on protection of civilians. It notes that MONUSCO will discuss with the DRC authorities new approaches to support SSR and that MONUSCO should continue to support the completion of the electoral cycle. 

The Council also received an advance copy of the sanctions Group of Experts’ interim report in May. Among other things the group recommends updating the sanctions list based on new information it will provide the Sanctions Committee, in particular on alleged child recruiters. The experts called on the Council to strongly condemn the practice of child recruitment in the DRC.

On 14 March, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, head of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), was convicted by the ICC for recruiting children under the age of 15 who had participated actively on the frontline, which constitutes a war crime. Sentencing hearings are to commence in June.

On 28 April, Kabila announced the formation of his new government, composed of 36 members.

On 14 May, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced his request that the court expand the arrest warrant against Ntaganda to include crimes against humanity and additional counts of war crimes. An application for the arrest of FDLR leader Sylvestre Mudacumura for crimes against humanity and war crimes was also filed with the court.

Human Rights-Related Developments
Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović visited the DRC for nine days in May. Speaking on 11 May in Kinshasa at the conclusion of his visit, he expressed grave concern about the human rights situation in the country. Šimonović said that he was appalled by the heightened levels of recent violence in Eastern Congo that had resulted in the displacement of 40,600 people since April and human rights violations. An efficient justice system equipped with adequate resources was essential in fighting against impunity and in deterring future human rights violations. Šimonović welcomed joint efforts between MONUSCO, humanitarian actors and the authorities to protect civilians and respond to human rights violations. On 16 May, Šimonović met informally with Council members’ DRC experts to brief them on his visit. In addition to the above, he focused on the lack of progress on SSR in the DRC and the need to establish trustworthy security forces. He noted that there has been no follow-up on post-election violence and human rights violations.

Key Issues
The main issue for the Council is renewing MONUSCO’s mandate. 

Protection of civilians and keeping a close eye on the escalation of violence in North Kivu and MONUSCO’s response remain concerns.

Another issue is re-evaluating MONUSCO’s role in assisting the DRC government in the continuing election cycle, with elections for the provincial assemblies and local elections scheduled tentatively for 2013.

An ongoing issue for the Council is the lack of progress on SSR in the DRC.

Lack of accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations and the lack of cooperation with the ICC remain issues.

Options
Options for the Council include: 

  • renewing MONUSCO’s mandate for another year at its current configuration;
  • adjusting MONUSCO’s role in providing logistical and technical assistance to the provincial and local elections;
  • demanding that the DRC cooperate with the ICC and hold violators of human rights accountable;
  • reinforcing MONUSCO’s role in SSR and other rule of law-related reforms; and
  • closely monitoring the events in North Kivu and the preparations for elections and convening additional Council meetings as necessary.

Council Dynamics
Due to divergent views among Council members on the credibility of the election process, the Council was unable to pronounce its view of the November elections. Some members feel that MONUSCO’s role in the previous election was inadequate, as it did not help to facilitate a credible process.  Also, some feel that there was a lack of real-time and transparent reporting from MONUSCO on election-related developments as they unfolded. In their view, MONUSCO should have been more active in acknowledging reports of election irregularities and keeping the Council aware of the situation.    

One possible recalibration of MONUSCO’s elections support considered by Council members is a policy of conditional assistance, dependent on the conduct of credible elections by the DRC government. Yet at the same time, some members are worried that such a policy may backfire and result in further irregularities. Council members would also like MONUSCO to have the capability to assess and recalibrate its assistance if necessary as changes occur. Council members are still cautious about an election monitoring or certification role for MONUSCO.

The reintegration of rebel groups into the army and SSR are two main priorities for the Council at this juncture, as lack of progress continues to directly affect the protection of civilians.  Though the position of the newly formed government on enhancing SSR efforts is unclear at this point, there seems to be an agreement among Council members that the DRC has lacked the political will to move forward on SSR. In light of this, some Council members are of the view that the renewed mandate should provide for a coordination role on SSR. Such a role can be mandated to MONUSCO or can be taken by some other configuration, such as a Congolese focal point or international contact group on SSR. 

The lead country is France.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2021 (29 Nov 2011) extended the DRC sanctions and the mandate of the group of experts to 30 November 2012. 
  • S/RES/1991 (28 June 2011) extended the mandate of MONUSCO until 30 June 2012.  

Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2011/11 (18 May 2011) focused on stabilisation efforts in the DRC.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2012/355 (23 May 2012)

Security Council Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6712 (7 February 2012) was the latest briefing by Meece.

Security Council Press Statements

  • SC/10647 (14 May 2012) was on the attacks on Pakistani peacekeepers.
  • SC/10634 (3 May 2012) followed the events in North Kivu.
  • SC/10470 (2 December 2011) was on the election process.
  • SC/10441 (8 November 2011) expressed concern over violence in the DRC.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Roger Meece (US)

MONUSCO Force Commander

Lt. Gen. Chander Prakash (India)

MONUSCO Size, Composition and Cost of Mission

Strength as of 30 April 2012: 17,057 troops, 699 military observers, 1,366 police, 954 international civilian personnel, 2,864 local civilian staff and 606 UN volunteers

Approved budget (1 July 2011-30 June 2012): $ 1.489 billion

Mission Duration

30 November 1999 to present: mandate expires on 30 June 2012

Full forecast