June 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 June 2012
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LRA/UNOCA

Expected Council Action
In June, the Council expects a briefing on the Secretary-General’s report on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNOCA, Abou Moussa.

An “Arria formula” meeting on the LRA, co-hosted by Portugal and the UK, may take place before the consultations.

The Secretary-General’s report was expected by the end of May. 

Key Recent Developments
On 14 November 2011, the Council heard a briefing from Moussa on the Secretary-General’s first report on UNOCA and the Secretary-General’s report on LRA-affected areas pursuant to Security Council press statement of 21 July (

Following the meeting, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2011/21) commending the AU’s efforts to resolution 2018 regionally engage the LRA issue. It further called on the AU to promptly appoint a Special Envoy for the LRA-affected areas (Francisco Caetano José Madeira was appointed as the AU Special Envoy on the LRA on 23 November). The Council requested that the Secretary-General keep it informed on LRA-related developments in a single report on the LRA and UNOCA, to be submitted by 31 May. It also encouraged UNOCA to work with the UN missions and the AU to develop a regional strategy for international humanitarian, development and peacebuilding assistance in the LRA-affected areas.

On 22 November 2011, the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) authorised the implementation of the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the LRA (RCI-LRA) for an initial period of six months. The initiative was designed to have three components:

  • The Joint Coordination Mechanism chaired by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and composed of the defence ministers of the affected countries. The mechanism—located in Bangui, Central African Republic—is to be responsible for political and strategic coordination with affected states and other actors.
  • The Regional Task Force (RTF), numbering 5,000 soldiers and composed of national contingents from the affected countries. The RTF headquarters comprise 30 officers and will be located in Yambio, South Sudan, and in addition it will designate four liaison officers in the Joint Intelligence and Operations Centre, based in Dungu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The Joint Operations Centre, a component of the RTF, with a total staff component of 30 officers. Under the authority of the RTF commander, it is performing integrated planning and monitoring of the operation.

The PSC also declared the LRA a terrorist group and requested that the Security Council do the same. (The Council has not expressed itself on this issue.)

On 24 March, Moussa and Madeira launched the operational phase of the RCI-LRA in a ceremony in Juba, South Sudan. The following day, the two travelled to Yambio to inaugurate the RTF headquarters. On 8 May, the Joint Coordination Mechanism held its first meeting in Addis Ababa with the participation of UN representatives. The ministers discussed and adopted measures to be taken to set up the RTF.

On 17 April, Germany and the UK co-hosted an expert-level informal meeting on the LRA in which Council members heard an update from the UN Department of Political Affairs, Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the status of the UN strategy requested in its presidential statement. Council members were told that the strategy had yet to be completed but will include goals and recommendations on improving coordination between UN missions and the AU initiative, as well as a gap analysis of the UN’s current response. Council members were told that the strategy will be ready prior to June’s Council meeting.

On 22 May, the PSC renewed the authorisation of the RCI-LRA for another 12 months. The PSC invited the Security Council and the Secretary-General to assist the initiative through the peacekeeping mission in the region, including by adjusting, if necessary, the mandates of these missions.

On 12 May, the Ugandan military announced that it had captured Caesar Acellam, one of the LRA’s top military leaders, in the Central African Republic. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Special Representative for children and armed conflict, called on Uganda to bring Acellam to justice. However, a chief legal adviser to the Uganda Amnesty Commission said Acellam could seek a pardon under the Ugandan Amnesty Act.

On 29 February, the Council adopted resolution 2039 on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. The resolution requested that UNOCA, together with the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), keep the Council informed on this issue. (On 31 October 2011, the Council unanimously passed resolution 2018, condemning acts of piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea region. Since then, the issue has featured regularly on the Council’s agenda.)

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is obtaining adequate information on the implementation of the AU initiative and the UN regional strategy to address the LRA in order to identify the Council’s best role in supporting or endorsing AU efforts.

What other steps can be taken to enhance existing peacekeeping missions in the region in response to the LRA is a further issue for the Council to consider.

A related issue is the role UNOCA can play in coordinating UN efforts on the LRA problem.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • issuing a presidential statement or a press statement welcoming recent progress and stressing its intentions to keep a focus on the LRA issue;
  • addressing the information provided on the AU regional initiative and requesting the Secretary-General to report to the Council on its particulars as it unfolds;
  • endorsing the UN regional strategy or requesting its further elaboration;
  • requesting another report on the issue;
  • urging better cooperation among countries in the region in prioritising protection of civilians in LRA-affected areas; or
  • taking no action at this time.

Council Dynamics
It seems that setting the structures of the AU initiative—in particular its command and control mechanisms—are at their final stages, yet Council members are looking forward to receiving more information on the implementation of the AU-mandated initiative on the ground. At this stage, some Council members are less keen to take a proactive stance on the development and implementation of the RCI-LRA and feel that they should revisit the issue in the fall, when the initiative is fully operational. 

Council members are hoping that UNOCA’s report and the UN strategy will provide a better understanding of how the Council can play a constructive role in support of an AU authorised initiative, within a larger UN regional strategy. Some Council members may ask Moussa about ways Council-mandated peacekeeping operations in the region can be better utilised to support the RCI-LRA or bilateral LRA-related efforts within their current resources. They are likely to also discuss those questions among themselves.

The UK is the lead country on the LRA.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolution

  •  S/2012/2039 (29 February 2012) was on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Security Council Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2011/21 (14 November 2011) was on the AU efforts regarding the LRA.

Press Statements

  • SC/10364 (18 August 2011) was on the role of UNOCA.
  • SC/10335 (21 July 2011) was on efforts to address the LRA issue.  

Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6657 (14 November 2011) was the briefing by Moussa.

Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2011/704 (10 November 2011) was the first report on UNOCA.
  • S/2011/693 (4 November 2011) was on the LRA-affected areas.

Other Relevant Documents

AU Decisions

  • PSC/PR/COMM. (CCCXXI) (22 May 2012) renewed the authorisation of the RCI-LRA for 12 months by the PSC.
  • PSC/MIN/(CCCXXI) (22 May 2012) was the report of the chairperson of the AU Commission to the PSC on the implementation of the RCI-LRA.
  • PSC/PR/COMM.(CCXCIX) (22 November 2011) authorised the implementation of the RCI-LRA.

Full Forecast