Expected Council Action
In January, the Council expects a briefing on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire and on the Secretary-General’s forthcoming report by Albert Gerard Koenders, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), followed by consultations.
The outcome may be a presidential or press statement. The current mandate of UNOCI expires on 31 July 2013.
Key Recent Developments
A number of recent security incidents and political developments indicate that Côte d’Ivoire remains unstable and is still recovering from the events following the 2010 elections.
The security situation has significantly deteriorated since Koenders last briefed the Council on 26 July, with a spate of attacks on army and police bases and on border posts during August and September, deepening insecurity and further heightening political tensions. These attacks included cross-border violence from both Ghana and Liberia.
Since these attacks, there have been an increasing number of reports accusing the military of illegal detention and mistreatment.
Allies of both current President Alassane Ouattara and former President Laurent Gbagbo committed atrocities in the aftermath of the elections, yet more than 100 people linked to Gbagbo are reported to have been charged, in contrast to several low-level soldiers who supported Ouattara.
Inaugurated in September 2011, the 11-member Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been facing difficulties in establishing its presence in rural areas and receiving the necessary political and financial support it needs for effective operation. No amnesties will be available for those who confess to crimes.
Recent events reflect an increasing rift between the political parties, particularly between the Rally of the Republicans—which won an outright majority in the legislative elections in December 2011—and its main partner in the coalition government, the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire. On 14 November 2012, Ouattara dissolved the 36-member cabinet and formed a new government on 22 November with 28 ministers. Meanwhile, the pro-Gbagbo Ivorian Popular Front, which boycotted the December 2011 elections, remains marginalised from the political process.
Challenges remain in moving forward on security sector reform (SSR). It is hoped the stalled reform process will be reinvigorated by the wake-up call provided by the recent string of violent attacks and will subsequently promote progress in the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants who participated in the conflict.
An inter-ministerial working group completed a national SSR strategy in early August—including DDR elements—which was endorsed by the National Security Council. This working group is expected to conduct consultations with stakeholders for its validation, which in turn will feed into the broader national reconciliation process.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed that proceedings against Gbagbo will start on 19 February 2013. In ICC custody since 30 November 2011, Gbagbo has been charged, as an indirect co-perpetrator, with four counts of crimes against humanity for incidents that occurred in the post-electoral violence between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011. On 22 November 2012, the ICC unsealed an arrest warrant against his wife, Simone Ehivet Gbagbo, for four counts of crimes against humanity.
During an open debate on the subject of peacekeeping operations, several Council members cited the increasing cooperation between UNOCI and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as a positive example of inter-mission cooperation to fill critical gaps. UNOCI has also demonstrated its ability to promote regional cooperation, supporting the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and others in the region—including Ghana and Liberia—in addressing subregional security issues along common borders. The 15 October report (S/2012/766) of the Group of Experts assisting the 1572 Sanctions Committee also highlighted increasing concerns of links between the military junta in Mali and pro-Gbagbo groups attempting to seize power in Côte d’Ivoire.
Human Rights-Related Developments
From 24 September to 12 October 2012, Doudou Diène, the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire appointed by the Human Rights Council (HRC), undertook his third visit to the country. In addition to meetings with the government, he visited pro-Gbagbo detainees to assess their treatment. On 12 October, he deplored that no one had yet been arrested for the 20 July deadly attack on the Nahibly camp for internally displaced people in Duékoué. Diène is next due to report to the HRC in March 2013.
The Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, visited the country for six days, warning on 1 December that failure to quickly bring perpetrators of serious human rights crimes to justice could lead to recurrent violence in Côte d’Ivoire. He also stressed the urgency of completing investigations into the Nahibly incident.
An overarching issue is the security situation, in particular the recent series of attacks targeting national security forces.
A related issue is the impact of such attacks on already existing divisions throughout the country, impeding progress in both political dialogue and national reconciliation.
Security sector reform—comprising the DDR process—remains a key issue.
A broader issue is regional cooperation with the governments of neighbouring countries, in addition to inter-mission cooperation between UNOCI and UNMIL.
One option for the Council is to issue a presidential or press statement that would contain some or all of the following elements:
- urging the authorities to pursue SSR and move ahead on the reconciliation process;
- encouraging UNOCI to play a more active role in supporting the political process, promoting progress in SSR and reconciliation; and
- highlighting the importance of considering the fragile security situation when planning for the scaling down of UNOCI.
Another option would be to take no action and instead wait until the expiry of UNOCI’s mandate on 31 July.
There are no serious divisions among Council members on the issue of Côte d’Ivoire.
While Ouattara has enjoyed international credibility and support, some members are frustrated with the lack of progress and the slow pace of the SSR and reconciliation processes under his leadership.
France is the lead country on Côte d’Ivoire.
UN DOCUMENTS ON CÔTE D’IVOIRE
|Security Council Resolutions|
|26 July 2012 S/RES/2062||This resolution renewed the mandate of UNOCI until 31 July 2013.|
|26 April 2012 S/RES/2045||This resolution renewing the Cote d’Ivoire sanctions regime for 12 months, renewed the mandate of the Panel of Experts and rolled over most of the measures in resolution 1980.|
|16 September 2011 S/RES/2008||This resolution 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.|
|29 June 2012 S/2012/506||This was the Secretary-General’s report on UNOCI.|
|29 March 2012 S/2012/186||This was a special Secretary-General’s report on the reduction of UNOCI’s military component.|
|Security Council Letters|
|16 October 2012 S/2012/772||This was a letter from the Secretary-General to the Council recommending a deferment in the reduction of UNOCI’s military strength.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|18 July 2012 S/PV.6808||Special Representative and head of UNOCI Albert Gerard Koenders briefed the Council.|
|Security Council Press Statements|
|8 June 2012 SC/10668||Condemned the attack by unknown militia fighters which killed seven peacekeepers from Niger and eleven others in the southwest of Cote d’Ivoire near the Liberian border.|
|Sanctions Committee Documents|
|15 October 2012 S/2012/766||This was the midterm report of the Group of Experts.|
|11 April 2012 S/2012/196||This was a report of the Group of Experts.|
OTHER RELEVANT FACTS
Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNOCI
Albert Gerard Koenders (Netherlands)
UNOCI Size and Composition
Strength as of 31 October 2012: 415 international civilians, 767 local civilians, 9,398 troops, 189 military observers, 1,428 police and 189 UN volunteers
4 April 2004 to present