Democratic Republic of the Congo
Expected Council Action
In May, the Security Council may be briefed in consultations by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, following her first trip to the region. A press statement is a possible outcome.
The mandate of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) expires on 31 March 2014.
Key Recent Developments
On 24 February, the “Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region” was signed in Addis Ababa by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in the presence of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The agreement obligates the DRC to implement security, government and structural reforms and to take steps towards democratisation, decentralisation and enhancing economic development and the rule of law in order to establish state authority in the eastern DRC, an area controlled by different rebel groups. It also asks the DRC to enhance the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process and for countries to cooperate by agreeing not to assist rebel groups operating in the DRC. The UN, the AU, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region are to act as guarantors of its implementation. Later that day, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the signing of the Framework (SC/10924).
The Secretary-General briefed the Council on 5 March on his 27 February special report (S/2013/119) on possible options and their implications for reinforcing the capability of MONUSCO (S/PV.6928). He recommended that the Council establish an “intervention brigade” under the command of MONUSCO and operating alongside it. This brigade would be responsible for preventing the expansion of armed groups and for neutralising and disarming them. It would include three infantry battalions deployed by SADC states. The special report also reiterated the importance of efforts to begin transferring responsibility for MONUSCO’s tasks to the UN Country Team (UNCT) in areas not affected by armed conflict, underlining the intention to eventually withdraw the mission from those areas and to maximise the use of resources. The Secretary-General informed the Council on 15 March of his intention to appoint Robinson as Special Envoy and on 25 March notified the Council that the implementation of his recommendations regarding the intervention brigade would cost an additional $140 million (S/2013/200).
The Council adopted resolution 2098 on 28 March, establishing, for an initial period of one year, an intervention brigade consisting of three infantry battalions and auxiliary forces under MONUSCO command based in Goma. Its key task is to carry out offensive operations to neutralise armed groups in order to reduce the threat to state and civilian security. In light of differences among Council members regarding the robust peace enforcement mandate given to the brigade, it was agreed that it was “on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent or any prejudice to the agreed principles of peacekeeping.” In addition, the resolution authorises MONUSCO, through its regular forces as well as this new intervention brigade, to carry out the following tasks: protection of civilians, monitoring the implementation of the arms embargo and providing support to national and international judicial processes.
In monitoring the implementation of the arms embargo in cooperation with the Group of Experts (GoE) assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee, the resolution places particular emphasis on cross-border flows of military personnel and arms, including by using surveillance capabilities such as unmanned aerial systems.
The resolution authorises MONUSCO to contribute, in coordination with the UNCT, to various tasks and to transfer, as soon as feasible, any other tasks to the UNCT and to shift its presence from western to eastern DRC to the fullest extent possible.
The resolution also demands that all parties fulfil their obligations under the Framework and calls on Robinson to lead its implementation and establish benchmarks to assess the implementation. The resolution states that the Council will take appropriate measures in case of noncompliance.
The resolution asks the Secretary-General to report every three months, including on the implementation of the Framework and any risks posed to UN personnel stemming from the actions of the intervention brigade. It also expresses the Council’s intention to review progress in the implementation of the Framework following Robinson’s first visit to the region.
On 18 March, Bosco Ntaganda, for whom there has been an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant since 7 August 2006, surrendered himself to the US embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. On 22 March he was transferred to the custody of the ICC in The Hague. Ntaganda is facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In March, the GoE paid a planned visit to Rwanda and Uganda. Only four (of six) of the experts were allowed into Rwanda, which had stated in the sanctions committee its refusal to cooperate with two of the experts. The GoE’s latest annual report (S/2012/843) accused both countries of providing support to the March 23 (M23) rebellion in the DRC. While in Rwanda, the GoE visited Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) detainment camps. They also requested to interview Ntaganda at the US embassy but were not given access.
On 22 March, the Council issued a press statement welcoming Ntaganda’s surrender and expressing concern that Sylvestre Mudacumura, commander of the FDLR, is still at large (SC/10956).
On 23 March, Mai-Mai Kata Katanga rebels clashed with DRC military in Lubumbashi, leaving 35 dead according to media reports. Approximately 245 rebels then took refuge in a MONUSCO compound. MONUSCO assisted in negotiating their surrender to the military.
Human Rights-Related Developments
On 8 March, the Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, said that MONUSCO had information about the involvement of two battalions of the DRC military in mass rapes and other human rights violations committed in November 2012. In line with the human rights due-diligence policy, the mission addressed two letters in February to the armed forces chief of staff to initiate the formal suspension of support to these units.
In March, the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO, comprising the Human Rights Division of MONUSCO and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC) published a report on deaths in detention centres in the DRC that had been confirmed as human rights violations between January 2010 and December 2012. At least 211 persons died in the detention centres as a result of the direct action or negligence of the state or of its officers, including 54 in 2010, 56 in 2011 and 101 in 2012. These findings show that the number of such deaths in detention almost doubled in 2012 compared to the previous two years and that conditions have deteriorated since previous reports in 2004 and 2005. Prison overcrowding, malnutrition, absence or lack of appropriate medical care and the insufficiency of budgets allocated to prisons, combined with the lack of transparency in how funds intended for detention centres are managed, constituted the main causes of these deaths according to the report.
UNJHRO is also preparing a report on the human rights violations committed in Minova and in Goma in November 2012.
The key issue for the Council is to ensure the implementation of resolution 2098 and the fulfilment of the commitments made by the parties in the Framework.
Another issue is to oversee the deployment of the intervention brigade and keep abreast of any collateral effects its exceptional enforcement mandate may have over the peacekeeping mandate of MONUSCO.
The Council can issue a press statement supporting the Special Envoy and calling on the countries in the region to fulfil their obligations and reiterating its willingness to take further measures if commitments are not met.
Another option would be a visit to the region in order to support the implementation of the Framework and show its strategic approach and a resolve to hold the parties to their commitments. (The Council visited the DRC on an annual basis between 2000 and 2010, but has failed to do so since its last visiting mission on 13-16 May 2010.)
During the negotiations over the resolution, and in particular the concept of the intervention brigade, some of the troop-contributing countries on the Council (China, Guatemala, Morocco and Pakistan) raised concerns about the blurring of the lines between traditional peacekeeping and robust peace enforcement, both as a matter of principle and because their own peacekeepers lives will be at greater risk.
With the adoption of MONUSCO’s new mandate, Council members are aware of the need to follow closely the implementation of the resolution and the Framework. At this stage they will be interested to hear Robinson’s first impressions after visiting the region and her assessment of the ability and political will of the parties to implement the Framework. In particular, Council members will be interested in hearing her views on the capacity and political will of the DRC government to undertake security sector and other reforms, including the development of a “rapid reaction force” that is to substitute for the intervention brigade in due course.
A Council visit to the region, originally planned for February and then rescheduled to May, has been postponed, possibly to take place in October.
France is the penholder on the DRC.
UN Documents on the DRC
|Security Council Resolutions|
|28 March 2013 S/RES/2098||This resolution renewed MONUSCO’s mandate—including an intervention brigade to neutralise rebel groups in eastern DRC—until 31 March 2014.|
|28 November 2012 S/RES/2078||This resolution renewed DRC sanctions and the mandate of the Group of Experts supporting the sanctions committee until 1 February 2014.|
|20 November 2012 S/RES/2076||The Council condemned the M23’s actions and external support given to the group and expressed its intention to consider additional targeted sanctions against the leadership of the M23 and those providing it with external support.|
|Security Council Presidential Statements|
|19 October 2012 S/PRST/2012/22||This presidential statement concerned the unrest caused by the M23 in the DRC.|
|Security Council Press Statements|
|22 March 2013 SC/10956||This press statement welcomed the surrender of Bosco Ntaganda to the ICC.|
|24 February 2013 SC/10924||This press statement welcomed the signing of a political framework agreement by the Secretary-General and the chairpersons of the AU Commission, the Southern African Development Community and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.|
|27 February 2013 S/2013/119||This was a special report on the DRC and MONUSCO, regarding options to respond to the M23 threat.|
|15 February 2013 S/2013/96||This was a report of the Secretary-General on MONUSCO.|
|Sanctions Committee Documents|
|12 November 2012 S/2012/843||The DRC Sanctions Committee’s Group of Experts annual report noted that both Rwandan and Ugandan officials have been assisting the M23 rebels to varying degrees.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|5 March 2013 S/PV.6928||At this meeting the Council received a briefing from the Secretary-General on his Special Report.|
|22 February 2013 S/PV.6925||This was a briefing by Roger Meece, the Special Representative and head of MONUSCO, on the Secretary-General’s February report on MONUSCO.|
|Security Council Letters|
|28 March 2013 S/2013/201||This letter from the President of the Council to the Secretary-General was on MONUSCO’s budget.|
|25 March 2013 S/2013/200||This letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council was on MONUSCO’s budget.|
|18 March 2013 S/2013/167||This letter from the President of the Council to the Secretary-General concerned the appointment of a Special Envoy.|
|15 March 2013 S/2013/166||This letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council on the appointment of a Special Envoy.|
|2 January 2013 S/2013/1||This letter was from the Secretary-General on the appointment of the Group of Experts.|
|28 December 2012 S/2012/967||This letter was from the Secretary-General on the appointment of the Group of Experts.|
Other Relevant Facts
Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission
Roger Meece (US)
MONUSCO Force Commander
Lieutenant General Chander Prakash (India)
MONUSCO Size, Composition and Cost of Mission
Strength as of 28 February 2013: 17,273 troops, 507 military observers, 1,380 police, 985 international civilian personnel, 2,902 local civilian staff and 591 UN volunteers
Approved budget (1 July 2012-30 June 2013): $1. 4 billion
30 November 1999 to present; mandate expires on 31 March 2014.