Expected Council Action
In July the Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) before it expires on 31 July. A briefing, by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, on recent developments and the Secretary-General’s report, due on 30 June, is also expected.
The current mandate of the French forces in the country also expires on 31 July.
Key Recent Developments
On 16 April, Edmond Mulet, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Council on the special report of the Secretary-General on UNOCI (S/2013/197). Mulet noted that Côte d’Ivoire had made good progress with regard to the security situation in general but that the situation remained fragile (S/PV.6947). In the subsequent consultations, Council members also discussed the final report of the Group of Experts assisting the 1572 Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee (S/2013/228).
Armed elements conducted deadly cross-border attacks from Liberia into Côte d’Ivoire on 13 March in Zilebly and 23 March in Petit Guiglo, leading to the death of 13 people and to further displacement. On 5 April, the governments of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire and the heads of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and UNOCI held a quadripartite meeting in Monrovia during which they condemned repeated sporadic attacks in the border region and agreed to reinforce coordinated border patrolling.
Police stations were also reportedly attacked in at least two separate incidents on 9 April in Abidjan and 22 May in Abengourou.
On 21 April, municipal and regional elections, originally scheduled for February, took place across Côte d’Ivoire without major incidents. Former President Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) boycotted the elections. Clashes between police and protesters occurred in different parts of the country on 22 April, including in Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, as the first results were declared.
Since the beginning of 2013, the government has engaged in direct discussions with the FPI and reportedly reached an agreement on a number of issues. Despite the FPI’s boycott of the 21 April elections, the government called for reopening political dialogue in July.
Between October 2012 and April 2013, more than 4,000 former combatants were disarmed and demobilised, some of whom are in the process of being employed in public service positions. The number of former combatants to be disarmed is estimated at 65,000. However, the national strategy for security sector reform (SSR) has remained in the planning stage.
Progress on reconciliation has remained slow. The Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission is struggling to produce concrete results before its mandate expires on 30 September, possibly in part due to questions being raised about the neutrality of its chairman, former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, who is the leading figure in the party that is in coalition with President Alassane Ouattara.
On 11 April, trials began against 33 soldiers allegedly implicated in crimes against the population but not related to the 2010-2011 post-election violence. On 18 May, Amadé Ouérémi was arrested. His forces fought alongside Ouattara’s forces, and he is suspected of playing a command role in the March 2011 Duékoué massacre, in which several hundred people were executed. He could be the first person from Ouattara’s side to be held accountable for post-election violence.
On 3 June, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC decided to adjourn the hearing on the confirmation of charges against Gbagbo, requesting the prosecution to consider providing further evidence or conducting further investigations with respect to the charges presented against him. On 11 June, the prosecution decided to appeal this decision. Also on 11 June, the ICC rejected the admissibility challenge raised by the defence that Gbagbo could not be prosecuted in The Hague because he was being investigated for the same crimes in Côte d’Ivoire.
In May, a UNOCI battalion made up of some 850 troops from Malawi repatriated from Côte d’Ivoire. (The reduction of UNOCI’s military strength was authorised in July 2012 in resolution 2062 but was deferred in light of the deterioration in the security situation in the country.)
In his March report, the Secretary-General recommended considering the introduction of unmanned aerial systems in UNOCI. During the 16 April Council briefing, Ambassador Youssoufou Bamba (Côte d’Ivoire) requested the deployment of surveillance drones in the border area between Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia to compensate for the withdrawal of peacekeepers. The 1521 Liberia Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts, however, during a 23 May meeting with the Committee argued that the effectiveness of drones in the Liberia-Côte d’Ivoire border area would be limited due to specific climatic and geographic conditions. (In the case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC], in a January letter to the Secretary-General, Council members took note of the Secretariat’s intention of deploying drones on a trial basis in line with the case-by-case approach regarding modern technologies and “without prejudice to the ongoing consideration by relevant United Nations bodies of legal, financial and technical implications” [S/2013/44].)
On 17 May, the Secretary-General appointed Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane (Niger) as Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire and head of UNOCI to replace Albert Gerard Koenders (Netherlands) who was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali. Koenders left for Mali on 4 June, and Souleymane is expected to arrive in Côte d’Ivoire in early July.
Human Rights-Related Developments
On 12 June, during the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire, Doudou Diène, presented his latest report (A/HRC/23/38). The report, among other things, recommended that the Security Council lift the arms embargo on Côte d’Ivoire in order for the country to reinforce internal security and address the risk of destabilisation inherent in the crisis in the Sahel and Sahara region. Diène, who last visited the country from 28 April to 4 May, reiterated his call for addressing impunity for all those who had committed crimes during the conflict regardless of political affiliations. He also suggested that the mandate of the National Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission be extended beyond its term, which expires in September. In a resolution adopted on 14 June, the HRC renewed the independent expert’s mandate for another year.
An overarching issue is the security situation along the border with Liberia and the uncontrolled circulation of weapons. Subregional security threats, including transnational crime and terrorism, are a growing concern.
Addressing the root causes of the conflict is a closely related issue. Efforts related to reconciliation, SSR, Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), and promotion of human rights are critical in this context.
Another related issue is the need to bring to justice those accused of having committed serious crimes regardless of their status or political affiliation.
Remaining deep political divisions, especially in view of the 2015 elections and the gradual drawdown of the mission, are a key issue.
An emerging issue for the Council is to assess the need, feasibility and appropriateness of drones to monitor the situation on the Liberia-Côte d’Ivoire border.
The Council could either adopt a resolution extending the mandate of UNOCI for another year without major changes or modify UNOCI’s mandate taking into consideration the Secretary-General’s recommendations, including:
- authorising the gradual withdrawal of additional battalions while highlighting the importance of considering the fragile security situation when planning for the scaling down of UNOCI;
- considering using surveillance drones on the border of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire; and/or
- creating a quick reaction capability within UNOCI that could provide support to UNMIL and to respond to other crises in the subregion.
The main controversy among Council members is the possible deployment of drones to monitor the Liberia-Côte d’Ivoire border. While some Council members favour this option, others argue that drones should only be deployed in a case-by-case approach and consider that it would be better to first assess their effectiveness in the DRC.
Most Council members are likely to agree on a further downsizing of the mission, on the condition that the situation on the ground is favourable.
Council members seem to agree that more needs to be done by the government on SSR, DDR, reconciliation and addressing impunity.
France is the penholder on Côte d’Ivoire.
UN DOCUMENTS ON CÔTE D’IVOIRE
|Security Council Resolutions|
|25 April 2013 S/RES/2101||This resolution renewed for a period of 12 months the sanctions regime on Côte d’Ivoire and the mandate of the Group of Experts.|
|17 September 2012 S/RES/2066||Extended the UNMIL mandate for one year and authorised the reduction of the mission’s military strength in three phases between October 2012 and September 2013.|
|26 July 2012 S/RES/2062||This resolution renewed the mandate of UNOCI until 31 July 2013.|
|28 March 2013 S/2013/197||This was the special report of the Secretary-General on UNOCI.|
|Security Council Letters|
|14 May 2013 S/2013/290||This letter from the Secretary-General was on the appointment of AÃ¯chatou Mindaoudou Souleymane (Niger) as Special Representative for CÃ´te d’Ivoire and head of UNOCI.|
|16 May 2013 S/2013/291||This was a letter between the Secretary-General and the Council on the appointment of AÃ¯chatou Mindaoudou Souleymane (Niger) as Special Representative for CÃ´te d’Ivoire and head of UNOCI.|
|27 December 2012 S/2013/43||This was the Secretary-General’s letter on the use of modern technologies.|
|22 January 2013 S/2013/44||This was the Council’s response to the Secretary-General’s letter on the use of modern technologies.|
|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|
|16 April 2013 S/PV.6947||
The Council was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet on the Secretary-General’s special UNOCI report.
OTHER RELEVANT FACTS
Special Representative and Head of UNOCI
Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane (Niger)
UNOCI Size and Composition
Estimated strength as of 31 May 2013:
424 international civilians, 767 local civilians, 8,528 troops, 193 military observers,
1,507 police and 175 UN volunteers (reflecting the repatriation back home of some 830 peacekeepers from Malawi).
4 April 2004 to present