January 2014 Monthly Forecast

Posted 20 December 2013
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

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 from Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), followed by consultations. No outcome is expected. 

UNOCI’s mandate expires on 30 June 2014, and the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions regime expires on 30 April 2014. 

Key Recent Developments

Several of the developments in the past months have been related to accountability for allies of former President Laurent Gbagbo. On 24 July, Captain Kouassi Urbain, a Gbagbo supporter accused of being involved in attacks against Côte d’Ivoire, was extradited from Niger to Côte d’Ivoire following his arrest on 13 July. On 29 August, Ghana rejected Côte d’Ivoire’s request to extradite Gbagbo’s spokesperson, Justine Koné Katinan, dismissing the charges of conspiracy and theft presented against him. On 2 October, President Alassane Ouattara ordered members of the Ivorian security forces who left the country during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis to return by 30 November or they would be considered deserters. In its recent report, the Panel of Experts  of the 1521 Liberia Sanctions Committee indicated that Ghana had informed it that in at least two instances Côte d’Ivoire had sent agents into Ghana intending to assassinate or kidnap militant pro-Gbagbo refugees there (S/2013/683).

On 20 September, Côte d’Ivoire announced it would challenge the transfer of former first lady Simone Gbagbo to the ICC in The Hague. On 30 September, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I unsealed an arrest warrant against Charles Blé Goudé, a notorious former ally of Gbagbo listed by the 1572 Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee, for four counts of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the post-election crisis. On 11 November, the Pre-Trial Chamber decided to keep Gbagbo in detention pending trial.

Following the Tribunal of Abidjan’s provisional release on 5 August of 14 detainees affiliated with Gbagbo, the pro-Gbagbo Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) affirmed its willingness to resume dialogue with the government on the condition that all FPI political detainees, including Gbagbo, are released. The government and the FPI disagree on the format of a forum to resume dialogue. The government has invited the FPI to participate in existing mechanisms while the latter has called for the creation of a new forum that would include broader issues and more participants. On 9 December, however, the ruling Rally of Republicans party and the FPI met for the first time since the post-election crisis, raising some hope for the resumption of dialogue between the government and the opposition.

On 23 August, the National Assembly adopted laws on nationality and land ownership, easing access to citizenship and improving state regulation of land ownership.

A joint council of chiefs and elders met in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, on 17-19 October. This brought together border communities from Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, as well as representatives from the UN Mission in Liberia and UNOCI. Both governments agreed to a joint communiqué on security and development in the border region.

As of November, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees had helped more than 16,000 refugees in Liberia return to Côte d’Ivoire in 2013, more than double the repatriations that took place in both 2011 and 2012.

Recent attacks on journalists have been worrisome. The editor of the magazine Tomorrow was killed on 14 November, and a journalist from the daily newspaper Le Nouveau Réveil was kidnapped on 18 November and released the following day.

There has been an increase in banditry attacks in the last several months, including an attack against a convoy of the national Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration on 1 July near Kong, which left one dead and several wounded, and three separate attacks by armed assailants against gendarme convoys near Yamoussoukro between 11-15 September, in which three gendarmes and two civilians were killed. The government set up a special force on 7 November to tackle armed banditry and remove illegal checkpoints.

The Council was last briefed on Côte d’Ivoire and the latest UNOCI report (S/2013/377) on 18 July by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous (S/PV.7004). On 30 July, the Council adopted resolution 2112 renewing UNOCI for 11 months yet reducing its military component to 7,137 military personnel by 30 June and expressing the Council’s intention to consider a further reduction by 30 June 2015. The Council also asked the Secretary-General to include in his next report an analysis of the comparative advantages of UNOCI and the UN country team (UNCT) in view of transferring tasks from the former to the latter.

Sanctions-Related Developments

On 24 October, Council members were briefed in consultations by Ambassador Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala), chair of the 1572 Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee, on the midterm report of the Group of Experts (S/2013/605). The report noted that while the government was focused on implementing a system of controls and statistics on the diamond-trading chain to meet the Kimberley Process (KP) Certification Scheme’s minimum standards, it failed to address the issue of diamond smuggling in violation of the sanctions regime. On 9 December, KP chair, Welile Nhlapo, briefed the Sanctions Committee on the findings of the 22 November final communiqué from the KP plenary meeting. The communiqué noted that Côte d’Ivoire had fulfilled the KP Certification Scheme minimum requirements “as possibly [as it] could be achieved under the UN embargo.”

Human Rights-Related Developments

The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire, Doudou Diène, conducted a fifth mission to the country from 14-23 October to assess the progress made since his last visit in May. During a press conference on 23 October, Diène warned that the victims of the 2010-2011 post-electoral crisis should not be forgotten. He called on Ivorians to reinforce the progress achieved so far (such as the adoption in August of laws on nationality and land tenure) through a vigorous fight against impunity, promotion of an inclusive pluralism and improvements in socio-economic conditions. He also noted that the same guarantees of independence and impartiality were required for the Ivorian justice system as for the ICC, when the former claimed its jurisdiction over the latter. The expert will present a report to the Human Rights Council at its 25th session.

On 6 December, UNOCI and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, released a report calling for investigations into serious human rights abuses committed in Côte d’Ivoire between March 2009 and May 2013 by traditional hunters called Dozos while undertaking security activities. Among the abuses, the report documented the killing of 228 people and the maiming of 164 others by bullets, machetes and knives; 162 cases of arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions; and 274 cases of looting, arson and extortion. The report recommended that the Ivorian authorities make further progress in terms of accountability, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), and security sector reform (SSR) and deploy professional security forces throughout the whole territory in order to prevent the population from using Dozos to provide security. 

Key Issues

The reconfiguration of UNOCI in the transitional phase is a key ongoing issue.

The recent rise of banditry attacks and the Secretary-General’s analysis of the comparative advantages of UNOCI and the UNCT when deciding on a further reduction of the mission will be a related issue.

Another issue for the Council is to decide whether and when to revise the diamond sanctions in light of the latest findings from the Kimberley Process.

Underlying Problems

Remaining deep political divisions are a concern, especially in view of the October 2015 elections and the gradual drawdown of the mission.

Moreover, some of the root causes of the conflict related to accountability, SSR and land ownership need to be further addressed. 

Options 

The most likely option for the Council is to receive the briefing and take no action until UNOCI’s current mandate and the sanctions regime expire.

An option would be to issue a press statement that would acknowledge the progress achieved by Côte d’Ivoire with regard to the Kimberly Process. 

Council Dynamics

There are no serious divisions among Council members on the issue of Côte d’Ivoire. They generally welcome the progress achieved since the post-election crisis while hoping for more efforts in SSR, DDR, accountability and reconciliation.

During the adoption of resolution 2112, Pakistan expressed its concern about the accelerated pace of the drawdown of the military component of UNOCI. While Pakistan, a major contributor of troops to UNOCI, is leaving the Council at the end of 2013, another major troop contributor, Jordan, will join the Council in January.

France is the penholder on Côte d’Ivoire.

UN Documents on Côte d’Ivoire

Security Council Resolutions
30 July 2013 S/RES/2112 This resolution renewed the mandate of UNOCI until 30 June 2014.
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.
Secretary-General’s Report
26 June 2013 S/2013/377 This was a report by the Secretary-General on UNOCI.
Security Council Meeting Records
30 July 2013 S/PV.7012 This was the meeting record when resolution 2112 was adopted.
18 July 2013 S/PV.7004 This was a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous on UNOCI.
Sanctions Committee Document
11 October 2013 S/2013/605 This letter transmitted the mid-term report of the 1572 Sanctions Committee’s Group of Experts.