January 2014 Monthly Forecast

Posted 20 December 2013
Download Complete Forecast: PDF
AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action 

In January, the Security Council will be briefed on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the Special Representative and head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler and by the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region (PSC Framework).

The Council is also expected to renew the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts (GoE) assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee, as both expire on 1 February.

The Sanctions Committee will meet to discuss the final report of the GoE. The new chair of the Committee (replacing Azerbaijan) will brief the Council on the report.

MONUSCO’s mandate expires on 31 March 2014.

Key Recent Developments 

The Council has demonstrated renewed engagement with the DRC in recent months as dramatic developments occurred on the ground.

Between 4-8 October, Council members undertook a visiting mission to the Great Lakes Region and Addis Ababa for the first time since 2010 (S/2013/579). On 21 October, the Council was briefed on the trip by the lead countries (S/PV.7045).

On the same day, Kobler briefed (S/PV.7046) the Council on the Secretary-General’s most recent MONUSCO report (S/2013/581) and Robinson briefed about the implementation of the PSC Framework (S/2013/569).

Following the suspension of the Uganda-mediated Kampala peace talks between the DRC and the March 23 (M23) rebel group, on 25 October fighting resumed between the M23 and the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC). Later that day, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed Council members on developments under “any other business” in consultations and Kobler briefed in consultations on 28 October.

Also on 28 October, Council members issued a press statement condemning the M23 attacks against MONUSCO that resulted in the death of a peacekeeper and addressed shelling of Rwandan territory (SC/11163).

The FARDC offensive forced the M23 to retreat until finally, on 5 November, the M23 declared an end to its military operations, with many of its members surrendering to Ugandan authorities after fleeing across the border. Kobler and Robinson briefed Council members in consultations via video-teleconference on 6 November as events unfolded.

Following the surrender of the M23, the DRC and the M23 were to sign an agreement on 11 November but eventually failed to conclude one.

The Council adopted a presidential statement on 14 November, calling for the swift conclusion and implementation of a final outcome between the DRC and the M23 that provides for the disarmament and demobilisation of the M23 and accountability for human rights abusers (S/PRST/2013/17). The statement stressed the importance of implementing the PSC Framework, in particular the DRC’s commitment to carrying out various reforms, consolidating state authority and enhancing the judicial system and the rule of law.

Ladsous, Kobler and Robinson briefed Council members in consultations on the latest developments on 11 December. Ladsous reported on the first flight of MONUSCO’s new unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) on 3 December. (The Council agreed to the deployment of UAVs in a letter to the Secretary-General [S/2013/44]. In addition, resolution 2098 of 28 March stated that in monitoring the implementation of the arms embargo in cooperation with the GoE, emphasis was to be placed on documenting cross-border flows of military personnel and arms, including by using surveillance capabilities such as UAVs.) He further reported that many rebels from various groups had decided to lay down their arms after the M23 had done so. He added that the DRC planned to relocate former rebels rather than reintegrate them into the military, as had been done in the past.

Robinson updated the Council on the negotiations between the DRC and the M23 and the institutional gaps to consolidate state authority in the eastern DRC. Kobler reported that MONUSCO and the FARDC control all the main roads in the east, but many rebels, in particular the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), still remain active inland from the main roads. He spoke of MONUSCO’s plans to address the FDLR problem, the need for the DRC to restore public services in the east and the road ahead towards local elections in 2015.

An agreement between the M23 and the DRC was finally signed in Nairobi on 12 December. The DRC agreed to grant amnesty to those M23 members who are only accused of taking up arms, and the M23 is to disarm and become a political party.

In sanctions-related developments, Council members received an advanced copy of the GoE’s final report in mid-December, which documented continued Rwandan support to the M23. The GoE also documented international humanitarian law and human rights violations by the FARDC and rebel groups.

Human Rights-Related Developments

On 11 December, the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO), comprising the Human Rights Division of MONUSCO and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC, released a report examining human rights violations committed during the presidential and legislative election campaigns in the DRC between 1 October 2011 and 31 January 2012. The UNJHRO recorded 345 human rights violations relating to the electoral process with 769 victims, including 41 people killed and 168 injured. The report found that the defence and security forces were responsible for more than half of the documented violations, with the most violations recorded in Kinshasa and in the province of Kasai Oriental. The main victims were identified as political party members or sympathisers. The report underlined the importance of prosecuting those responsible for these violations. UNJHRO concluded that while some actions had been taken by the government to end these violations, they were largely insufficient in light of the scale of the documented violations.

Key Issues

The key issue for the Council is to maintain its renewed engagement with the DRC, and in particular to closely oversee the operations of MONUSCO and its intervention brigade, and to keep a close track of the M23 following its declared defeat.

Another key issue is to ensure the implementation of the PSC Framework at the national and regional levels.

An immediate issue for the Council in January is the renewal of the sanctions regime and the mandate of the GoE.

Options

Regarding sanctions, options for the Council include:

  • renewing the sanctions regime and the mandate of the GoE;
  • endorsing in the resolution the recommendations of the GoE in their final report;
  • expanding the sanctions regime to include targeted measures against those hindering the implementation of the PSC Framework or those undermining the current sanctions;
  • granting the GoE access to information gathered by UAVs; or
  • adopting a resolution placing individuals on the sanctions list, if consensus is not reached in the Sanctions Committee. (This has been done, for example, in resolution 1672 on Sudan sanctions.)

Regarding the overall situation, an option for the Council would be to seek regular briefings on developments and on the implementation of the PSC Framework. The Council may also issue a presidential or press statement supporting the implementation of the PSC Framework, in particular the consolidation of state authority of the DRC and the operations of the intervention brigade.

Council Dynamics

With the agreement between the DRC and the M23 finalised, Council members appear hopeful that the military achievement will be followed by a political process. Several Council members are of the view that at this point the focus should be on national reforms, the reintegration of former rebels and the establishment of state authority.

Council members are in general agreement that the intervention brigade, though it only engaged directly with the M23 on a few occasions, played a significant role in the FARDC’s military success against the M23. Some Council members, in particular Rwanda, are supportive of the intervention brigade’s operative plans to focus attention on the FDLR next. At the same time, several Council members are interested in seeing progress in the development of a DRC rapid reaction force to eventually replace the intervention brigade.

As for sanctions and the GoE, the previous mandate and appointment of the experts were approved before Rwanda joined the Council. (The Secretary-General appoints the GoE after consulting with the Sanctions Committee, which operates by consensus.) Rwanda refused to cooperate with two of the six experts in the past year. Furthermore, in the last few months, Rwanda blocked additional listings of M23 by the Sanctions Committee. As with the adoption by consensus of other documents and decisions on the DRC over the last year, achieving consensus on the new sanctions resolution may prove challenging.

France is the penholder 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.
Security Council Presidential Statements
14 November 2013 S/PRST/2013/17 This presidential statement called for the swift conclusion and implementation of a final and comprehensive agreement that provides for the disarmament and demobilisation of the March 23 (M23) rebel group and accountability for human rights abusers.
Security Council Press Statements
28 October 2013 SC/11163 This press statement condemned the M23 attacks against MONUSCO that resulted in the death of a peacekeeper and also addressed shells that had landed in Rwandan territory.
Security Council Letters
13 December 2013 S/2013/740 This was the agreement between the DRC and the M23.
14 October 2013 S/2013/611 This was a letter from Rwanda transmitting the joint communique of the seventh annual joint consultative meeting between members of the Council and the Peace and Security Council of the AU.
27 September 2013 S/2013/579 These are the terms of reference for the visiting mission to the Great Lakes Region and Addis Ababa between 4-8 October.
Security Council Meeting Records
21 October 2013 S/PV.7046 The Council was briefed by Special Representative Martin Kobler on the most recent MONUSCO report and by Special Envoy Mary Robinson on the implementation of the PSC Framework.
21 October 2013 S/PV.7045 The Council was briefed by the lead countries on the visiting mission to the Great Lakes Region and Addis Ababa: Morocco, France, US, UK, Rwanda and Azerbaijan.
Secretary-General’s Reports
30 September 2013 S/2013/581 This was the Secretary-General’s most recent MONUSCO report.
24 September 2013 S/2013/569 This was the report on the PSC Framework.
19 July 2013 S/2013/433 This was the interim report of the Group of Experts assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee.
Sanctions Committee Documents
19 July 2013 S/2013/433 This was the interim report of the Group of Experts assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee.