January 2015 Monthly Forecast

Posted 23 December 2014
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AFRICA

Central African Republic

Expected Council Action
In January 2015, the Council will most likely renew the sanctions regime against the Central African Republic (CAR) and the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee, both expire on 27 January 2015.

The final report of the Commission of Inquiry mandated by the Council in resolution 2127 to investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and abuses of human rights in the CAR was submitted to the Council on 19 December and may be discussed in January.

The mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) expires on 30 April 2015.

Key Recent Developments
Despite MINUSCA’s deployment and the signing of a ceasefire involving the predominantly Muslim Séléka and the Christian anti-balaka rebel groups on 23 July 2014 in Brazzaville, the security and humanitarian situations in CAR remain dire.

The Council was last briefed on 9 December 2014 by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous on the latest MINUSCA report. According to the report, since October 2014, there have been gross human rights violations and a resurgence of violence perpetrated by the anti-balaka, the Séléka and other groups. By mid-November, there were still more than 2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, totalling roughly half the population and hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons.

Ladsous told the Council that in light of the situation, recommendations would be made in January 2015 regarding mission adjustments that may be required, including troop levels. He added that by the end of the month, MINUSCA will be at 80 percent deployment (of 11,820 authorised military and police personnel). On the political front, Ladsous reported that preparations are underway for the Bangui Forum on national reconciliation, scheduled for early 2015.

During the following consultations, Ladsous addressed the criticism that MINUSCA has been slow to take action to fulfil its mandate since its 15 September 2014 deployment. Ladsous said that the transitional authorities’ lack of capacity created a huge institutional vacuum. As for an increase in troop numbers, Ladsous mentioned that the security situation entails more military and police presence in Bangui than was initially expected. (France recently announced that it would begin lowering its presence in CAR from 2,000 to roughly 500 troops. The EUFOR mandate, the EU force in the CAR, will expire in March 2015 and is not expected to be renewed.)

Also briefing the Council on 9 December 2014 was the chair of the 2127 Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Raimonda MurmokaitÄ— of Lithuania, who spoke about the work of the Committee and the final report of the Panel of Experts. MurmokaitÄ— stressed that the designations of 12 individuals and three entities suggested by the Panel for sanctioning are pending in the Committee.

In light of the stagnation on the security and political fronts, the Council adopted a presidential statement on CAR on 18 December 2014. It urged the transitional authorities to accelerate preparations for the Bangui forum and elections, which are to be held by August 2015. It called for the implementation of the Brazzaville Agreement and for armed groups to engage in political dialogue. The Council also urged the Secretariat and MINUSCA to accelerate deployment of civilian, police and military capabilities, intensify the implementation of its mandate and move forward on adopting urgent temporary measures to restore law and order.

Meanwhile, fighting and violence in CAR continues. In a recent incident, fighting broke out between Muslim and Christian combatants on 16 December in the town of Mbres in central CAR, and in the span of two days there was a tally of 28 killed, dozens wounded and dozens of houses burned down.

On a related issue, the Council adopted a presidential statement on the activities of the UN Office for Central Africa and LRA-affected areas. The statement expressed concern about the ongoing crisis in CAR and its regional impact and about continued LRA attacks against communities in eastern CAR, despite the rebel group’s moving the bulk of its presence from south east CAR to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Council received the Commission of Inquiry’s final report on 19 December 2014. It concluded that government forces under former President Bozizé, the Séléka and the anti-balaka were involved in serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross abuses of human rights. The Commission said that it cannot establish genocidal intent on the part of any party to the conflict. The report emphasises the importance of accountability and makes several recommendations to the Council on taking measures to enhance the judicial system and accountability in CAR.

Key Issues
The immediate issue for the Council is renewing the CAR sanctions regime.

A key issue is monitoring the situation closely, in particular MINUSCA’s operations, and whether and how those operations may need to be adjusted to restore security throughout the CAR. 

Another issue is ensuring the success of the transitional political process—including the observance of the ceasefire and reconciliation—leading to elections.

Also a key issue is ensuring accountability for human rights and international humanitarian law violations.

Options
On sanctions, the most likely option for the Council is to renew the sanctions regime and the Panel of Experts’ mandate.

Further options include:

  • undertaking a Council visiting mission to the CAR (such a visit, which would be the first by the Council to CAR, has been raised as a possibility in early 2015);
  • endorsing the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations to the Council; and
  • endorsing the recommendations of the Panel of Experts and listing further individuals for that meet the designation criteria set out under resolution 2134.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Some Council members remain alarmed at the slow progress in implementing MINUSCA’s mandate, and a message to that effect is reflected in the 18 December 2014 presidential statement. During the negotiations on the text, several differences in Council members’ views of the situation emerged. One permanent member wanted to include language about certain improvements in the security situation in CAR while other Council members did not share the view that there are noticeable improvements.

On sanctions, Council members continue to be split on whether to add individuals to the sanctions list, as some view such an action as detrimental to the reconciliation process. For that reason, the Council could only agree in the latest presidential statement on its “intent to consider” additional listings. The listing discussion is likely to continue, though there is a consensus among Council members on renewing the sanctions regime itself.

France is the penholder on the CAR.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions
21 October 2014 S/RES/2181 This was a resolution extending the mandate of the EU operation in the CAR until 15 March 2015.
10 April 2014 S/RES/2149 This resolution established the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) with an initial deployment of up to 10,000 military and 1,800 police personnel.
28 January 2014 S/RES/2134 This resolution renewed BINUCA’s mandate, authorised an EU force to CAR and targeted sanctions.
Security Council Presidential Statements
18 December 2014 S/PRST/2014/28 This called for the Séléka and anti-balaka to disarm and engage in political dialogue and urged MINUSCA to accelerate its deployments of and intensify the implementation of its mandate
10 December 2014 S/PRST/2014/25 This was a presidential statement expressing concern at the grave security situation in parts of Central Africa.
Secretary-General’s Report
4 December 2014 S/2014/857 This was a MINUSCA report.
Security Council Meeting Record
9 December 2014 S/PV.7329 This was a briefing on CAR.
Security Council Letter
19 December 2014 S/2014/928 This was the final report of the CAR Commission of Inquiry.
Sanctions Committee Document
29 October 2014 S/2014/762 This was the final report of the Panel of Experts.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative and Head of MINUSCA
Babacar Gaye (Senegal)

MINUSCA Force Commander
Major General Martin Chomu Tumenta (Cameroon)

MINUSCA Size, Composition and Cost of Mission
Strength as of 31 October 2014: 7,731 troops (including 1,083 military observers and 58 police), 82 international civilian personnel, 86 local civilian staff and 13 UN volunteers. 

Mission Duration: 10 April 2014 to present

Approved budget (1 July 2014 – 31 December 2014): $253.4 million