January 2015 Monthly Forecast

Posted 23 December 2014
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AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action
In January 2015, the Council will be briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous on the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). The Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, may also brief. The briefing will be followed by consultations.

The Council will also be briefed by the Chair of the 1533 Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Sanctions Committee, Dina Kawar (Jordan), on the report of the Group of Experts assisting the Committee. Prior to that, the Group will present its report to the 1533 Sanctions Committee.

The Council is expected to renew the DRC sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts, which expire on 1 February 2015.

The mandate of MONUSCO expires on 31 March 2015.

Key Recent Developments
The Council’s last public briefing on the DRC took place on 27 October 2014 when Special Representative Martin Kobler noted the lack of progress in the voluntary disarmament of the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR). He said that the FDLR has continued to violate human rights and that there was no excuse for further delay in its disarmament. He welcomed receiving clear instructions from Council members on the neutralisation of the FDLR.

Kobler also spoke about the expulsion of the head of the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO), Scott Campbell, following the publication of a 15 October 2014 report that included information on summary and extrajudicial executions of civilians by Congolese police during Operation Likofi—a police initiative from 15 November 2013 to 15 February 2014 to combat criminal delinquency in Kinshasa. The report verified that nine men were summarily executed and 32 forcibly disappeared, with the total number of victims likely to be much higher. The report made several recommendations to the DRC, in particular to ensure that independent and impartial investigations are carried out and perpetrators are brought to justice.

On 16 October 2014, the DRC declared Campbell persona non grata and demanded that he leave the country within 48 hours. In a 20 October letter, the DRC denied the allegations in the UNJHRO report and accusing Campbell of a bias against the government. The DRC noted that the government will continue to fully cooperate with UNJHRO but could not do so with Campbell. Both the Secretary-General and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed their full support for Campbell, condemned the DRC’s decision and urged the DRC authorities to reverse it.

On 5 November 2014, the Council adopted a presidential statement noting its deep concern over the lack of progress in the voluntary disarmament of the FDLR and calling on the DRC, in coordination with MONUSCO, to undertake immediate military action against those in the FDLR who do not engage in the demobilisation process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses. The Council also strongly condemned the recent attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF, an Islamist Ugandan rebel group) in Beni, North Kivu, which resulted in civilian casualties, mostly women and children. (Current media reports suggest that ADF fighters are responsible for more than 260 deaths in the area since early October).  Furthermore, the statement recalls the importance of completing the permanent demobilisation of former combatants of the rebel group M23 (its members have yet to be repatriated after surrendering to Uganda). Finally, it expressed grave concern about Campbell’s expulsion and called on the DRC to investigate the allegations in the UNJHRO report while taking note of the government’s willingness to work with the UNJHRO.

In accordance with resolution 2147, the Secretary-General conducted a strategic review of MONUSCO in November, including recommendations for its future, which are to be submitted to the Council by 30 December. In general, the review concludes that MONUSCO’s presence in the DRC will likely be required for several more years and that the current mandate is comprehensive, yet its implementation has only been partially successful. The review notes criticism in the DRC about the level of engagement of some of MONUSCO’s contingents that are seen to be too passive, but the work of the intervention brigade is well appreciated. In addition, MONUSCO’s departure should be evaluated in light of the DRC’s ability to take over the mission’s functions, according to the review. While President Joseph Kabila has publicly voiced his wish to see MONUSCO start reducing its troop numbers significantly—a view that the DRC also shared with the strategic review team—the latter will likely recommend only a modest decrease in troop numbers at this time.

On 25 November 2014, Ladsous briefed Council members in consultations under “any other business” on further attacks against civilians in Beni. Later that day, members issued a press statement calling on the DRC and MONUSCO to reduce threats to civilians and neutralise armed groups operating in eastern DRC.

Additionally, despite the FDLR’s public statements about its commitment to voluntarily disarm and negotiate the return of its members and their families to Rwanda, little progress was achieved by mid-December. In accordance with a request by Rwanda to discuss the FDLR issue, Council members were briefed by Kobler in consultations on 17 December via video-teleconference, with Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet present to address any questions.

Kobler informed Council members that operational plans against the FDLR are finalised but noted that the prospective operation is dependent on the commitment of the intervention brigade contingencies and the DRC to engaging in combat with the FDLR. He also updated the Council on a new joint operation of the DRC military (FARDC) and MONUSCO against the ADF.

With respect to sanctions, Council members received advance copies of the Group of Experts’ report in December 2014. The Group notes that the momentum in 2013 toward achieving progress in the country has not carried through to 2014. Several rebel groups are still active or pose a serious threat, including the ADF, the M23 and the FDLR, which is disingenuous according to the Group in its commitment to voluntarily surrender. This latter view is shared by Council members. The report also notes the continued illegal exploitation of and trade in natural resources, which in turn finances various rebel groups.

Human Rights-Related Developments

In October 2014, the UNJHRO released a report on human rights violations committed from mid-April 2012 to 4 November 2013 by the M23 in North Kivu province. The report documents grave violations that may constitute international crimes, such as violations of the right to life; violations of the right to physical integrity, including acts of sexual violence; violations of the right to liberty and security of the person; and violations of the right to property.
Key Issues
An immediate issue for the Council is renewing the DRC sanctions regime.

Another immediate issue is to oversee MONUSCO’s operations in neutralising rebel groups, including the ADF.

Another rebel group-related issue is following up on the 2 January 2015 deadline set by the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the voluntary surrender of the FDLR, both politically and militarily.

Another key issue is to follow closely the implementation of the PSC Framework at the national and regional levels, in particular the disarmament and reintegration of combatants.

Options
Options include adopting a resolution renewing the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts.

In addition, the Council may issue a statement that:

  • calls on the DRC and other countries to improve implementation of their commitments under the PSC Framework;
  • expresses concern over continued violence in eastern DRC;
  • calls on armed groups to disarm; and
  • urges the DRC to take further action against these groups with the assistance of MONUSCO, including the FDLR after the 2 January 2015 deadline.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Council members are concerned about the surge of violence in Beni, particularly because earlier this year Kobler reported that the FARDC and the intervention brigade were able to substantially diminish the ADF’s capabilities. In particular there is concern that the achievements of the intervention brigade in 2013 against the M23 have eroded as other groups proliferate.

The recommendations of the strategic review regarding the performance of several MONUSCO contingents may be divisive. As was the case with the dynamics surrounding the creation of the intervention brigade, some troop-contributing countries are concerned about the safety of their troops in the DRC and elsewhere if UN peacekeeping becomes more proactive in fighting rebel groups. Kobler has been insistent that MONUSCO is a unified mission with different components and all should be more proactive in engaging armed groups for the overall success of the mission. Some Council members would like to find a way to improve MONUSCO’s contingents’ level of performance while acknowledging the separate tasks of the intervention brigade and the rest of MONUSCO.

Council dynamics on the DRC may alter with Rwanda’s term on the Council ending. Rwanda has had tense relations with the DRC for years, including around the latter’s suspected cooperation with the FDLR. For its part, Rwanda has been identified as complicit in the M23 revolt and refused to cooperate with some members of the Group of Experts. After military operations against the M23 were concluded, Rwanda was viewed by several Council members as a constructive member in addressing the situation in the DRC. Joining the Council from the region is Angola, which has good relations with the Kabila government and has been very active of late on the DRC within the ICGLR and SADC. This may allow for greater consensus in the Council and the DRC Sanctions Committee.

France is the penholder on the DRC.

UN Documents 

Security Council Resolutions
28 March 2014 S/RES/2147 This resolution renewed the mandate of MONUSCO – including its intervention brigade – until 31 March 2015.
30 January 2014 S/RES/2136 This resolution renewed the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Security Council Presidential Statements
5 November 2014 S/PRST/2014/22 This was a presidential statement noting deep concern over the lack of progress of the voluntary disarmament process of the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and calling on the DRC, in coordination with MONUSCO, to undertake immediate military action against those in the FDLR who do not engage in the demobilization process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses.
Security Council Press Statements
25 November 2014 SC/11675 This was a press statement condemning the attacks near the city of Beni in North Kivu and calling on the DRC and MONUSCO to reduce threats against civilians and neutralise armed groups operating in eastern DRC.
Security Council Meeting Records
27 October 2014 S/PV.7288 This was a briefing by Special Representative Martin Kobler on the latest MONUSCO report. The newly appointed Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, also briefed on the latest report on implementation of the PSC Framework Agreement.
Security Council Letters
20 October 2014 S/2014/753 This was from the DRC, denying the allegations in the UNJHRO report and accusing the head of office of a bias against the government.
Secretary-General’s Reports
25 September 2014 S/2014/698 This was the report of the Secretary-General on MONUSCO.
24 September 2014 S/2014/697 This was the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General
Martin Kobler (Germany)

MONUSCO Force Commander
Lt. General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz (Brazil)

MONUSCO Size, Composition and Cost of Mission
Strength as of 31 October 2014: 21,033 troops (including 481 military observers and 1,091 police), 937 international civilian personnel, 2,722 local civilian staff and 472 UN volunteers.

Approved budget (1 July 2013-30 June 2014): $1.46 billion

Mission Duration: July 2010 to present