June 2017 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 May 2017
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action

In June, the Council is expected to receive a final briefing from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), Aïchatou Mindaoudou, on the completion of the mission’s mandate. The Council is also expected to adopt a presidential statement welcoming the successful termination of the mission. The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix may also brief the Council.

The mandate of UNOCI expires on 30 June 2017, after which the mission is expected to be terminated.

Key Recent Developments

Last April, the Council adopted resolutions 2283 and 2284, which respectively ended the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions regime and extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission for the final time, until 30 June. In line with resolution 2284, the military component of the mission completed its withdrawal on 30 April, and the mission is scheduled to complete the process of transition to the UN country team by the time UNOCI’s mandate expires.

At her last briefing to the Council in February, Mindaoudou commended Côte d’Ivoire’s government and its security forces for successfully organising the October 2016 constitutional referendum and December 2016 legislative elections. Mindaoudou also noted that ongoing economic growth, improvement in the security situation, and a decline in reports of human rights violations will facilitate the transition to sustainable peace in the country. However, Mindaoudou appealed to the government to increase its efforts on other fronts needing improvement, such as national reconciliation, transitional justice, security sector reform, and reintegration of former combatants.  

Concerns about the security situation re-emerged on 11 May when some elements within the army rebelled against the government, demanding better pay and working conditions. In January, the second-largest city, Bouaké, was briefly the centre of a previous mutiny, which was resolved when the government agreed to pay bonuses to disgruntled soldiers. However, the government has struggled to fully satisfy the demands of the soldiers. In  the renewed unrest in May, dissatisfied soldiers, mainly former rebels integrated into the national army, blocked access to Bouaké. Media reports indicated that the mutiny had spread to other cities, including the commercial capital, Abidjan. On 14 May, violence erupted after rebel soldiers opened fire on residents of Bouaké who participated in protests against the mutiny. According to the reports, one person was killed and at least six others injured during the incident. The same day, the government launched a military operation to restore order in Bouaké. (On 15 May, Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi announced that a deal had been reached with the soldiers to end the mutiny. However, the spokesman for the mutineers, Sergeant Seydou Kone, denied Donwahi’s claims and said that the mutiny would continue until the government fulfilled the soldiers’ demands.) The mutiny ended on 16 May when the government struck an agreement with the mutineers that includes paying them immediate bonuses and additional amounts at the end of June. In a 17 May statement, Secretary-General António Guterres commended the government for restoring order in Côte d’Ivoire and reiterated the UN’s continued support for the country.   

In other developments, a court in Côte d’Ivoire cleared Simone Gbagbo on 28 March of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for her alleged role in the post-election crisis in 2011, which resulted in deaths of more than 3,000 people. Simone Gbagbo is the wife of former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently on trial by the ICC in The Hague for his alleged role in the 2011 violence, during which his forces clashed with supporters of current President Alassane Ouattara. Although the ICC issued an arrest warrant for her in 2012, the Ivorian government refused to transfer her to the Court and instead decided to try her on war crimes charges in Côte d’Ivoire. 

In a separate trial in 2015, Simone Gbagbo was found guilty on charges of undermining state security and is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence.

Human Rights-Related Developments

During its 35th session in June, the Human Rights Council is set to hold an interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on capacity building and technical cooperation for Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights, Mohammad Ayat, to discuss his final report (A/HRC/35/43).

Key Issues

The main issue for the Council is the termination of the mission by 30 June as mandated by resolution 2284, and confirming that the transition of remaining tasks to the UN country team or the government is completed before then.

A further issue is monitoring the ability of the government to maintain the security and political stability of the country in the light of the renewed incidents of mutiny exposing potential risk factors, such as lack of cohesion in the military and inadequate command and control.

Options

Considering that the mission will be closed down at the end of June, the Council could adopt a presidential statement commending Côte d’Ivoire and UNOCI on the completion of the mission’s work.

However, should further unrest in the army threaten stability and security in the country, the Council could adopt a statement urging the relevant actors to defuse the tensions and resolve the issues through dialogue.

Council Dynamics

Council members have maintained a common position on Côte d’Ivoire during the past several years. France, the former colonial power and penholder, has been the most prominent advocate for the UN to disengage from the country. In April 2016, France led the proposals in the Council to terminate the sanctions regime (resolution 2283) and extend for one last time the mandate of the UN mission (resolution 2284). In overwhelmingly supporting these actions, Council members indicated their belief that Côte d’Ivoire has become a well-functioning country with a vibrant economy and security forces capable of maintaining security in the country.

Côte d’Ivoire has been on the agenda of the Council for more than 13 years. The country is likely to serve as an elected member of the Council for the 2018/2019 term, given that it is running uncontested in Security Council elections on 2 June. It has expressed its intention to share its experience in hosting a successful peacekeeping operation when it joins the Council.      

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions
28 April 2016 S/RES/2284 The Council extended the mandate of UNOCI for a final period until 30 June 2017, after which the mission would be terminated.
28 April 2016 S/RES/2283 The Council adopted a resolution terminating the sanctions regime in Côte d’Ivoire.
Secretary-General’s Report
31 January 2017 S/2017/89 This was a Secretary-General’s report on UNOCI.
Security Council Meeting Record
8 February 2017 S/PV.7880 This was meeting on situation in Cote d’Ivoire.