Adoption of a Democratic Republic of Congo Sanctions Resolution
Tomorrow (30 January), the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution renewing the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts (GoE) assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee. Adoption of this draft resolution was originally scheduled for 28 January following expert level negotiations on Thursday and Friday (23-24 January) but it seems that both Rwanda and Russia had problems with certain aspects of the draft resolution resulting in the postponement of the adoption. At press time the draft resolution had just been put in blue.
It seems that during the negotiations the more contentious issues included the references in the draft resolution to the reporting of the GoE and its final report (S/2014/42), and references to the “external links” of the March 23 (M23) rebel movement. Rwanda views these references as singling it out for involvement with the M23. Apparently Rwanda also objects to language on possible signs of the M23 regrouping as it claims that there are no indications this is happening as the M23 were defeated. Earlier today it seemed that some compromise language had been found.
The other area that required further negotiation was related to Russia’s desire to use similar language for violations of states obligations and abuses by non-state actors. At press time it was unclear how the final draft would address these concerns.
It seems the draft text also includes a focus on wildlife trafficking as a source of income for rebel groups operating in the eastern DRC. Furthermore, it apparently makes references to links established between the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and Al-Shabaab in Somalia, as well as the need for cooperation with the Monitoring Group assisting the 751/1907 Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee.
Rwanda highlighted its unhappiness with the GoE final report during the 17 January meeting of the DRC Sanctions Committee with the GoE to discuss the report and asked for the report to be dismissed. The report documents human rights abuses by the M23 during 2013, and confirms that it received various forms of support from Rwandan territory, including recruitment, troop reinforcement, fire support and ammunitions. It adds that M23 leaders under targeted sanctions are moving freely in Uganda and that the M23 continues to recruit in Rwanda. Among the recommendations in the report is that Rwanda and Uganda extradite M23 members that are DRC nationals to the DRC and that they investigate and prosecute individuals that have provided support to the M23 from within Rwanda or Uganda. In a letter to the President of the Council on 15 January (S/2014/27), Uganda expressed its concerns about what it sees as unfounded allegations against Uganda in the report and has asked for its response to be annexed to the GoE report.
The report adds that the military defeat of the M23 has sent a strong message to other armed groups in the eastern DRC. While some have become more aggressive, several armed groups have started to surrender and expressed willingness to integrate into the DRC armed forces. The report finds that the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda, the ADF, and Kata Katanga are responsible for grave human rights abuses and massive displacement.
Furthermore, it concludes that many armed groups in the eastern DRC have derived funding from the production and trade of natural resources. With respect to gold, the GoE notes that many mining sites are in post-conflict areas and estimates that 98 percent of the gold produced in the DRC is smuggled out of the country.
During the meeting of the Sanctions Committee, Rwanda denied any allegations of its involvement with the M23 and refused to accept the work of the GoE. It proceeded to block the adoption by the Committee of any of the GoE recommendations, including those that do not relate to Rwanda. It was also critical of the fact that the GoE sent its final report to the President of the Council without a prior decision of the Committee.
Other Council members were of the view that this was in accordance with resolution 2078, paragraph 5, which states that “after a discussion with the Committee, the Group of Experts submit to the Council its final report”. Many Council members view the GoE report as well based and balanced.
The new chair of the Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan) officially presented the report to the Council on 23 January.