posted on TUE 26 JUN 2012 3:40 PM
MONUSCO Mandate Renewal

Tomorrow (27 June), the Council is set to renew the mandate of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) for another 12 months. The mandate renewal comes as fighting has escalated in the province of North Kivu in the eastern DRC, as well as amidst allegations of foreign involvement in the recent mutinies in the area (see also our DRC sanctions story of 25 June). Tomorrow’s expected mandate renewal also comes against the background of the presidential and legislative elections of 28 November 2011, which were marred by serious irregularities according to international observers.

Negotiations over a draft resolution renewing the mission began on 18 June and another meeting of experts over a second draft took place on 21 June. The text went under a silence procedure on Friday and the draft resolution is now in blue. The draft text proposed by France emphasises that the protection of civilians remains the priority of the mission, but stresses the importance of security sector reform (SSR) within the stabilisation mandate of MONUSCO.

In this context, the renewed mandate contains specific reporting requests of the Secretary-General, which includes providing a clear definition of stabilisation in the context of the eastern DRC and a strategy and timeframe for achieving these stabilisation goals. It also requests that the Secretary-General report on a strategy and efforts to effectively transfer the responsibility of some MONUSCO tasks to the UN Country Team.

On election support for the provincial assemblies and local elections, which are expected to be held in 2013, the new mandate maintains MONUSCO’s logistical support role. However, it emphasises that the support given will be continuously reviewed in order to assess progress made by the DRC on consolidating the credibility of the electoral institutions.

Apparently the resolution also condemns the recent mutiny by Bosco Ntaganda, for whom the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant, and demands that outside support to this mutiny cease immediately, without further elaborating on this issue. (This matter of outside interference and the allegations—denied by Rwanda—that Kigali is assisting the mutineers against the DRC government is likely to be an extra consideration as Council members renew MONUSCO’s mandate.)

As the draft resolution largely elaborates on stabilisation issues, and in particular SSR, there was some concern that the traditional split among members concerning the Council’s competence to express itself on certain matters would make the negotiations difficult. Although a consensus exists on the relevance and importance of SSR to peace and security in the DRC, some Council members hold differing views of what should be included in SSR. However, it appears that these differences did not emerge as a significant problem during the negotiations on the draft text.

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