Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo

With the adoption of resolution 1493 (2003), the Security Council first imposed an arms embargo on all foreign and Congolese armed groups and militias operating in the territory of North and South Kivu and Ituri, and on groups not party to the Global and All-inclusive agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 28 July 2003. The sanctions regime was subsequently modified and strengthened with the adoption of resolutions 1533 (2004), 1596 (2005), 1649 (2005), 1698 (2006), 1768 (2007), 1771 (2007), and 1799 (2008), by which, inter alia, the Council extended the scope of the arms embargo to the entire DRC territory, imposed targeted sanctions measures (travel ban and an assets freeze), and broadened the criteria under which individuals and entities could be designated as subject to those measures. The Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo was established on 12 March 2004 to oversee the relevant sanctions measures and to undertake the tasks set out by the Security Council in paragraph 15 of resolution 1807 (2008), paragraph 6 of resolution 1857 (2008) and paragraph 4 of resolution 1896 (2009).

Since March 2008, with the adoption of resolution 1807 (2008), the arms embargo has been further modified and only applies to all non-governmental entities and individuals operating in eastern DRC; however, pursuant to paragraph 5 of resolution 1807 all States are under an obligation to notify in advance to the Committee regarding any shipment of arms and related materiel for the DRC, or any provision of assistance, advice or training related to military activities in the DRC, except those referred to in subparagraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph 3 of the resolution, and are encouraged to include in such notifications all relevant information, including, where appropriate, the end-user, the proposed date of delivery and the itinerary of shipments. Detailed information on the contents of such notifications is contained in the Committee’s Guidelines (pages 18-19), adopted on 6 August 2010.

By resolution 1952 (2010), adopted on 29 November 2010, the Security Council further extended the arms embargo and targeted travel and financial sanctions until 30 November 2010, and extended the mandate of the Group of Experts for the same period, with the addition of a sixth expert on natural resources issues.

The Sanctions Committee is supported by a Group of Experts, appointed by the Secretary-General to monitor the implementation of the sanctions regime with particular focus on North and South Kivu and Ituri. The Group of Experts was originally established by resolution 1533 (2004) and subsequently renewed by resolutions 1552 (2004), 1596 (2005), 1616 (2005), 1654 (2006), 1698 (2006), 1771 (2007), 1807 (2008), 1857 (2008), 1896 (2009) and 1952 (2010). By paragraph 6 of resolution 1952 (2010), the Security Council requested the Group of Experts to focus its activities on areas affected by the presence of illegal armed groups, including North and South Kivu and Orientale, as well as on regional and international networks providing support to illegal armed groups, criminal networks and perpetrators of serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses, including those within the national armed forces, operating in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Pursuant to paragraph 7 of resolution 1896 (2009), the Group of Experts developed guidelines for the exercised of due diligence by the importers, processing industries and consumers of mineral products regarding the purchase, sourcing, acquisition and processing of mineral products from the DRC, which the Group provided in its November 2010 final report, S/2010/596 (reports of the Group of Experts can be accessed here).

By paragraph 8 of resolution 1952 (2010), the Security Council has supported taking forward the Group’s guidelines, and called upon all States to take appropriate steps to raise awareness of the due diligence guidelines referred to above, and to urge importers, processing industries and consumers of Congolese mineral products to exercise due diligence by applying the aforementioned guidelines, or equivalent guidelines. The Security Council also decided that its Sanctions Committee should consider whether individuals or entities have exercised due diligence when considering their designation for sanctions for supporting illegal armed groups in eastern DRC (paragraph 9); and recommended that all States, particularly those in the region, regularly publish full import and export statistics for natural resources including gold, cassiterite, coltan, wolframite, timber, and charcoal, and enhance information sharing and joint action at the regional level to investigate and combat regional criminal networks and armed groups involved in the illegal exploitation of natural resources (paragraph 19).

By resolution 1952 (2010), the Security Council also encouraged the Government of the DRC to continue to take appropriate measures to address the threat of criminal networks within the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) involved in illegal economic activities, such as mining, undermining their capacity to protect civilians in the eastern part of the country (paragraph 11); and called upon the Congolese authorities to continue their fight against impunity, especially against all perpetrators of human rights and international humanitarian law violations, including sexual violence (paragraph 12). The Security Council also encouraged the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to continue to share all relevant information with the Group of Experts, especially information on the recruitment and use of children, and on the targeting of women and children in situations of armed conflicts (paragraph 13).

Resolution 2021 (2011) requested the Group of Experts to evaluate the social and economic impact of the due diligence guidelines, and encouraged all states to continue to raise awareness of these guidelines, in particular in the gold sector. The Security Council also encouraged in the resolution the Government of the DRC to urgently implement a national weapons marking program, and to continue to address the underlying issue of the cohesion of the national Army. The Security Council also stressed the importance of the Government of the DRC holding accountable those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country and regional cooperation to this end.

By resolution 2078 (2012), the Security Council renewed for 13 months the mandate of the Group of Experts, until 1 February 2014, and expressed its full support to the Group. The Security Council expressed deep concern at reports indicating that external support continues to be provided to the M23; reiterated its demand that any and all outside support to the M23 cease immediately, and its call on the ICGLR to monitor and inquire into reports of outside support to the M23. The resolution welcomed the measures taken by the Congolese Government to implement the due diligence guidelines, and called on all States to assist in their implementation. The Security Council also added to the sanctions criteria list political and military leaders of Congolese militias receiving support from outside the DRC.

Resolution 2136 (2014) renewed the measures on arms, transport, finance and travel imposed by previous resolutions; called upon all states to ensure that there is no support in and from their territories for the armed groups operating in eastern DRC; and to take steps against leaders of armed groups residing in their countries. The Security Council also demanded that the DRC accelerate the implementation of its DDR programme and follow through on the action plan on the recruitment of child soldiers; and called on the DRC to enhance stockpile security of arms and ammunition. The resolution emphasized the primary responsibility of the DRC Government to reinforce State authority; and welcomed the measures taken by the Governments in the region to implement the due diligence guidelines. The Security Council reiterated its call to the DRC and states in the region to strengthen their control on exports and imports of minerals from the DRC and to cooperate to combat the illegal exploitation of natural resources.

States implement the travel ban and assets freeze measures in connection with individuals and entities included in the consolidated travel ban and assets freeze list, which is maintained and regularly updated by the Committee.

The current Chair of the Committee, for the period ending 31 December 2014, is His Royal Highness Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan). The two Vice-Chairs for 2014 are Chile and Lithuania. The Committee publishes annual reports of its activities. The latest news on the Committee’s work can be found here. For other selected documents click here.

Formal and informal meetings of the Committee are announced in the Journal of the United Nations.


Measure Description (unofficial) Exceptions to the measure
Arms Embargo, paragraph 1 of resolution 1807 (2008), as renewed by paragraph 1 of resolution 2136 (2014) All States shall take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer, from their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and any related materiel, and the provision of any assistance, advice or training related to military activities, including financing and financial assistance, to all non-governmental entities and individuals operating in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Set out in paragraphs 2 and 3 of resolution 1807 (2008)
Travel ban, paragraphs 9 and 13 of resolution 1807 (2008), as renewed by paragraph 3 of resolution 2136 (2014)
All States shall take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into or transit through their territories of individuals designated by the Committee Set out in paragraph 10 of resolution 1807 (2008)
Assets freeze, paragraphs 11 and 13 of resolution 1807 (2008), as renewed by paragraph 3 of resolution 2136 (2014)
Decides that all States shall freeze the funds, other financial assets and economic resources owned or controlled by individuals and entities designated by the Committee for inclusion on the consolidated travel ban and assets freeze list on the basis of the criteria set out above for the travel ban. Set out in paragraph 12 of resolution 1807 (2008)
Criteria for designation by the Sanctions Committee


a) individuals and entities acting in violation of the arms embargo; b) political and military leaders of foreign armed groups operating in the DRC, or Congolese militias, including those receiving support from abroad, who impede the process of disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement, and reintegration; c) individuals or entities recruiting or using children in armed conflict,; d) individuals or entities operating in the DRC and committing serious violations of international law involving the targeting of children or women in situations of armed conflict, including killing and maiming, sexual violence, abduction, forced displacement and attacks on hospitals; e) individuals or entities obstructing the access to or the distribution of humanitarian assistance in the DRC; f) individuals or entities supporting armed groups in the DRC through illicit trade of natural resources, including gold or wildlife as well as wildlife products; g) individuals or entities acting on behalf of or at the direction of a designated individual or entity, or acting on behalf of or at the direction of an entity owned or controlled by a designated individual or entity; and h) individuals or entities who plan, direct, sponsor or participate in attacks against MONUSCO peacekeepers.