|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6873rd Meeting (AM)
Demanding End to Outside Support for M23 Rebels, Security Council Adopts
Resolution Renewing Democratic Republic of Congo Sanctions Regime
Reiterating its demand for an end to any and all outside support to the insurgency ravaging the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Security Council today renewed until 1 February 2014 the arms embargo and related sanctions on that country, and requested the Secretary-General to extend the mandate of the Group of Experts monitoring those measures.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2078 (2012) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council further defined the criteria for application of targeted sanctions, expressing its intention to consider additional sanctions against the leadership of the 23 March Movement (M23). The Council recently condemned the rebel group for attacks and human rights violations leading up to its capture of the major city of Goma (see Press Release SC/10823), as well as against those providing external support to it.
By its current resolution, the Council reiterated its deep concern that reports indicated that such support to M23 continued to be provided in the form of troop reinforcements, tactical advice and equipment. The Council also noted with concern the persistence of serious human rights abuses committed by M23 and other armed groups against civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, including summary executions, gender-based violence and “large-scale recruitment and use of child soldiers”.
Established in 2003, the sanctions regime, renewed today, consists of an arms embargo against armed groups in the country that are not part of the Government’s integrated army or police units, as well as a travel ban and an asset freeze on violators of the embargo and other persons and entities designated by the Sanctions Committee. The Council requested the Secretary-General extend through February 2014 the mandate of the Experts monitoring the implementation of those measures, and took note of their recent report (document S/2012/843).
Following the adoption, Christian Atoki Ileka, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to France, thanked the Expert Group for resisting external pressure and producing an objective final report that highlighted the role of external players in serious crimes and violations of Council resolutions, leading to the destabilization of the eastern part of his country. He said that by supporting M23, the Rwandan Government was deliberately violating the arms embargo, providing weapons and advice and facilitating the group’s recruitment activities.
Naming high Rwandan Government officials that he said were involved in facilitating support to the M23, he said that the proof of Rwandan support “is incontrovertible”, in the form of human witnesses and written materials. In addition, he pointed to sophisticated materiel, including night vision capabilities and artillery that he said led to the fall of Goma, and which were not available in the region except through Rwanda. He noted that Rwanda had been invited to respond to the Group of Experts’ findings, but was unable to provide substantiation for its denials of involvement.
Rwanda’s support for the M23, he maintained, constituted an act of aggression, a State crime, violating the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and incompatible with the United Nations Charter. It had also led to massive human rights violations and a humanitarian crisis. It had, further, made more difficult carrying out arrest warrants on leaders of the M23 as imposed by the International Criminal Court.
He expressed thanks for the announcement of sanctions for M23 supporters, but said that so far, such measures had fallen short of targeting the Rwandan high officials shown to be involved. In that context, he asked the Council to take a “firm and unequivocal position” in applying the asset freeze and travel ban on all those implicated by the Group of Experts’ report and the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also asked that M23 be listed as a terrorist group like the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Such measures could also make it possible to prevent further exploitation of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mr. Ileka said that his country was open to dialogue with the “true protagonist in the conflict”, Rwanda, but would not be content with easy agreements that did not resolve the problem. He called on the good offices of the United Nations to be involved in facilitating dialogue, as well as for more effective peacekeeping work on the part of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
Taking the floor next, Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s representative, countered that his country was not the cause of the crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo nor was it a party in the conflict. In fact, he said, Rwanda’s President had met with the Congolese and Ugandan Presidents after the fall of Goma and had signed onto a joint declaration calling for an end to the M23 rebellion, as well as an examination of the complaints of the insurgents. He reiterated the call for the two Congolese parties to implement that declaration, and requested the Security Council to help that implementation.
Falling into the trap of sanctions, the Council undermined that political path, he said, maintaining that some countries on the Council had a “crusade” against Heads of State in his region, at the same time that the Council included countries who were previously involved in encouraging the earlier part of the Congolese civil war, for their own national interest.
He said his country had provided a detailed, 130-page response to the allegations of the Group of Experts, but the members of the Group did not want to discuss that response. His country had also obtained a legal opinion that showed that the production of the reports did not respect the rules of the Council. Rwanda received no response to that communication. Not only was the response not incorporated into the reports, but the Group was also led by an individual prejudiced against one of the parties.
He asked how his country could have provided 4,000 people to fight along with the M23 without any positive proof, adding that MONUSCO and regional mechanisms had concluded that no such proof existed. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was a huge country with many armed groups operating in a security vacuum. It could not be assumed that if weapons appeared it must be Rwanda that was providing them.
Finally, he said that projectiles had been fired into his country in recent days and the FDLR had attacked it, but the Security Council had remained silent about those violations. His President and the Congolese President remained in contact on a regular basis. The two countries were “blood brothers” and would work together for a solution to the crisis. He pledged Rwanda’s continued support to efforts by the Secretary-General for inter-Congolese dialogue and to work with the Council to end the crisis, as well as all other crises that plagued the world.
The meeting started at 10:14 a.m. and ended at 10:44 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2078 (2012) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the DRC as well as all States in the region and emphasizing the need to respect fully the principles of non-interference, good neighbourliness and regional cooperation,
“Stressing the primary responsibility of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for ensuring security in its territory and protecting its civilians with respect for the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law,
“Taking note of the interim report (S/2012/348), its addendum (S/2012/348/Add.1) and the final report (S/2012/843) of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“the Group of Experts”) established pursuant to resolution 1771 (2007) and extended pursuant to resolutions 1807 (2008), 1857 (2008), 1896 (2009), 1952 (2010) and 2021 (2011) and of their recommendations,
“Reiterating its deep concern regarding the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC due to ongoing military activities of the 23 March Movement (M23),
“Reiterating its strong condemnation of any and all external support to the M23, including through troop reinforcement, tactical advice and the supply of equipment, and expressing deep concern at reports and allegations indicating that such support continues to be provided to the M23,
“Condemning the continuing illicit flow of weapons within and into the DRC in violation of resolutions 1533 (2004), 1807 (2008), 1857 (2008), 1896 (2009), 1952 (2010), and 2021 (2011) declaring its determination to continue to monitor closely the implementation of the arms embargo and other measures set out by its resolutions concerning the DRC,
“Recalling the linkage between the illegal exploitation of natural resources, illicit trade in such resources and the proliferation and trafficking of arms as one of the major factors fuelling and exacerbating conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and encouraging the continuation of the regional efforts of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) against the illegal exploitation of natural resources,
“Noting with great concern the persistence of serious human rights abuses and humanitarian law violations against civilians in the eastern part of the DRC, including summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence and large-scale recruitment and use of child soldiers committed by the M23 and other armed groups,
“Calling for all perpetrators, including individuals responsible for violence against children and acts of sexual violence, to be apprehended, brought to justice and held accountable for violations of applicable international law,
“Welcoming the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General as well as of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union, to restore peace and security in Eastern DRC,
“Welcoming the efforts of the Chair of the ICGLR in convening the Extraordinary Summits of 15 July 2012, 7-8 August 2012, 8 September 2012, 8 October 2012 and 24 November to address the situation in Eastern DRC,
“Recalling all its relevant resolutions on women and peace and security, on children and armed conflict, and on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts,
“Calling on all parties to cooperate fully with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), and reiterating its condemnation of any attacks against peacekeepers and emphasizing that those responsible for such attacks must be brought to justice,
“Determining that the situation in the DRC continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Decides to renew until 1 February 2014 the measures on arms imposed by paragraph 1 of resolution 1807 (2008) and reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 2, 3 and 5 of that resolution;
“2. Decides to renew, for the period specified in paragraph 1 above, the measures on transport imposed by paragraphs 6 and 8 of resolution 1807 (2008) and reaffirms the provisions of paragraph 7 of that resolution;
“3. Decides to renew, for the period specified in paragraph 1 above, the financial and travel measures imposed by paragraphs 9 and 11 of resolution 1807 (2008) and reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 10 and 12 of that resolution regarding the individuals and entities referred to in paragraph 4 of resolution 1857 (2008) and reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 10 and 12 of resolution 1807 (2008) in relation to those measures;
“4. Decides that the measures referred to in paragraph 3 above shall apply to the following individuals, and, as appropriate, entities, as designated by the Committee:
(a) Persons or entities acting in violation of the measures taken by Member States in accordance with paragraph 1 above;
(b) Political and military leaders of foreign armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who impede the disarmament and the voluntary repatriation or resettlement of combatants belonging to those groups;
(c) Political and military leaders of Congolese militias receiving support from outside the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who impede the participation of their combatants in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes;
(d) Political and military leaders operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and recruiting or using children in armed conflict contrary to applicable international law;
(e) Individuals or entities operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and committing serious violations involving the targeting of children or women in situations of armed conflict, including killing and maiming, sexual violence, abduction, and forced displacement;
(f) Individuals or entities obstructing the access to or the distribution of humanitarian assistance in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
(g) Individuals or entities illegally supporting armed groups in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo through illicit trade of natural resources, including gold;
(h) Individuals or entities acting on behalf of or at the direction of a designated individual or entity owned or controlled by a designated individual;
(i) Individuals or entities who plan, sponsor or participate in attacks against MONUSCO peacekeepers;
“5. Requests the Secretary-General to extend, for a period expiring on 1 February 2014, the Group of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) and renewed by subsequent resolutions and requests the Group of Experts to fulfil its mandate as set out in paragraph 18 of resolution 1807 (2008) and expanded by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1857 (2008), and to present to the Council, through the Committee, a written midterm report by 28 June 2013, and a written final report before 13 December 2013, welcomes the practice of receiving additional updates of the Group of Experts as appropriate, and further requests that, after a discussion with the Committee, the Group of Experts submit to the Council its final report upon termination of the Group’s mandate;
“6. Strongly condemns the M23 and all its attacks on the civilian population, MONUSCO peacekeepers and humanitarian actors, as well as its abuses of human rights, including summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence and large-scale recruitment and use of child soldiers, further condemns the attempts by the M23 to establish an illegitimate parallel administration and to undermine State authority of the Government of the DRC, and reiterates that those responsible for crimes and human rights abuses will be held accountable;
“7. Demands that the M23 and other armed groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Mai Mai militias, the Forces Nationales de Liberation (FNL) and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) cease immediately all forms of violence and other destabilizing activities and release immediately all child soldiers and permanently lay down their arms;
“8. Expresses deep concern at reports indicating that external support continues to be provided to the M23, including through troop reinforcement, tactical advice and the supply of equipment, causing a significant increase of the military abilities of the M23, and reiterates its demand that any and all outside support to the M23 cease immediately;
“9. Expresses its intention to consider additional targeted sanctions, in accordance with the criteria set out in paragraph 4 of this resolution, against the leadership of the M23 and those providing external support to the M23 and those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo, and calls on all Member States to submit, as a matter of urgency, listing proposals to the 1533 Committee;
“10. Decides that the measures imposed by paragraph 9 of resolution 1807 (2008) shall not apply:
(a) Where the Committee determines in advance and on a case-by-case basis that such travel is justified on the grounds of humanitarian need, including religious obligation;
(b) Where the Committee concludes that an exemption would further the objectives of the Council’s resolutions, that is peace and national reconciliation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and stability in the region;
(c) Where the Committee authorizes in advance, and on a case-by-case basis, the transit of individuals returning to the territory of the State of their nationality, or participating in efforts to bring to justice perpetrators of grave violations of human rights or international humanitarian law; or
(d) Where such entry or transit is necessary for the fulfilment of judicial process;
“11. Reiterates its call on the ICGLR to monitor and inquire into, including by making active use of the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), reports and allegations of outside support and supply of equipment to the M23, and encourages MONUSCO, in coordination with ICGLR members, to participate, as appropriate and within the limits of its capacities and mandate, in the activities of the EJVM;
“12. Encourages the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to enhance stockpile security, accountability and management of arms and ammunition, with the assistance of international partners as necessary and requested, and to urgently implement a national weapons marking programme, in particular for State-owned firearms, in line with the standards established by the Nairobi Protocol and the Regional Centre on Small Arms;
“13. Emphasizes the primary responsibility of the Government of the DRC to reinforce State authority and governance in eastern DRC, including through effective security sector reform to allow army and police and justice sector reform, and to end impunity for abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, urges the Government of the DRC to increase efforts in this regard, welcomes the efforts to date by the Government of the DRC to address issues of illegal exploitation and smuggling of natural resources, and urges continued effort in this regard;
“14. Welcomes in this regard the measures taken by the Congolese Government to implement the due diligence guidelines on the supply chain of minerals, as defined by the Group of Experts and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and calls on all States to assist the DRC, the ICGLR and the countries in the Great Lakes region in the implementation of the guidelines;
“15. Encourages all States, particularly those in the region, to continue to raise awareness of the Group of Experts due diligence guidelines, in particular in the gold sector as part of broader efforts to mitigate the risk of further financing armed groups and criminal networks within the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
“16. Reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 6 to 13 of resolution 1952 (2010) and requests the Group of Experts to continue to study the impact of due diligence;
“17. Reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 7 to 9 of resolution 2021 (2011) and reiterates its call to the DRC and States in the Great Lakes region to require their customs authorities to strengthen their control on exports and imports of minerals from the DRC, and to cooperate at the regional level to investigate and combat regional criminal networks and armed groups involved in the illegal exploitation of natural resources;
“18. Recalls the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to support the relevant Congolese authorities in preventing the provision of support to armed groups from illicit activities, including production and trade in natural resources, notably by carrying out spot checks and regular visits to mining sites, trade routes and markets, in the vicinity of the five pilot trading counters;
“19. Stresses the importance of the Congolese Government actively seeking to hold accountable those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country and of regional cooperation to this end, including through its ongoing cooperation with the International Criminal Court and encourages MONUSCO to use its existing authority to assist the Congolese Government in this regard;
“20. Expresses its full support to the UN Group of Experts of the 1533 Committee and calls for enhanced cooperation between all States, particularly those in the region, MONUSCO and the Group of Experts, encourages further that all parties and all States ensure cooperation with the Group of Experts by individuals and entities within their jurisdiction or under their control and reiterates its demand that all parties and all States ensure the safety of its members and its support staff, and unhindered and immediate access, in particular to persons, documents and sites the Group of Experts deems relevant to the execution of its mandate;
“21. Calls upon the Group of Experts to cooperate actively with other relevant panels of experts, in particular that on Côte d’Ivoire re-established by paragraph 13 of resolution 1980 (2011) and that on Liberia re-established by paragraph 6 of resolution 1961 (2010) with respect to natural resources;
“22. Calls upon all States, particularly those in the region and those in which individuals and entities designated pursuant to paragraph 3 of this resolution are based, to regularly report to the Committee on the actions they have taken to implement the measures imposed by paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 and recommended in paragraph 8 of resolution 1952 (2010);
“23. Decides that, when appropriate and no later than 1 February 2014, it shall review the measures set forth in this resolution, with a view to adjusting them, as appropriate, in light of the security situation in the DRC, in particular progress in security sector reform including the integration of the armed forces and the reform of the national police, and in disarming, demobilizing, repatriating, resettling and reintegrating, as appropriate, Congolese and foreign armed groups, with a particular focus on child soldiers;
“24. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
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