But first, some background. As you might remember, just before the mandate was renewed on December 23, the New York Times ran this story, with links to relevant memos, about recommendations the UN's Office of Legal Affairs had made concerning MONUC's support to Kimia II, the operation the Congolese Army (FARDC) had been prosecuting against the FDLR. Basically, the memos cautioned MONUC against supporting FARDC units if these units were suspected of or known to have committed human rights abuses.
Next, Human Rights Watch issued its latest report, criticizing MONUC's support to the FARDC and recommending that clear conditions be set for continuing support, in particular that no support be provided to units known to abuse human rights. Next, the Congolese authorities, after seeing a draft of the resolution, threatened to kick out senior MONUC staff because such a mandate would impinge on DRC's sovereignty and violate the SOFA the UN has with the DRC.
Then, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Alan Doss (whom more people than I can count have said should resign for reasons ranging from not being tough enough with the Congolese authorities to just being a pain to deal with because he won't take any criticism or advice), reported to the Security Council on his work and announced the end of Kimia II operations.
On December 23, the Council passed a resolution, here, extending the mission but only for 6 months. Second, it ranked MONUC's priorities starting with protection of civilians, and moving to implementing effective DDR(RR) (that Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration, Repatriation, and Resettlement in case you get lost with your Rs, like I do), and finally coordinating SSR (Security Sector Reform) between donors and the Congolese authorities.
Finally, the Council provided conditions under which MONUC can support ongoing FARDC operations:
...the support of MONUC to FARDC-led military operations against foreign and Congolese armed groups is strictly conditioned on FARDC’s compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law and on an effective joint planning of these operations, decides that MONUC military leadership shall confirm, prior to providing any support to such operations that sufficient joint planning has been undertaken, especially regarding the protection of the civilian population, calls upon MONUC to intercede with the FARDC command if elements of a FARDC unit receiving MONUC’s support are suspected of having committed grave violations of such laws, and if the situation persists, calls upon MONUC to withdraw support from these FARDC units.Yesterday, MONUC outlined the new conditions under which it will provide support to FARDC's successor to Kimia II, Amani Leo. According to a press release:
The Operation’s principal objectives are to protect civilian populations, clear strategic areas of negative forces, hold territory liberated from FDLR control, and assist in restoring State authority in these zones. The Special Representative also informed the Council that Operation Amani Leo would include preventive interventions aimed at stopping the FDLR from regrouping and attacking civilian populations and re-occupying major mining areas...As you can tell, MONUC is making an effort to abide by the Council's conditions but I have a couple questions. Doesn't Amani Leo look exactly like Kimia IIb or maybe Kimia III? Second, what constitutes joint planning? How is this being done down the tactical level? Finally, since when does the UN do clear, hold, and build? I kept being told--both in Goma and Kinshasa, "we're fighting an insurgency here but no one will use the word or actually behave like this is the case." Has this changed or is this just a not so great PR stunt?
The FARDC and MONUC will concentrate on controlling strategic areas in order to ensure that armed groups, notably residual FDLR elements, will not be able to retake territory and inflict reprisals. The Operation aims at creating conditions for stabilization and re-establishment of State authority. Coordination between civilian and military components will be strengthened to stabilize these areas and create conditions for the safe return of civilian populations.
The FARDC and MONUC Force commands are engaged in intensive joint planning down to the tactical level in order to improve communications, liaison and planning throughout the Operation.
At the FARDC’s request, MONUC will provide rations and other essential support to those FARDC units carrying out protection and preventive operations provided that they are jointly planned and conducted in accordance with international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law...