Documents considered by the Committee on 15 September 2010 - European Scrutiny Committee Contents

26   CFSP: EU support for the Democratic Republic of Congo



Draft Council Decision amending and extending the mandate of the European Union security sector reform (SSR) mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (EUSEC DRC)

Draft Council Decision amending Council Decision 2010/329/CFSP on the European Union Police Mission undertaken in the framework of reform of the security sector (SSR) and its interface with the system of justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo (EUPOL RD CONGO)

Legal baseArticles 28 and 43 TEU; unanimity
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Basis of considerationEMs of 9 September 2010
Previous Committee ReportNone; but see (31692) —: HC 428-i (2010-11), chapter 59 (8 September 2010); also see (30992) —: HC 19-xxviii (2008-09), chapter 13 (21 October 2009); (30900)—: HC 19-xxvii (2008-09), chapter 26, (14 October 2009); (30686 ) 10358/09: HC 19-xx (2008-09), chapter 7 (17 June 2009) and (30667) —: HC 19-xviii (2008-09), chapter 21 (3 June 2009); also see (29722) — and (29734) —: HC 16 xxiv (2007-08), chapters 6 and 14 (18 June 2008), and (28650) —, (28651) —: HC 41-xxiii (2006-07), chapter 19 (6 June 2007)
To be discussed in Council20 September 2010
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionCleared, but further information requested


26.1  Following elections in the DRC in 2006, two Joint Actions were agreed by the Council on 12 June 2007, which aimed:

—  to establish a police mission leading on Security Sector Reform and its justice interface in the Democratic Republic of Congo (EUPOL DRC);

—  via a new and revised mandate, to build on the progress made during the previous two years and continue to contribute to the integration of the different armed factions in the DRC, and assist Congolese efforts to reconstruct the army (EUSEC RD Congo)

26.2  The previous Committee's consideration of subsequent amendments involved several exchanges of correspondence with various FCO Ministers. A common concern has been that members of the security sector are the perpetrators of what previous Ministers of Europe regularly described as "a large proportion of violent crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including rape and human rights violations." The previous Committee tried on several occasions to elicit more accurate information about this, and to ascertain why it seemed to be so difficult to include a measured level of their involvement in these crimes as a benchmark against which then to measure these Missions' progress. Then Ministers' responses are detailed in our predecessor's earlier Reports.[114]

26.3  The previous Committee continued nonetheless to feel that it should not be difficult to measure change in a situation in which, still, it seemed that a large proportion of violent crime, sexual violence and human rights violations were committed by members of the Congolese police and military: either the number of such violations of human dignity and rights, and the part of the security sector in them, was falling, or it was not.

26.4  Subsequently, in dealing with the Joint Action extending EUSEC DRC from 1 October 2009 until 30 September 2010, the previous Committee noted that, in her Explanatory Memorandum of 14 September 2009, the then Minister for Europe (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead) said that the revised Joint Action had a greater emphasis on tackling sexual violence and human rights issues within the army reform process. Additional staff positions were to be introduced to the mission's structure, and shared with EUPOL DRC, focusing on Human Rights and Gender issues and based both in Kinshasa and the cities of Goma and Bukavu, allowing the mission to have a wide geographical influence. As well as having several "strategic indicators", she particularly welcomed a new initiative to review mission progress at the six-month point against pre-defined indicators, which she said was in line with the wider FCO strategy "to develop more effective international interventions [which …] will enable the mission to provide a progress report on the development of the reform of the FARDC and to evaluate the impact of the mission."

26.5  The previous Committee noted that, by the time this latest extension was completed, the EU would have spent some €26.9 million on EUSEC RD Congo. It also asked the then Minister to report the findings and recommendations of this review and comment on progress on the problem upon which the project would now be more focussed, i.e., sexual and gender based violence. It again noted that it still could not see why, when a large proportion of violent crime, sexual violence and human rights violations was said to be committed by members of the Congolese police and military, it was said to be difficult to quantify the number of such violations, and the part of the security sector in them, and accordingly asked the then Minister to comment on this particular matter as and when she reported on the outcome of the review.[115]

26.6  The previous Committee then considered a revised Joint Action extending EUPOL DRC from 1 November 2009 to 30 June 2010 at a further cost of €5,150,000. The then Minister (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead) again recalled the contribution of the Congolese Police or Armed Forces in SGBV crimes within the DRC and again said that the revised Joint Action would allow EUPOL DRC to place a greater emphasis on tackling SGBV through its work advising and assisting the Congolese reform their National Police Force. Two multidisciplinary teams of experts would be deployed to Goma and Bukavu in the eastern DRC in order to provide advice and assistance on combating SGBV and impunity as well as assisting with the stabilisation process. One of the main tasks would be to help ensure that legal services were provided for victims of sexual violence and offenders prosecuted. She noted that the mission worked in close cooperation with EUSEC DRC, which had also recently been given a greater focus on combating SGBV. Also giving EUPOL DRC a greater emphasis on tackling SGBV would allow a more consistent approach to be taken on SGBV simultaneously across both the Congolese Police and Armed Forces. This increased emphasis would help to achieve wider stability, and increased faith in the Police and Armed Forces. This was an area in which she believed the ESDP missions could "make a meaningful difference."

26.7  In a subsequent letter of 16 October 2009, the then new Minister for Europe (Chris Bryant) provided further information on the levels of sexual violence committed within the DRC and the benchmarks being used by the mission to measure the success of the work undertaken to tackle this serious issue:

"The problem of rape and sexual violence is one of the most serious aspects of the conflict in the DRC. Sexual and gender based violence is used systematically as a weapon of war by the Congolese Army and by militia groups to humiliate and intimidate women and men of all ages. Conflict-affected areas continue to be the hardest-hit, with South and North Kivu in the eastern DRC recording the most cases. The UN Population Fund reported 5,204 cases during the period of January to June 2008 and the Congo Advocacy Coalition announced over 2,200 cases of rape recorded in North Kivu in the month of June 2008 alone. The more recent reports from the mission itself have indicated that the number of victims for the first half of 2009 (2,587) has exceeded the total cases reported for the whole of the previous year (2,383). The US Secretary of State visited the DRC in August 2009. Secretary Clinton's visit highlighted the issue of sexual violence and reignited the international community's interest.

"These figures reflect that the level of sexual crime in the DRC remains a serious concern. However, as my predecessor explained in the Explanatory Memorandum submitted on 13 October, the amended Joint Action now grants EUPOL DRC a greater emphasis on tackling sexual and gender based violence through its work assisting the Congolese to reform their National Police Force (PNC). Under the mission's new operational plan, the success of the mission will be measured against the following benchmarks:

  • "the reinforcement of the PNC's capacity to deal with the victims of sexual violence;
  • "participation in a project to help map the location of sexual violence incidents committed by the police force;
  • "the development of an anti-sexual violence cell within the PNC; and
  • "the implementation of a code of conduct for members of PNC which reinforces the unacceptability of SGBV."

The previous Committee's assessment

26.8  The previous Committee said that it was obviously worrying that, notwithstanding all the EU's efforts thus far, the level of sexual and gender-based violence had increased so dramatically in 2009.

26.9  It also found it odd that, if "one of the main tasks of these multidisciplinary teams will be to help ensure that legal services are provided for victims of sexual violence and offenders are prosecuted", this was not included among the benchmarks. The previous Committee also noted that the then Minister made no mention of any six-month review period here, as was the case with EUSEC RD Congo. It also asked that, when he reported on this review (c.f. paragraph 26.5 above), he also provided an assessment of how well the four benchmarks and the task referred to in the previous paragraph had been achieved.

26.10  Most recently, the Committee considered a Council Decision extends the mandate of EUPOL DRC by three months until 30 September 2010 at a cost of a further €2 million. In his Explanatory Memorandum of 10 June 2010, the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) said that the mission's tasks would be unchanged, viz:

—  contribute to the reform and restructuring of the Congolese National Police by supporting the implementation of a viable, professional, and multi-ethnic/integrated police force, with the full participation of the Congolese authorities; and

—  contribute to improved interaction between the police and the wider criminal justice system.

26.11  The Minister noted that the DRC remained a focus of international attention because of the potential for conflict not least caused by the poor humanitarian situation in most of the country. The Congolese police and justice sectors remained weak. Impunity for major crimes, including rape and murder, was common, with justice rarely delivered for victims. Without international assistance parts of the DRC could slide back into a state of conflict which would destabilise the wider region. Security sector reform (SSR) was, therefore, a high priority for the international community. But, he said, over the last 12 months EUPOL DRC had struggled to fully achieve its mandate. Despite this, the Minister supported a three month extension until 30 September 2010. There were many international actors involved and they were not always coordinated effectively. The key player was the UN Peacekeeping Mission to the DRC (MONUC). Negotiations regarding MONUC's new mandate had been delicate and, as the second largest peacekeeping mission in the world, the way forward for MONUC must be decided before discussions could begin on the future focus of EUPOL DRC.[116] The three month extension would facilitate this and allow for a more informed decision to be taken on the longer term future of EUPOL DRC.

26.12  The Minister also explained that the Council Secretariat were to undertake a strategic review of EU engagement in the DRC this summer to look at EU coherence, including between EUPOL DRC and the separate and "better performing" EUSEC DRC. The review would look to assess the effectiveness of EU activity so far and identify areas where the EU could add most value in the future. The three month extension would enable the UK, the EU and other Member States to assess carefully the DRC's SSR and police reform needs, particularly in view of the refocused UN mission and the EU's strategic review. If the strategic review failed to identify an area where continued CSDP engagement in police reform could add sufficient value going forward, the Minister said that he would "push to close EUPOL DRC."

26.13  In clearing the document, we noted that the Minister had nothing to say about the earlier reviews into both EUPOL DRC and EUSEC RD Congo about which the previous Committee had asked to have information prior to the presentation of further proposals extending their mandates. There was also no mention by the Minister of the mission's impact since the last extension, though the implication was that it had been limited, to say the least. However, rather than raking over the coals, we asked the Minister to deposit whatever document emerged from strategic review of EU engagement in the DRC, so that the House might have an opportunity to consider the Government's views prior to the presentation of any further Council Decisions.[117]

The first Council Decision

26.14  This Council Decision replaces the Council Decision 2009/709/CFSP to provide the legal basis for a two-year extension to EUSEC DRC from 1 October 2010 until 30 September 2012.

26.15  In his Explanatory Memorandum of 9 June 2010, the Minister for Europe says that the mission's main tasks will be to continue the work of the previous mandate, namely:

—  implementing the biometric census project to accurately identify the correct number of Congolese soldiers across the country;

—  continuing the introduction of military ID cards to further FARDC battalions which are helping to identify legitimate soldiers;

—  continuing the chain of payments projects which is designed to ensure that soldiers are paid correctly and therefore reduce the levels of financial corruption;

—  support the opening of military training schools in Kinshasa and Kananga as well as the development of training programmes for FADRC officials; and

—  helping the Congolese introduce and implement policies that will promote human rights and prevent sexual violence.

The Government's view

26.16  The Minister comments as follows:

"With its vast mineral resources the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has the potential to become a prosperous nation. However, Congolese citizens remain amongst the poorest in the world and the country still suffers from the effects of the Second Congo War that took place between 1998 and 2003. Despite the end of the war various militia groups remain active in the eastern DRC and the Congolese military (FARDC) lacks the capacity to remove them and fully stabilise the eastern provinces. With the DRC bordering nine other countries this instability has the potential to affect the wider Great Lakes region. Effective reform of the Congolese military is therefore crucial to securing lasting stability and better protection for the Congolese population.

"A more effective and capable FARDC will aid the DRC in the following areas:

  • Helping with efforts to stabilise the key eastern regions and reduce the possibility that the country will slide back into conflict;
  • Improve the level of Congolese governance over their territory; and
  • Improving the relationship between the Congolese population and the FARDC by ensuring that members of the Armed Forces are held accountable for criminal activity.

"Security sector reform in the DRC is a long term process and the two-year extension to EUSEC DRC will allow the mission continue and build on the good work it has undertaken so far. EUSEC DRC is delivering crucial reform projects to help professionalise the Congolese Army which are helping reduce the levels of corruption and fraud. They will continue to be implemented under the proposed extension and the two-year extension will allow for longer term planning and implementation of projects to take place.

"EUSEC DRC has struggled with under staffing over the course of its previous mandate. As a result, the mission's work in certain projects has been affected. The chain of payments project has suffered and certain FARDC wage packets meant for April did not reach soldiers until mid-May. However, the biometric census and military ID card projects have continued to be successful. 3,000 demobilised soldiers were identified by the mission in May and subsequently removed from personnel databases. The military ID card project has also been completed in Katanga and Kasai.

"EUSEC DRC has organised training courses which have successfully been held in Kinshasa, Bandundu and the western Kasai province. 'Train the trainer' courses were completed in May which trained 50 Congolese trainers in effective training techniques in order to cascade best practice across the FARDC. The organisation of seminars in the eastern DRC is also progressing with 19 seminars targeted to be held in Kivu, Katanga, and Maniema in the future."

26.17  With regard to the financial implications, the Minister says that

—  the amount allocated to cover the two-year extension to EUSEC DRC is €12.6 million which will be taken from the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy budget;

—  as a guideline, the UK's contribution to the overall EU budget in 2010 is currently estimated at 13.8%;

—  this would suggest a UK contribution to the costs for this extension of approximately €1.7 million (£1.4 million).

The second Council Decision

26.18  In his separate Explanatory Memorandum of 9 September 2010, the Minister for Europe (David Lidington) says that, under this proposed twelve month extension, EUPOL RD CONGO will be "refocused towards the implementation of smaller specific projects against a set of clearly defined tasks", and that these "will be delivered through training programmes for the Congolese National Police (PNC) and by mentoring, monitoring and advising senior officials." Specifically, he says, the mission will take forward the following tasks:

—  mentoring, monitoring and advising key PNC personnel to take forward the implementation of the reform process;

—  supporting the Audit Police Service to strengthen its operational capacity in order to provide Congolese citizens and authorities with a key instrument of democratic control over the PNC;

—  mentoring and advising the criminal police in Kinshasa to improve standards and their capability to effectively prevent and investigate crimes;

—  supporting the professional development of senior PNC officials with a view to improving their leadership and management skills;

—  supporting the development of a coherent PNC policy against sexual violence; and

—  helping create and monitor specialised units within the PNC to fight against sexual violence.

The Government's view

26.19   The Minister puts the proposal in much the same context as he did in June (c.f. paragraph 26.11 above), and continues as follows:

"Over the last twelve months EUPOL RD CONGO has experienced difficulties implementing the tasks in its mandate. Constant understaffing has limited the scale and impact of the work EUPOL RD CONGO has been able to take forward. In addition, the reform tasks in the mission's previous mandate were focused at the strategic level, while the SSR requirements in the DRC have moved into an implementation phase. The Government's explicit starting point for the negotiations was, therefore, that we would only agree to a new mission if it was smaller, focused on a set of clearly defined and achievable tasks and which dovetailed effectively with the rest of the international effort.

"Importantly, the mission's tasks will be supported by a set of measurable benchmarks of progress which will help inform the Member States when they consider a review of the mission's activity. The Council Secretariat will be required to produce this report six months into the new mandate period.

"This smaller set of implementation-focused staff will require a smaller mission. The UK pushed hard to reduce the size of the mission on efficiency grounds, but also in an effort to help address the persistent understaffing that the mission experienced previously. The new mission will be reduced from 60 to 49 international staff. Deployment in the eastern provinces has been scaled back to include only an eight person antenna in Goma. Deployments in Bukavu and proposed deployments in Lubumbashi have been removed. This will ensure that the mission will retain some form of engagement in the key eastern provinces (where the majority of acts of sexual violence crimes are committed) but also address the fact that under the previous mandate the mission struggled to make an impact in the east in a crowded international landscape. The eight person antenna in Goma will focus on taking forward work to address sexual and gender based violence in the east. The mission's head quarters will remain in Kinshasa."

26.20  The Minister goes on to explain that:

—   the financial reference amount for the extension has not yet been agreed, but will be "scrutinised in Brussels working groups" before the Council Decision is agreed;

—  in the meantime, he would "expect the costs to be less than under the previous mandate (a three month extension under the last mandate cost €2.02 million)";

—  as a guideline of costs to the UK for this mission, the UK's contribution to the overall EU budget in 2010 is currently estimated at 13.8%; and

—  he will update the Committees as soon as the financial reference amount is agreed.


26.21  The impression, a year ago, was that a greater emphasis was being place on SGBV and, by implication, tackling the part of security forces in it (c.f. paragraphs 26.5 and 26.6 above). The impression now is that it has slipped down the scale of priorities or, at best, has marked time. We would like to know:

—  what the level of SGBV now is;

—  what the level of security forces' participation in it is, and if this is any improvement on earlier years; and

—  what has happened with regard to the provision of legal advice to the victims.

26.22  We also note that there is still nothing about the findings of any of the reviews talked about by both previous and the present Minister for Europe. The latter said the review of the MONUC (now MONUSCO) mandate would be central to determining how to take EUPOL forward. We would like to know:

—  what the outcome was of the MONUC/MONUSCO review mandate, and how the refocusing of EUPOL reflects this;

—  what the findings of the Council Secretariat review of the two missions were, and in particular what area or areas it identified where continued CFSP engagement in police reform would add sufficient value to warrant the continuation of EUPOL (c.f paragraph 26.12 above);

—  what "clearly defined and achievable tasks" were discerned, and how they dovetail effectively with the rest of the international effort (c.f paragraph 26.19 above);

—  what the rest of that international effort consists of;

—  what the benchmarks are against which progress is to be measured.

26.23  Looking further ahead, we ask the Minister to write in six month's time with information about what has been achieved vis à vis the benchmarks and he thinks about the outcome thus far and the prospects for the future.

26.24  On the financial aspects, we note that spending on EUSEC RD Congo will now reach $39.5 million.

26.25  We also note the lack of financial information on EUPOL RD Congo. When he writes to the Committee once the financial reference amount is agreed, we ask the Minister to explain why it was possible to agree one financial reference amount but not the other; and to provide information on what the total expenditure on EUPOL has been thus far.

26.26  In the meantime we clear the documents.

114   See headnote. Back

115   See headnote: (30900)-: HC 19-xxvii (2008-09), chapter 26, (14 October 2009). Back

116   Following the signing of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in July 1999 between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and five regional States in July 1999, the Security Council established the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) by its resolution 1279 of 30 November 1999, initially to plan for the observation of the ceasefire and disengagement of forces and maintain liaison with all parties to the Ceasefire Agreement. Later in a series of resolutions, the Council expanded the mandate of MONUC to the supervision of the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement and assigned multiple related additional tasks. In accordance with Security Council resolution 1925 of 28 May 2010, MONUC was renamed as of 1 July the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to reflect the new phase reached in the country. See for full information on MONUSCO. Back

117   See headnote: (31692) -: HC 428-i (2010-11), chapter 59 (8 September 2010). Back

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