Documents considered by the committee on 10 November 2010, including the following recommendation for debate: Safety of offshore oil and gas activities - European Scrutiny Committee Contents


10   CFSP: EU support for the Democratic Republic of Congo

(31915)


(31916)

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 considerationMinister's letter of 4 October 2010
Previous Committee ReportsHC 428-ii (2010-11), chapter 26 (15 September 2010) and (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)
Discussed in Council20 September 2010
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionCleared (decision reported on 15 September 2010); further information now provided

Background

10.1  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).

10.2  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. The then Ministers' responses are detailed in our predecessor's earlier Reports.[19]

10.3  On 8 September 2010, at its first meeting, the Committee cleared a Council Decision to extend EUPOL's mandate for a further three months, at a cost of a further €2 million. As the Minister for Europe (David Lidington) said in his 10 June Explanatory Memorandum, 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 over the last 12 months EUPOL RD CONGO had struggled to fully achieve its mandate. Despite this, the Minister supported a three month extension until 30 September 2010. Among many international actors involved, who were not always coordinated effectively, the key player was the UN Peacekeeping Mission to the DRC (MONUC). The way forward for MONUC was being discussed.[20] The three month extension would allow for a more informed decision then to be taken on the longer term future of EUPOL RD CONGO. The Council Secretariat were also to undertake a strategic review of EU engagement in the DRC this summer to look at EU coherence, including between EUPOL RD CONGO and the separate and "better performing" EUSEC RD CONGO. It will look to assess the effectiveness of EU activity so far and identify areas where the EU can add most value in the future. If the strategic review failed to identify an area where continued CSDP engagement in police reform can add sufficient value going forward, the Minister would push to close EUPOL RD CONGO.[21]

The first Council Decision

10.4  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.

10.5  In his Explanatory Memorandum of 9 June 2010, the Minister for Europe said that the mission's main tasks would 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.

10.6  The Minister noted that, despite the end of the Second Congo War in 2003, various militia groups remained active in the eastern DRC and the Congolese military (FARDC) lacked the capacity to remove them and fully stabilise the eastern provinces. With the DRC bordering nine other countries this instability had the potential to affect the wider Great Lakes region. A more effective and capable FARDC would aid the DRC 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 improve 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 was a long term process and the two-year extension to EUSEC DRC would allow the mission continue and build on the good work it had undertaken so far. The crucial reform projects it was delivering to professionalise the Congolese Army were helping reduce the levels of corruption and fraud; the two-year extension would allow for longer term planning and implementation. The amount allocated to cover the two-year extension was €12.6 million, with a UK contribution of approximately €1.7 million.

The second Council Decision

10.7  In his separate Explanatory Memorandum of 9 September 2010, the Minister for Europe (David Lidington) said that, under this proposed twelve month extension, EUPOL RD CONGO would be refocused towards the implementation of smaller specific projects against a set of clearly defined tasks, and that these would be delivered through training programmes for the Congolese National Police (PNC):

—  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.

10.8  The Minister put the proposal in much the same context as he did in June (c.f. paragraph 10.6 above). He explained that over the last twelve months EUPOL RD CONGO had experienced difficulties implementing the tasks in its mandate. Constant understaffing has limited the scale and impact of the work it had 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 had moved into an implementation phase. The Government's explicit starting point for the negotiations was, therefore, that it would only agree to a new mission if it was smaller and focused on a set of clearly defined and achievable tasks that dovetailed effectively with the rest of the international effort. Importantly, the mission's tasks would be supported by a set of measurable benchmarks of progress which would help inform the Member States when they considered a review of the mission's activity, which the Council Secretariat would be required to produce this report six months into the new mandate period. The UK had 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 would be reduced from 60 to 49 international staff. Deployment in the eastern provinces had been scaled back to include only an eight person antenna in Goma. Deployments in Bukavu and proposed deployments in Lubumbashi had been removed; this would ensure that the mission retained some form of engagement in the key eastern provinces (where the majority of acts of sexual violence crimes were committed) but also addressed 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 would focus on taking forward work to address sexual and gender based violence in the east. The mission's head quarters would remain in Kinshasa.

10.9  The Minister went on to explain that the financial reference amount for the extension had not yet been agreed, but he expect the costs to be less than under the previous mandate (noting that a three month extension under the last mandate cost €2.02 million).

Our assessment

10.10  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; the impression now, we felt, was that it had slipped down the scale of priorities or, at best, has marked time. We therefore asked the Minister:

—  what the level of SGBV now was;

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

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

10.11  We also noted that there is still no mention of the findings of any of the reviews talked about by both previous Ministers for Europe and he himself— he having said the review of the MONUC (now MONUSCO) mandate would be central to determining how to take EUPOL forward. We therefore asked:

—  what the outcome was of the MONUC/MONUSCO review mandate, and how the refocusing of EUPOL reflected 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 EUPOL's continuation;

—  what "clearly defined and achievable tasks" were discerned, and how they dovetailed effectively with the rest of the international effort;

—  what the rest of that international effort consisted of;

—  what the benchmarks were against which progress was to be measured.

10.12  Looking further ahead, we asked the Minister to write in six month's time with information about what had been achieved vis à vis the benchmarks and his views on the outcome thus far and the prospects for the future.

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

10.14  We also noted the lack of financial information on EUPOL RD Congo. When he wrote to the Committee once the financial reference amount was agreed, we asked 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 had been thus far.

10.15  In the meantime, we cleared the Council Decisions.[22]

The Minister's letter of 4 October 2010

10.16  The Minister's detailed response is set out in the Annex to this chapter of our Report in three main sections:

—  review of EU engagement in the DRC;

—  the UN mission MONUSCO;

—  Sexual Violence & Wider Engagement.

10.17  The Minister also notes that:

—  the budget announced for the twelve month extension to EUPOL DRC is €6.4 million and was presented to Member States on 13 September;

—  the reason for the delay in the release of the budget was the prolonged negotiations that took place as a result of UK efforts to refocus EUPOL DRC's mandate;

—  negotiations on the extension to EUSEC DRC did not take as long and is the reason why the budget for EUSEC DRC was able to be released earlier than the budget for EUPOL DRC;

—  the total expenditure for EUPOL DRC to date is €19.57 million (which excludes the €6.4 million for the upcoming extension) and is broken down as follows:

  • 01/07/07 — 30/06/08 (12 month extension): €5.5 million;
  • 01/07/08 — 31/10/09 (16 month extension): €6.9 million;
  • 01/11/09 — 30/06/10 (8 month extension): €5.15 million;
  • 01/07/10 — 30/09/10 (3 month extension): €2.02 million.

Conclusion

10.18  We are grateful to the Minister for this information, which demonstrates the uphill — and, we suspect, solitary, and thus all the more commendable — battle the UK has had to reach this point, notwithstanding the €60 million spent thus far on these two missions.

10.19  The extremely difficult operational context is evident. And there is no gainsaying the need for stability and the rule of law in the DRC. We can but hope that, given the level of expenditure thus far, the next review will be able to show some signs of more definitive results than hitherto.

Annex Review of EU engagement in the DRC

"A strategic review of EU engagement in the DRC was released on 21 June. The review was intended to provide an assessment of the effectiveness of EU engagement to allow an informed decision to be taken on the direction of future engagement. The review concluded that CSDP engagement had been successful and recommended that the two missions (EUSEC DRC and EUPOL DRC) were both extended for two years with similar mandates. The review advised that future EU activity should be more transparent, measurable and concentrated on the implementation of the SSR process.

"With regards to EUPOL DRC, the review concluded that the mission had been successful, but in HMG's view it did not identify a convincing case that a new mission would add value to the wider international effort to reform the security sector in the DRC. The Government's view was that, whilst EUPOL DRC had made a positive impact in the first year to 18 months of operations, it was now struggling to fulfil its strategic level mandate. A continuation along previous lines would have made little difference to reform of the Congolese National Police (PNC). In the following negotiations, against strong opposition from other Member States, the UK argued hard to focus EUPOL DRC on more targeted projects and interventions, to ensure that it coordinated more effectively with the rest of the international effort and realised some efficiencies in its staffing and administration. As a result, EUPOL DRC was refocused on the following four headline objectives:

1.  supporting the SSR process with a particular emphasis on the reform of the Congolese Police (PNC) and its interaction with the judiciary;

2.  supporting the implementation of Police Reform and the improvement of the PNC's operational capacity and accountability through mentoring monitoring and advising (MMA) activities;

3.  enhancing the knowledge and capacity of PNC senior officials, trainers and training systems through the provision of strategic training courses;

4.  supporting the fight against sexual violence and impunity.

"Under these objectives the mission will take forward the following tasks;

  • Contributing to enhancing the links between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice with a view to increasing levels of co-operation and understanding between the two Ministries.
  • Providing advice on the design and implementation of an adequate organisational structure for the PNC and supporting data collection activities in order to establish a complete census of police officers.
  • Mentoring, monitoring and advising PNC personnel to assist with the implementation of the reform process and improve the PNC's capability to prevent and investigate serious 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 policy for the PNC against SGBV.
  • Helping create specialised units within the PNC to fight against sexual violence, crimes related to children.

"The extensive mission planning documents set out further detail on the sub-tasks to be completed in each of these areas. In addition, the UK extracted commitments, set out in the mission's Operations Plan agreed in Brussels on 17 September, to establish benchmarks for the mission activities against which progress would be measured at the six month review stage and when considering whether to renew the mandate in 12 months time. The benchmarks will be elaborated by the new Head of Mission, who is soon to be appointed, as part of his mission implementation plan. The Government has made clear that we expect to see benchmarks that are not only quantitative input measures, e.g. the number of police officers trained, but look to establish the qualitative outcomes of the mission's efforts. These benchmarks will be built around the following success criteria agreed for the mission:

  • relevant legislation and policies, reflecting the conceptual and doctrinal framework underpinning the police reform process (e.g. in the fields of human resources, operations, administration and logistics), are adopted and start to be implemented;
  • relevant PNC structures coherent with the objectives of the mission are designed and start to be implemented;
  • the census of the PNC, aimed at obtaining a precise picture of the number of Police Officers, is launched and progresses successfully towards completion;
  • the crime investigation operational capability of the PNC in Kinshasa is enhanced and able to operate with a minimum efficiency;
  • significant improvement of the overall functioning of criminal investigation is achieved;
  • higher professional standards and better overall performance across the criminal justice sector (e.g. more investigations leading to successful prosecutions) are perceivable;
  • a sufficient number of police trainers are trained in order to build capacity inside the PNC to improve significantly their skills; and
  • a coherent policy against sexual violence and impunity in the PNC is developed.

The UN mission — MONUSCO

"The Committee also asked about the outcome of the discussions on the MONUC/MONUSCO mandate and how the changes to EUPOL DRC reflect this. The new UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC is now known as MONUSCO and works closely with the United Nations Country Team and international community as it takes on a greater peace-building role. The mission's activities focus on stabilisation and peace consolidation with the Congolese Government and other international partners, predominantly in the areas of security and judicial reform. The new UN mandate includes support for the eventual deployment of trained PNC officials to maintain rule of law in areas currently secured by the military. It has the overall coordination role of international efforts on SSR in the DRC.

"MONUSCO is by far the largest single player on SSR in the DRC so the Government is clear that EUPOL DRC must coordinate effectively with this mission. The UK identified that EUPOL DRC would add most value to the UN effort by providing assistance with the training and mentoring of senior PNC officials. The tasks under the new mandate should help improve the leadership skills of senior Congolese police officers so that good practice can be cascaded down the chain of command. EUPOL DRC's follow up and mentoring activities will also help to ensure that Congolese officials implement the lessons they have learnt. There is of course no guarantee that the changes made to EUPOL DRC's mandate will ensure the mission has the impact we desire going forward. The mission may still struggle to recruit suitably qualified personnel, though UK efforts to reduce the size of the mission should help. The first report of the new SRSG (Special Representative of the Secretary General) Roger Meece is due by 11 October 2010 and should provide an early indication of MONUSCO's progress towards achieving a coordinated approach in-country. We will continue to monitor EUPOL DRC's progress under its own new mandate in the coming months to assess the mission's progress.

The Democratic Republic of Congo — Sexual Violence & Wider Engagement

"Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in the DRC remains high. It is estimated that one woman is raped every two hours in the province of South Kivu. In 2009 the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) reported that over 200,000 women and girls were assaulted over the last thirteen years and in one particular incident that took place in August this year around 500 women were attacked and raped by armed rebels near the town of Kibua.

"As mentioned in my previous correspondence, a large proportion of the reported SGBV crimes are committed by members of the Congolese national army (FARDC). Since its creation in 2003, the FARDC has been one of the main perpetrators of sexual violence in the DRC. Army commanders frequently fail to stop SGBV crimes committed by soldiers under their command and punish those responsible. Although other armed groups also commit acts of SGBV, the sheer size of the FARDC and its deployment throughout the whole country makes it one of the largest perpetrators. In 2007, the UN found that 54 percent of all sexual violence cases reported in the first six months of the year were committed by FARDC soldiers and between January and May 2009, Human Rights Watch documented 143 cases of rape by army soldiers in North Kivu.

"To date there has not been any attempt to collect data systematically on the extent of the problem and there are, therefore, no authoritative figures. Limited data makes it difficult to measure whether or not there has been any reduction in the number of abuses committed by the Congolese security sector but it is clear that it is still happening regularly. One of the biggest challenges faced is the under reporting of incidents (particularly by male victims) due to the social stigmas attached to being a victim of rape. Security sector reform is key to turning this around. We continue to push the Congolese Government to implement a zero tolerance policy against human rights abuse and to address impunity in the armed forces.

"The Committee asked what had happened to EUPOL DRC's efforts under its previous mandate to provide access to justice for victims of SGBV. This is challenging in the DRC because of the distances involved and poor infrastructure which means that the distance between the victims of SGBV and instruments of justice (police, prosecutors, judges etc) is large. Failings in the justice system such as corruption and a lack of capacity mean that prosecutions are rare. EUPOL DRC was unable to fully take forward work in this area due to the understaffing experienced under the missions previous mandate. Other international actors such as the US and UN are also engaged in tackling SGBV in the eastern DRC along with many other NGOs (Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International) which has further limited the mission's impact. As a result, the UK argued for EUPOL DRC's deployment in the east to be reduced to a single antenna in Goma and the mission has not been specifically tasked to help with the provision of legal aid to SGBV victims of under the new mandate. The mission will however remain engaged through advising and assisting members of the Congolese judiciary.

"The EU led programme REJUSCO allocated £750,000 of its total programme budget to support activities on SGBV and had two components. The first was aimed at raising awareness of SGBV with the DRC population and the second targeted improving victims access to justice along with the ability of the justice system to respond. However disbursement of funds to this programme has had to be stopped because of corruption issues.

"SGBV in DRC attracts a good deal of international attention. The US, Sweden, the UK and the EU are particularly active on the issue. Hillary Clinton visited DRC in August 2009 where she announced a $17 million plan to help tackle the problem. In May 2010 Sweden hosted a major international donor conference on sexual violence and Margot Wallström (UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict) is currently in the DRC to coordinate the UN's response to the recent mass rapes in the east of the country.

"The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) is heavily engaged in the DRC and focuses on six priority areas; governance, security and justice, road building, access to education, minerals and humanitarian assistance. With the help of UK Aid 18 million people in the DRC were able to vote in 2006 in the first democratic elections the DRC had seen for more than 40 years. Several non-EU states such as Angola, Canada, China, the Republic of South Africa, and the USA are engaged in bilateral assistance programs in support of the SSR process. South Africa has its own SSR assistance mission and the USA is supporting a stabilisation and reconstruction (STAREC) plan through USAID. The USA has also expressed their intention to support EUPOL DRC's activities combating sexual violence. Finally, Japan also provides financial support to several police reform actions and projects.

"Since October 2005, the European Commission (EC) has provided assistance related to the strategic direction of judicial reform in the DRC. The EUPOL DRC senior justice advisor is working closely with the EC and has established contacts with the Congolese General Prosecutor and other senior legal personnel. Under the European Development Fund and Instrument for Stability (IfS) the EC is supporting preliminary reform work such as the introduction of a system for human resource management in the PNC and a nationwide quantitative and qualitative census to identify training needs. Furthermore, in the framework of wider IfS programmes the EC has allocated €3 million for a programme which is assisting with the deployment of additional PNC officers to the eastern DRC."




19   See headnote. Back

20   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 http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/monuc/ for full information on MONUSCO.  Back

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

22   See headnote: HC 428-ii (2010-11), chapter 26 (15 September 2010). Back


 
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