European Scrutiny Committee Contents

59 CFSP: EU support for the Democratic Republic of Congo


Council Decision amending and extending Joint Action 2007/405/CFSP on the European Union Police Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Legal baseArticles 28 and 43 TEU; unanimity
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Basis of considerationEM of 10 June
Previous Committee ReportNone; but 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 Council11 June 2010 Environment Council
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionCleared, but further information requested


59.1 The original police mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (EUPOL Kinshasa) was launched in April 2005 to support the development of the Integrated Police Unit and played a key role in the protection of the transitional government, crowd control and public disorder leading up to the elections in 2006.

59.2 Its mandate was extended and amended in April 2006 to allow a temporary reinforcement to cover the elections that were successfully held in September 2006, and allowed the formation, in 2007, of a government which adopted a programme prioritising reform in the police, the armed forces, and the judiciary.

59.3 Against this background, the EU indicated in September 2006 that it was prepared to undertake, in close co-operation with the UN, the co-ordination of international efforts in Security Sector Reform in order to support the Congolese authorities in this area. Following two fact-finding missions in October 2006 and March 2007, 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); and

—  to build on, via a new and revised mandate, the substantial progress already 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 restructure and reconstruct the army, to be known as EUSEC RD Congo.[249]

59.4 Earlier Reports by the previous Committee outline its subsequent consideration of these two Joint Actions.[250]

59.5 A common concern from the outset of all Ministers for Europe has been that members of the security sector are the perpetrators of what has been regularly described as "a large proportion of violent crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including rape and human rights violations."

59.6 On 3 June 2009, the previous Committee cleared a Joint Action amending Joint Action 2007/405/CFSP on EUPOL DRC and extending it until June 2010. In so doing, it noted that, although the extension raised no questions in and of itself, and there was more information on this occasion about activity than there had been a year earlier, there was still a paucity of assessment of outcomes, i.e., the extent to which all this activity and expenditure had produced measurable improvements in behaviour and security. In particular, in the critical area of violent crime, sexual violence and human rights violations, the words chosen by the then Minister for Europe (Caroline Flint) were identical to those of her predecessor 12 months earlier: "EUPOL continues to work with the Congolese police in this field and to encourage officers to react to incidents appropriately" — notwithstanding that, a year earlier, the previous Committee had said that it would have liked evidence of how effective the mission's advice had been, and how Congolese officers' attitudes and practices had been changed by the "encouragement" to which the then Minister referred.

59.7 The previous Committee therefore asked the then Minister to say something about this, and about the effectiveness of EUSEC RD Congo, when she submitted an Explanatory Memorandum on the forthcoming mandate extension of this latter.[251]

59.8 On 11 June 2009, the previous Committee then considered a proposal for a three month, "no cost" extension of EUSEC RD Congo's mandate. The then Parliamentary Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Chris Bryant) explained in his 11 June 2009 Explanatory Memorandum that this was to take account of recent changes in leadership, which meant that more time was required for further detailed analysis on the needs and priorities of the Congolese in the field of Security Sector Reform. He said that:

—  "strategic indicators" would be used to assess Congolese political commitment in the medium term;

—  a revised General Concept would be formed including possible mission restructuring and detailed measures of progress to assist further review of longer term engagement; and

—  a three month extension would allow this work to take place and permit a better judgement when considering any further mandate extension.

59.9 On 11 June 2009, in a separate letter, the then Parliamentary Secretary also responded as follows to the previous Committee's earlier observations on EUPOL DRC:

"The lack of professionalism, poor discipline and conduct within the security services is directly related to poor terms and conditions of service, lack of proper training, and poor command and control. Human rights training which focuses on awareness raising and similar interventions around SGBV (Sexual and Gender based Violence) training must be accompanied by concrete measures to improve pay, conditions of service, professional training and strengthen systems for ensuring internal discipline and conduct. The latter is part of longer term institution-building, to which EUPOL DRC is a part, to secure behaviour change at an institutional level.

"Such improvements in the attitudes and behaviour of the Congolese National Police are inherently difficult to measure. Changes tend to be incremental, rather than representing a noticeable step change, and the process of reform is fundamentally affected by changes in national leadership. However, there are some positive signs of progress. For example, EUPOL has supported national seminars with some success to build up the awareness of the Congolese National Police to policing in a democratic state such as how police should deal with meetings and public demonstrations. The mission has also succeeded in pushing forward local ownership of Police Reform which is a key step towards changing attitudes and behaviours. The Police Reform Monitoring Committee (CSRP) is now considered both by the Congolese authorities and by international partners as truly owned and run by the Congolese.

"Violent crimes, sexual violence and human rights violations continue to be areas of grave concern in the DRC. For this reason, the Political and Security Committee requested that Council Secretariat 'examine the options for strengthened ESDP action to combat sexual violence and impunity in the DRC in view of assessing a possible scope of action for EUPOL'. Work in Brussels in [sic] on-going to discuss further measures that the mission can implement. It is likely that the Operational Plan will be adjusted to strengthen the ability of EUPOL DRC to combat sexual violence and impunity."

59.10 Notwithstanding the then Parliamentary Secretary's views, the previous Committee continued 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. The previous Committee also asked the then Parliamentary Secretary if, in due course, he would let it know the outcome of what the Political and Security Committee had asked the Council Secretariat to do, and how the Operational Plan was to be adjusted. It then cleared the extension.[252]

59.11 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 at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (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", the then Minister particularly welcomed the 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."

59.12 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, and said that the strategic indicators should confirm whether or not the positive developments to which the Parliamentary Secretary referred in June, and which seemed fundamental to any further progress, had been consolidated. The previous Committee also felt that it would have been helpful to have had some details of the "pre-defined indicators" that the then Minister welcomed, which it assumed were the "measures of progress to assist further review of longer term engagement" to which the Parliamentary Secretary had referred in June. In particular, the previous Committee said, it would have been interested to know how they would measure progress on the problem upon which the project would now be more focussed, i.e., sexual and gender based violence. 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 thus to see whether or not they fell: if this was more complex than it had imagined, the previous Committee said that it would have been helpful if the then Minister had put the Committee straight. The previous Committee noted that there was to be a review in six month's time, and accordingly asked the then Minister to report its findings and recommendations and comment on this particular matter.[253]

The previous Council Joint Action amending Joint Action 2007/405/CFSP on EUPOL RD Congo

59.13 The revised Joint Action outlined the financial implications for the period 1 November 2009 to 30 June 2010 (the first four months, from 1 July — 31 October, were of no extra cost).

59.14 In her Explanatory Memorandum of 13 October 2009, the then the Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead) said that the estimated financial amount to cover EUPOL DRC expenditure from 1 November 2009 to 30 June 2010 was €5,150,000, broken down as follows:

  • Personnel Costs: €2,961,258
  • Missions: €220,910
  • Running Expenditure: €1,169,280
  • Capital Expenditure: €715,515
  • Representation: €14,000
  • Contingencies: €69,037.

59.15 With the UK currently contributing 17% to the CFSP (Common Foreign and Security Policy) budget, the then Minister said that the cost to the UK would be €875,500. The then Minister further explained that the funding for the eight month period would be used to purchase armoured vehicles and accommodation in the east, to support the new multidisciplinary teams, as well as ongoing mission expenditure.

59.16 The then Minister 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. She continued as follows:

"Two multidisciplinary teams of experts will 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. Although based in the east of the country the teams competence will cover the whole of the DRC territory. 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.

"The mission works in close cooperation with EUSEC DRC (the EU's Army Reform mission to the DRC) which has also recently been given a greater focus on combating SGBV. By giving EUPOL DRC a greater emphasis on tackling SGBV as well it will allow a more consistent approach to be taken on SGBV simultaneously across both the Congolese Police and Armed Forces. The UK government supports this increased emphasis as a means to achieve wider stability, and increased faith in the Police and Armed Forces. This is also an area that we believe the ESDP mission can make a meaningful difference."

59.17 The then Minister concluded by saying the Joint Action was to be agreed at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 19 October 2009.

59.18 In his letter of 16 October 2009, the then new Minister for Europe (Chris Bryant) said that he welcomed the previous Committee's interest in the ESDP mission mandates, and regretted that "due to the recent change of Ministerial portfolios, we were not able to provide you with the Explanatory Memorandum in sufficient time for it to be considered at your meeting on 15 October (sic)". As a result, he said, he would have to agree for this Joint Action to be considered at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 19 October without prior debate at Committee. He continued as follows:

"The Council Secretariat must proceed with the implementation of the Joint Action, which provides the mission with a greater emphasis on tackling sexual violence and, importantly, provides the necessary budget for the mission to continue its activities from 1 November 2009 until the expiry of its mandate on 30 June 2010.

"While there are Council meetings towards the end of October (Justice and Home Affairs on 23 October, and the GAERC on 26 October), were I to delay lifting the UK scrutiny reserve until 22 October, the Council Secretariat would not have enough time to properly administer the renewal of contracts. This would result in a gap in funding beyond 31 October 2009 until contractual positions were resolved. As the mission is looking to place a greater emphasis on tackling sexual and gender based violence and is looking to deploy two multidisciplinary teams to the eastern DRC to take this forward, this could have a serious operational impact."

59.19 The then Minister then said that he was taking this opportunity to provide 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

59.20 The previous Committee did not receive either his predecessor's Explanatory Memorandum until 15 October or his letter until 19 October. Nor, with the Committee due to meet on 21 October, did it see why delaying submission of this document to the Council until 23 October, rather than 19 October, would not have provided the Council Secretariat with enough time to renew the relevant contract. If the documents were ready on 19 October, the previous Committee noted, then a delay of three days would not have prevented their timely issue; and if they were not ready, ditto.

59.21 As to the contents of his letter, 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.

59.22 The previous Committee accordingly 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 to which the Minister referred.

59.23 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 nonetheless asked that, when he reported on this review (c.f. paragraph 59.12 above), he also provided an assessment of how well the four benchmarks and the task referred to in the previous paragraph had been achieved.

59.24 The previous Committee then cleared the document.

The Council Decision

59.25 With the mission's current mandate due to expire on 30 June 2010, the Council Decision extends the mandate of EUPOL DRC by three months until 30 September 2010.

59.26 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 10 June 2010, the Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr David Lidington) says that, under the three month extension, the mission's tasks will be unchanged and will be to:

—  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.

Legal Basis

59.27 The Minister says:

"Articles 28, 31(2) and (3) of the Treaty of the European Union are likely to be the legal basis of the Council decision. At present the Council decision's legal base is shown as Article 14 of the Treaty of European Union which was the legal base for adopting joint actions before the Treaty was amended by the Lisbon Treaty. Joint actions no longer exist today. The budgetary impact statement, however shows the legal basis to be Articles 28, 31 (2) and (3).

"Voting Procedures: Qualified majority voting applies where the legal basis includes Article 31 (2)."

The Government's view

59.28 The Minister goes on to note that the DRC remains a focus of international attention "because of the potential for conflict not least caused by the poor humanitarian situation throughout the majority of the country." He continues as follows:

"The Congolese police and justice sectors are weak and impunity for major crimes, including rape and murder, is 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."

59.29 Security Sector Reform (SSR) in order to root out one of the causes of instability in the DRC is, the Minister says, therefore a high priority for the International Community:

"Over the last twelve months EUPOL DRC has struggled to fully achieve its mandate. The mission has taken forward some work to tackle sexual and gender based violence by organising training courses to equip Congolese police officers with skills to better deal with sexual violence cases. However, understaffing and security concerns have hindered further efforts in the East where the majority of sexual and gender based violence crimes are committed."

59.30 Despite this, the Minister says:

"the Government supports a three month extension of the mission until 30 September 2010. Security Sector Reform in the DRC is essential to stability in the country, but there are many international actors involved and they are not always coordinated effectively. The key player is the UN Peacekeeping Mission to the DRC (MONUC) whose new mandate has just been adopted by the UN Security Council. The details of its implementation and exact focus on SSR should become clear in the next few months. It will be important that the EU does not duplicate UN efforts so if, for example, it is decided that the UN mission will have a greater focus on police reform, we will need to judge the EUPOL DRC mandate in that light. Negotiations regarding MONUC's new mandate have been delicate and, as the second largest peacekeeping mission in the world, the way forward for MONUC must be decided before discussions begin on the future focus of EUPOL DRC. The three month extension will facilitate this and allow for a more informed decision to be taken on the longer term future of EUPOL DRC."

59.31 The Minister then goes on to explain that the Council Secretariat proposes 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 EU Security Sector Reform mission (EUSEC DRC)", which focuses on reform of the Congolese Armed Forces:

"The review will look to assess the effectiveness of EU activity so far and identify areas where the EU can add most value to international efforts in the future. The three month extension will give the UK, the EU and other Member States the opportunity to look at international support with the intention of improving the EU's effort. Over this period, the UK will assess carefully the DRC's SSR and police reform needs, particularly in view of the refocused UN mission and the EU's strategic review. We will look to analyse the level of the EU's impact and what resources are required to have a greater impact. If the strategic review fails to identify an area where continued CSDP engagement in police reform can add sufficient value going forward we will push to close EUPOL DRC."

59.32 The Minister concludes by saying that:

—  the estimated total budget for the three month extension of EUPOL DRC is €2,020,000 which will be funded from the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy budget, within which the UK share will be around £275,000; and

—  the Council Decision is planned to be agreed at the Environment Council on 11 June 2010.


59.33 We clear the document. In so doing, we recognise that the Dissolution and consequent delay in setting up the European Scrutiny Committee militated against the Minister withholding agreement to this Decision until it had been scrutinised by the Committee. We do not object, on this occasion and in these circumstances, to his agreeing to its adoption prior to scrutiny.

59.34 But we also note that the Minister has nothing to say about the reviews into both EUPOL DRC or EUSEC RD Congo referred to by his predecessors and about which the previous Committee asked to have information prior to the presentation of further proposals extending their mandates. There is also no mention by the Minister of the mission's impact since the last extension, though the implication is that it has been limited, to say the least. However, rather than raking over the coals, we ask the Minister to deposit whatever document emerges from strategic review of EU engagement in the DRC, so that the House may have an opportunity to consider the Government's views prior to the presentation of any further Council Decisions.

249   See (28650) -, (28651) -: HC 41 xxiii (2006-07), chapter 19 (6 June 2007) for our consideration of that Joint Action.  Back

250   See headnote.  Back

251   See headnote: (30667) - HC 19-xviii (2008-09), chapter 21 (3 June 2009). Back

252   See headnote: (30686) 10358/09 -: HC 19-xx (2008-09), chapter 7 (17 June 2009). Back

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

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