Documents considered by the Committee on 7 September 2011, including the following recommendation for debate: Standing Order and membership - European Scrutiny Committee Contents


18 CFSP: EU support for security sector reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo

(33098)


(33099)

Council Decision amending Council Decision 2010/565/CFSP on the European Union mission to provide advice and assistance for security sector reform in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (EUSEC DRC)[88]




Council Decision amending and extending Council Decision 2010/576/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 the Congo (EUPOL DRC)

Legal baseArticles 28 and 43 TEU; unanimity
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Basis of considerationMinister's letter of 4 August 2011 and EMs of 2 September 2011
Previous Committee ReportNone; but see (31915) — and (31916) —: HC 428-vii (2010-12), chapter 10 (10 November 2010) and HC 428-ii (2010-12), chapter 26 (15 September 2010); also 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 Council12 September 2011
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionCleared; further information requested

Background

18.1 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 RDC).

18.2 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.[89]

18.3 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 DRC 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. [90] 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 DRC 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. [91]

The previous Council Decision on EUSEC DRC

18.4 This Council Decision replaced the Council Decision 2009/709/CFSP and provided for a two-year extension from 1 October 2010 until 30 September 2012.

18.5 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.

18.6 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 previous Council Decision on EUPOL DRC

18.7 In his separate Explanatory Memorandum of 9 September 2010, the Minister said that, under this proposed twelve month extension, EUPOL DRC 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.

18.8 The Minister put the proposal in much the same context as he did in June (see paragraph 18.6 above). He explained that over the last twelve months EUPOL DRC 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.

18.9 The Minister went on to explain that the financial reference amount for the extension had not yet been agreed, but he expects 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

18.10 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.

18.11 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.

18.12 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.

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

18.14 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.

18.15 In the meantime, we cleared the Council Decisions.[92]

The Minister's letter of 4 October 2010

18.16 The Minister's detailed response is set out in the Annex to our most recent Report, in three main sections:

—  review of EU engagement in the DRC

—  the UN mission MONUSCO

—  Sexual Violence & Wider Engagement

18.17 The Minister also noted 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 had taken 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, which was why the EUSEC DRC budget was able to be released earlier than the budget for EUPOL DRC;

—  the total expenditure for EUPOL DRC to date was €19.57 million (which excluded the €6.4 million for the upcoming extension) and was 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.

Our assessment

18.18 We thanked the Minister for this information, which we felt demonstrated the uphill — and, we suspected, solitary and thus all the more commendable — battle the UK had had to reach this point, notwithstanding the €60 million spent thus far on these two missions.

18.19 The extremely difficult operational context was evident; and there was no gainsaying the need for stability and the rule of law in the DRC. But, those considerations notwithstanding, given the level of expenditure thus far, we hoped that the next review would be able to show some signs of more definitive results than hitherto.

18.20 Given the degree of interest in developments in the DRC, and in EU efforts more generally to assist the re-building of such conflict-damaged nations, we reported this further information to the House.[93]

The latest Council Decision on EUSEC DRC

18.21 This draft Council Decision would establish a budget of €13.6 million for the second year of the two-year extension to EUSEC DRC that was agreed by Council Decision 2010/565/CFSP.

18.22 In his first Explanatory Memorandum of 2 September 2011, the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) recalls that the mission is tasked to work in close cooperation and coordination with other actors in the international community, in particular the United Nations and its Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), to promote security sector reform, including by:

—  maintaining support at the strategic level;

—  supporting the consolidation of the administration and the introduction of a human resources management system;

—  supporting the modernisation of logistics;

—  supporting the re-launch of the training system, particularly for executive staff, mainly through support for the School of Administration and Military Academy projects in Kananga and the school of Logistics in Kinshasa;

—  pursuing activities relating to the campaign against impunity in the areas of respect for human rights, including sexual violence.

18.23 The Minister notes that the proposed budget represents an increase of €1 million from the budget for the previous 12 months, which he says is mainly due to a small increase in the number of projects that will be carried out by the mission and the extension of existing projects.

The Government's view

18.24 The Minister once again highlights:

—   the potential for the DRC, with its vast mineral resources, to become a prosperous nation;

—  the reality of Congolese citizens remaining amongst the poorest in the world and the country still suffering from the effects of the Second Congo War that took place between 1998 and 2003;

—  the various militia groups remain active in the eastern DRC despite the end of the war; and the Congolese military (FARDC) continuing lack of capacity to remove them and fully stabilise the eastern provinces; and

—  the potential of this instability in the DRC, bordering as it does nine other countries, to affect the wider Great Lakes region.

18.25 Effective reform of the Congolese military is, he says, therefore crucial to securing lasting stability and better protection for the Congolese population. Once more, he sees a more effective and capable FARDC as aiding the DRC in:

—  helping with efforts to stabilise the key eastern regions and reduce the possibility that the country will slide back into conflict;

—  improving 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.

18.26 The Minister describes Security Sector Reform as essential in the long term to enable DRC to eventually take the responsibility for protecting its own citizens and provide security. EUSEC has, he says, achieved good results towards this end, notably with its chain of payments project, which he says has helped to increase transparency, reduce corruption, and improve the accountability of the FARDC. The continuing success of this work will "help to bring about the conditions necessary for stability and allow us to consider a strategy for the future of MONUSCO."

18.27 The Minister continues as follows:

"The DRC was identified in the UK's bilateral aid review as one of our 27 focus countries. Considerable UK resources will be dedicated to the DRC over the coming years. DFID's bilateral assistance is scheduled to increase from its spend in 2009-10 of £109 million to an average £198 million per year until 2015. The UK also makes significant contributions to multilateral spending in DRC. For example the EU is expected to spend some €580 million in DRC from the European Development Fund (2008-2013), while the UK contributes 8.2% towards the total budget for the UN peacekeeping mission to DRC (MONUSCO) approx £67 million in year 2010/11. The UK also contributes to the MONUSCO Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Resettlement, and Reintegration (DDRRR) programme, and funds three positions in the EUSEC DRC mission, through the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool.

"UK investment in DRC is aimed at promoting social and economic development. EUSEC (and the EU Policing Mission in the DRC, EUPOL DRC) both work to increase security and stability in the country, which will be vital for this development. It is therefore in our broader political interest in DRC to ensure that EUSEC (and EUPOL) achieve their agreed objectives."

18.28 The Minister judges that the first year of the two-year extension has been productive and that the proposed budget increase is reasonable, which he says is primarily due to:

"The refurbishment of training venues for the Military Academy in Kananga, ahead of the first intake of candidates in September, and the Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) school in Kitona. Both facilities require significant work, and will be essential for the success of the EUSEC training programmes.

"Follow up to the modernisation of the administration of human resources projects, including the issuing of the Biometric ID cards to troops. This will help produce better personnel management, and administration of the chain of command, within the FARDC. This was delayed due to FARDC internal wrangling over the ranks and grades listed on the card, and EUSEC now requires additional staffing in order to issue the cards by the original target date of 30 September 2011."

18.29 The Minister then highlights the support it will provide during the elections due to be held at the end of November 2011as a key factor when considering the extension of the EUSEC mission is:

"A free and fair election process will be crucial for the future of DRC. The UK, through DFID, has so far contributed over £26 million to the electoral process, and will spend a further £2.6 million on supporting election security. EUSEC will contribute to these wider efforts.

"Once the election process has been concluded and a new government is in place, we will push for a full strategic review of EUSEC. This should address whether the outcome of the elections will impact on the mission, and if so whether its mandate should be further extended, amended or terminated."

The Minister's letter of 4 August 2011

18.30 The Minister says that, in preparing this further Council Decision, he regrets that it was discovered that an error was made in the Explanatory Memorandum of 9 September 2010; viz., that the Financial Implications section paragraph 25 stated 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."

18.31 The Minister explains that this paragraph should have stated that the €12.6 million referred only to the budget for the first year of the extension, and continues thus:

"Given that budgets for such missions are proposed on an annual basis we did not have details of the proposed budget for the second year. However, the Budget Impact Statement provided by the EEAS did make it clear that the €12.6 million was for the period 1 October 2010 to 30 September 2011. We were therefore mistaken to say that this amount was to cover the two-year extension.

"I regret the error that was made in the Explanatory Memorandum of 9 September 2010 but hope that the explanation provided above clarifies the true position."

18.32 The Minister concludes his letter by explaining that the €13.6 million budget for the second year of the two-year extension will not have additional financial implications for the UK as the funds will continue to be taken from the EU's agreed Common Foreign and Security Policy budget.

The latest Council Decision on EUPOL DRC

18.33 This further draft Council Decision extends the mission's mandate for twelve months until 30 September 2012 and establishes a budget for this period of €7,150,000.

18.34 In his second Explanatory Memorandum of 2 September 2011, the Minister for Europe recalls that the mission now consists of around 50 international experts, the majority of whom are seconded by EU member states, and around 19 national administrative staff; and that its key objectives are to:

—  support the Congolese National Police (PNC) and the Ministry of Interior and Security in the implementation of police reform;

—  enhance the operational capacity of the PNC, through mentoring, monitoring, advising and training; and

—  support the fight against impunity in the fields of human rights and sexual violence.

18.35 The Minister explains that the proposed budget represents an increase of €720,000 from the budget for the previous 12 months (of €6,430,000). This, he says, is mainly due to an increase in personnel costs (€360,000) and running costs (€320,000); reflects a slight increase in the number of international contracted experts (paid for from the mission budget) compared to the number of seconded experts (paid for by member states); and has been necessary to facilitate recruitment for some key positions.

The Government's view

18.36 The Minister justifies his support for this further extension of EUPOL RDC's mandate in essentially the same terms as for that of EUSEC RDC (see paragraphs 18.24-18.27 above). In particular, he again highlights as a key factor when considering the extension of the EUPOL mission the role it will play in the elections due to be held at the end of November 2011, for example by providing on-going mentoring to the Congolese National Police (PNC) throughout the process and by contributing to the wider UK efforts in support of the electoral process, including election security.

18.37 The Minister then continues as follows:

"In considering the extension of the mandate of EUPOL we have sought to establish how well the mission complements the work of other actors in the DRC, and whether it has been refocused to improve its impact. We believe that this is now the case following our intervention at Ministerial level last year. DFID in DRC has been closely monitoring EUPOL's performance and they believe that EUPOL has made significant progress in the last year, including by sharpening its focus on areas where they have a comparative advantage — mentoring and training. Specific examples include:

  • "DFID and EUPOL are working in partnership with the Inspector General Audite to monitor and evaluate the performance of the Congolese Police.
  • "EUPOL, DFID and MONUSCO have worked together to provide training to community police.
  • "EUPOL have delivered training on sexual and gender-based violence with funding from USAID and GIZ.
  • "EUPOL organises regular meetings of EU member states to coordinate support for police reform.

"Once the election process has been concluded and a new government is in place, we will push for a full strategic review of EUPOL. This should address whether the outcome of the elections will impact on the mission, and if so whether its mandate should be further extended, amended or terminated."

18.38 The Minister concludes both his Explanatory Memoranda by noting that both Council Decisions will be agreed at the General Affairs Council on 12 September 2011.

Conclusion

18.39 The Minister notes some further progress on the part of both missions: but also that, in view of the imminent elections, their long-term position remains uncertain.

18.40 We would therefore like the Minister to write to us after the elections, once the dust has settled, with his views on whether the mandate of each is likely to be further extended, amended or terminated.

18.41 In the meantime, we now clear the documents.





88   The operating language of EUSEC DRC is French; thus its official title in EU documentation is EUSEC RDC. Back

89   See headnote. Back

90   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

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

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

93   See headnote: (31915) - and (31916) -: HC 428-vii (2010-11), chapter 10 (10 November 2010). Back


 
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