Peacekeeping Failure On Example Of The Democratic Republic Of Congo International Law Essay
This essay will describe the United Nation (UN) Peacekeeping operation as a form of military intervention to ensure the implementation of comprehensive peace agreements and assist in laying the foundations for sustainable peace (UN Peacekeeping, 2010) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) for the duration of the 30 November 1999 until 30 June 2010 (MONUC Mandate, 2010). In regarding to the MONUC in the DRC it will be explained the background of the mission, the definition of peacekeeping itself, the areas of peacekeeping focused on the DRC during the MONUC and why it has been an UN peacekeeping failure.
The background of the MONUC is explained as followed by Dijkzeul (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.317-319) as a failed attempt to limit president Mobutu’s power in the early 1990’s lead in a escalation also based on the economic situation and the ethnic tension. Accordingly to the Rwanda Genocide in 1994 million refugees sheltered in eastern DRC, which lead to a prompt increase of humanitarian organisation within this area. The refugee camps were used be the Interahamwe to regroup and carrying out attacks before escaping in the eastern Congolese forest to plunder and rape the civilians. In 1996 the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo (AFDL) leaded by Laurent Kabila overthrew Mobutu supported by the Rwanda and Uganda army (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.318). The Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD) started a second war to displace Kabila’s regime, supported by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi army troops. As a result of increasing rebel groups support by the Uganda and Rwanda, the DRC got divided into three parts. The eastern part of Congo controlled by the RDC, the western and southern part by government forces and the northern part by the Front de Libération du Congo (FLC). ‘Over the time, these different warring factions and their international supporters became more interested in economic extraction and exploitation of natural resources like diamond and coltan, than in ending the war’ (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.319). Due to the unstable relationship between the RDC and Rwanda, the local ethnic conflicts and the fight over resources between Rwanda and Uganda ended in micro-wars through the country, caused mainly civilians as victims. Accordingly, approximately 4 million people died between 1998 and 2004 as a consequence of extreme poverty, diseases and due starvation based on the decreased economic activities (International Crisis Group, 2008). Finally in 1999 the Lusaka Agreement was signed by all Congolese parties to establish a political order, cooperate to ensure the security of civilians and disarm militia groups of the DRC. The meeting of all parties as equals to ensure the implementation of UN peacekeeping as part of the Agreement (Weiss, 2000, p.1-2). Following to the Lusaka Agreement the UN Security Council authorised the MONUC peacekeeping force in 2000.
The history of the UN peacekeeping operations changed after the cold war in regards to new realities and intra-state or internal conflicts (Harrison & Nishihara, 1995, p.17-18). Therefore the peacekeeping is a more complex phenomenon, it has the role as a mediator in countries which have a high conflict potential or are already in war to implement peace by ‘supervision of law and order; economic rehabilitation; repatriation of refugees; humanitarian relief [..]’ and also stabilising the government (Harrison & Nishihara,1995, p.18). In preview to the complex Mandate of the MONUC, Dijkzeul (2010) argues that MONUC is mainly the most complex operation in the UN peacekeeping history as it combines the purpose of ‘military, political, legal, humanitarian, and civilian police elements, and coordinates the UN family in the DRC’ (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.320).
The UN Peacekeeping missions are not defined under any Chapter of the UN Charter; they are negotiated and mediated in their acting through the Chapter VI ‘Pacific Settlement of Disputes’ and ‘Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace Breaches of the Peace, Acts of Aggression’ in Chapter VII (UN Peacekeeping, 2010). The Security Council included necessary actions in the deployment region, the protection and security of UN personnel and the safety of civilians (MONUC, 2010). The MONUC has the duty to work according to the Resolution 1291 adopted on 24 February 2000 from the UN Security Council to implement the Ceasefire Agreement, the release of the war prisoners, develop a mine action plan and facilitate humanitarian assistance (MONUC, 2010). Resolution 1797 in 2008 authorised from the UN Security Council ‘to assist the Congolese authorities in organising, preparing and conducting local elections’ (MONUC, 2010), which were expected in the end of 2008. Further on the Resolution 1856 adopted on 22 December 2008 in which the Council the deployment extended of the MONUC to protect the civilians and mainly concentrating in actions on the east side of the DRC.
The priority of MONUC’s work is mainly to work together for peace and security in cooperation with the Government to protect civilians (MONUC, 2010). This includes based on the MONUC (2010) firstly the protection of civilians, the humanitarian aid workers and also the UN personnel, by protecting them from parties which are engaged within the conflict and also assist to return refugees or intern displaced persons. Secondly, the priority to develop tactics to prevent attacks on civilians and disarming illegal armed groups to make them unable to fulfil violence within the area, this should occur in cooperation with the Forces Armées de la République du Congo (FARDC) (MONUC, 2010). Thirdly establishing the Rule of Law and Human Rights, where the FARDC should be trained and mentored by the MONUC as a support of security sector reform (MONUC, 2010). The military training includes ‘the area of human rights, international humanitarian law, child protection and the prevention of gender-based violence’ (MONUC, 2010). The last main point is the territorial security of the DRC, which observed and reported the movement of armed groups and foreign military forces. This includes the inspection of vehicles on e.g. airports or military bases and the dispose of armed materiel (MONUC, 2010). The Mandate instructs the MONUC to cooperation not just with the government as also with the Congolese authorities to support and strengthen the democratic institutions, promote political dialogue on a national and international level to establish a secure and peaceful environment to improve human conditions for sustainable peace (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.323) and the protection of human rights by mainly concentrating on women, children and vulnerable people and investigating the violence. Regarding to the expected local election in 2009, the Mandate will provide support by the organisation and preparation of these (MONUC, 2010). The Secretary General Report S/2005/603 and S72007/156 explain the development of the Peacekeeping Mission in regards to the progress of the Mission fulfilled from 2005 until 2007, which give the impression of a slow process and problems due to the challenging situation and the limited financial support (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.324). Dijkzeul (2010) demonstrates four major failures of the peacekeeping mission which will be referred to the Mandate of the MONUC. The first reputation disaster was a sex scandal from MONUC soldiers, which forced local women and young girls on the age of 13 years to prostitution (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.324). Human Rights Watch (2005) interviewed young girls in Congo, which agreed to have a sex relationship with the soldiers to receive food, protection and/or money in exchange (HRW, 2005). This Testimony of Anneke Van Woudenberg (HRW, 2005) points also out that these relations between soldiers and Congolese woman and girls ‘are frequently exploitative and are particularly easy to establish in environments of conflict and massive displacement where woman and girls have limited options’ (HRW, 2005). In regarding to the sexual abuse Human Rights Watch investigated that these practices has also been common in other countries for example Sierra Leone and Liberia (HRW, 2005). The UN should response quicker to the abuses by staff members and should have earlier taken the steps to establish a code of conduct to investigate the sexual violence to justice. The Council on Foreign Affairs (2005) argues that such acts betrayal the trust of the UN, but to keep in mind, the troops are contributed from 48 nations and therefore to condemn all of those who are serving in Congo would be misplaced (Council on Foreign Affairs, 2005).
Another major problem the MONUC has to deal with was the loose of trust of the population after the fighting in May and June 2004 between the FARDC and troops of General Nkunda which led to plunder and gender-based violence and the temporarily close of humanitarian organisation. The reaction from the civilians on that event was that the local population threw stones at MONUC vehicles (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.325). Vlassenroot and Raeymaekers (2004) refer the anger of the Congolese population to the mandate of the MONUC, which defines the protection of civilians as a priority and is therefore not able and efficient enough to implement this appropriately (Vlassenroot & Raeymaekers, 2004, p.26). In addition to that the population of DRC is about 56 million and the peacekeeping force had the strength of 5,560, in contrast to that, Sierra Leone has a population of 6 million and had troops of 14,000 soldiers (Vlassenroot & Raeymaekers, 2004, p.26). This example shows clearly under which circumstances the peacekeeping soldiers were working and the impossibility of an extensive protection of the civilians. The international community responded to the attacks of the civilians, which lead to a stronger mandate and increasing of troops in 2003 (Vlassenroot & Raeymaekers, 2004, p.178).
The third problem Djikzeul (2010) demonstrates is the incorporation of the Mai-Mai faction, which was known as Kenya rebels, to the Congolese army. The underlying issue was that the militia never received any special training in for example human rights and peacekeeping operations, due to the low payment they continued with rape and plundering of the local population (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.325). In regarding to Human Rights Watch (2005) the MONUC requires trained personnel with advanced experience in peacekeeping, which America and Europe cannot offer as the Congo is not a priority for them, to succeed the operation in DRC, the Western states must give a real commitment to support the mission (HRW, 2005). The Great Lakes Policy Forum (2010) discussed the challenges of Peacekeeping in Congo as a difficult challenge, as the soldiers do not have a concrete enemy to fight against. The military is trained to fight against a certain enemy, in Congo they are faced to militias and criminals which are spoiling peace agreements; they are not trained to deal with these complex situations (Search for Common Ground, 2010). The troops are also not prepared for policing human rights abuses, which means they are not able to react when they get confronted with the issue (Search for Common Ground, 2010). Human Rights Watch (2009) claims that the training on International Humanitarian Law has been carried out for three months, the problems which arise in that area are that the Commanders sending signals that the training is unimportant, which also has an impact on the soldiers (HRW, 2009). Furthermore training on civilian protection, sexual and other abuses has taking place, with limited success (HRW, 2009). Training on respect of human rights is still a challenging task regarding to the regularly transfer of soldiers, but there has been a start to combat the issue of missing training (HRW, 2009).
Last but not least, Dijkzeul (2010) points out another challenge, the fight between the FARDC and MONUC against the Interahamwe in 2005. MONUC was planning to disarm the Interahamwe and voluntary return them back to Rwanda (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.325). At the same time MONUC negotiated with them about the repatriation without given any notice to the civilians, the peacekeeping soldiers attacked the Interahamwe, which caused several problems (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.325-326). First and foremost the negotiation between the Interahamwe and MONUC about the repatriation was making a slow progress and therefore the attack was not the best strategy to choose. Furthermore local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO`s) reported that the Interahamwe was making a progress as local farmers and also the population was worried about the Interahamwe being forced deeper into the rainforest, causing the problem of one group being happy to get rid of them and another less to receive them (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.326-327).
In addition to these major problems, there are still small problems with a huge effect on the MONUC operation itself. Problems which also blew the reputation of the mission in Congo were the weapon trade with General Nkunda`s rebels by Indian peacekeeping forces, the diamond smuggling of Pakistani forces to proselytize and build mosques within the area and the corruption of peacekeeping soldiers, which are causing more problems instead of a peaceful solution in the DRC (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.328). Dijkzeul (2010) argues that the scandals for example the sex abuse, weapon trade, the smuggling and the operational decision not to participate in the fighting leads to the mistrust of the local population of MONUC, which is more negative than described in the UN reports. In addition to that it is not surprising but worrying that the UN forces are getting involved during an operation in the corruption of the local counterparties (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.339).
In regarding to the failure of the MONUC, the peacekeeping operation ‘strongly depends on support from the greater powers, and more generally national governments, with funding and diplomatic support’ to have a successful result (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.338). The Council on Foreign Affairs (2005) demonstrates following recommendations for the UN and especially for the MONUC operation. The following suggestions are concentrated on the UN, which duties should be to continue the investigations on sexual violence, human rights abuse and violence and pass these conclusions ‘in detail, to the countries whose troops committed these acts’ (CFA, 2005), the disciplined of these troops according to the law of their native country. Another main suggestion on the Security Council should be to develop more specific guidelines for UN peacekeeping including a code of conduct, training and disciplining the troops (CFA, 2005). Referring to MONUC and the problem about the size of troops listened before; the Security Council should revise the size and mandate of MONUC to prove if they are adequate to operate (CAF, 2005). Another major point which would be helpful in more than just one circumstances, is the influence from the neighbouring countries and the cooperation within the peace process of Congo (CAF, 2005). Dijkzeul (2005) agrees that the peace process mainly concentrated on the national level, but the local violence is linked transnational, which received too little attention (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.339). The lack of international attention is a major problem; MONUC is not an international political actor which can account on their neighbouring states, therefore international support would make a success in the operation in Congo (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.338). Dijkzeul (2010) points out the ‘extreme collective action problem, because there is no accountable state, civil society is weak, and international support is insufficient’ (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.338). The Council on Foreign Relations (2005) raises the idea of a cooperation between the United States and the European allies to a code of conduct for private companies which are involved in the Congo because of a private company to prevent making deals with rebel forces. In addition to that they should as well advocate a total transparency of the arrangements by the Congolese government (CFR, 2005).
Dijkzeul (2010) argues in comparison to the Council on Foreign Relations, that MONUC cannot improve the situation in Congo, when the permanent five UN member states do not support the mission more sufficient. The operational problems of MONUC demonstrate that a successful implementation of the UN reform is a long term process which takes time and the attention of the member states (Danchin & Fischer, 2010, p.339-340).
In conclusion the mandate and the MONUC itself, peacekeeping forces are helpful to stabilise the current situation in a conflict state and therefore the conditions for lasting peace (UN Peacekeeping, 2010). The UN therefore has still problems with the Mandate and the training of the peacekeeping force as they are not trained well enough to protect the civilians in a crisis situation. In regarding to the situation in the DRC the UN army is confronted with a difficult history background on colonisation, oppression and dictatorship. The DRC depends on the work of MONUC to stabilise the political situation and protect the civilisation from attacks of rebel groups for example the huge problem of the FDLR. Would the problems be solved with a different Mandate from the Security Council to protect a higher number of civilians? Or not including the promise of the protection of civilians if this is not guaranteed in the first place, through the difficulties of the soldier strength in contrast to the population which actually need to be protected? A main issue of the MONUC in my point of view is that they did not prevent in the first place the génocidaires entering the DRC as this would avoid many problems in Congo in advance. Another main point is the behaviour and the acting for example the sexual violence, child abuse and so on in the country where they are actually supposed to help and not to create more harm to the civilians as there already is. In the end the Mandate from MONUC got extended this year to the MONUCSO, Congo has a lot of problems, which need to solve and to prevent the harm of the local population by reforming the operations and not repeating the same mistakes.
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