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Final report of the Group of Experts on the DRC - press backgrounder

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New York, 9 December 2009 - The Group of Experts on the DRC is an independent group of external consultants appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, in consultations with the Security Council Sanctions Committee on the DRC and mandated to monitor the implementation of the arms embargo imposed on non- governmental armed groups operating in eastern DRC, and, in particular, to investigate the financial and material support given to such armed groups. The Group is a subsidiary body of the Security Council to which it reports in writing, through the Sanctions Committee, which is in turn mandated to designate individuals and entities for targeted sanctions, notably an assets freeze and a travel ban.

The Group of Experts presented its final report to the Sanctions Committee (which is composed of the same members of the Security Council), which includes a set of 28 observations and recommendations on 9 November 2009. The Group subsequently discussed its findings in informal consultations with the Sanctions Committee on 18 and on 20 November 2009. On 30 November the Security Council adopted resolution 1896, by which it extended the sanctions regime and mandate of the Group of Experts until 30 November 2010. Resolution 1896 included a number of recommendations made by the Group in its report.

While the DRC government is not subject to an arms embargo, the Group's mandate also includes monitoring the obligation of all States to abide by the requirement to notify the Sanction Committee in advance of the delivery of military equipment and training to the DRC government.

The Group of Experts' findings are focused on those individuals and entities found to have provided financial and material support to non-state armed groups in the DRC. The Group's report is not an internal inquiry into the operations of MONUC. The Group of Experts has worked closely with MONUC, which is also tasked to monitor the implementation of the arms embargo and to cooperate with the Group in gathering relevant information.

The Group has put forward an unprecedented level of evidence to substantiate its case studies, supplementing multiple and credible interviews, including from eye witnesses, with hard documentary evidence including financial transfer documents, emails and phone records. In total the Group has submitted 126 annexes which are published as part of the publicly available report.

Among the Group's findings are the following items of note:

Senior military officials appointed by the Kinshasa government to the high command of the FARDC's 10th military region of South Kivu have been involved in the leakage of significant amounts of military equipment to the FDLR before and after the commencement of DRC military operations against the FDLR, known as Kimia II. The Group has obtained multiple testimonies, as well as official internal military and police incident reports to make its case. Working in cooperation with MONUC, the Group also located two significant illegal arms caches leaked from military stockpiles and that the Mission was able to recover.

The FDLR have formed operational alliances with other armed groups, notably the FRF, RUD-Urunana and the APCLS in order to resist Kimia II operations. The Group has provided detailed evidence on some of the individuals supporting these networks from within the DRC, the region and internationally.

The Group has detailed significant networks supporting the FDLR which are based neighboring countries in the Great Lakes region. These support networks are involved in recruitment activities, as well as the provision of arms and ammunition to the FDLR. The Group has provided evidence, based on several credible sources of information including interviews with FDLR ex-combatants, email communications and phone records which demonstrate operational links between the FDLR and individuals who occupy posts as senior officials in the Burundian and Tanzanian government.

The Group has focused on identifying the role of individuals and networks and has not drawn any conclusions about governmental policies, even in those cases where the Group has identified the role of senior government officials in those countries.

The Group has provided an unprecedented amount of information on the role of the FDLR and RUD-Urunana diaspora leadership. The Group demonstrates how various diaspora leaders of the FDLR and RUD, based in Europe, Africa and North America, play a role in the operational decision-making of the armed groups and are involved in providing financial assistance to FDLR and RUD officers through money transfers.

The Group has also documented the direct chain of command of the FDLR leadership over the military elements on the ground, as well as the leadership's direct involvement in issuing military instructions which included deliberate attacks on the civilian population, in complete disregard of human rights and international humanitarian law. The Group has also obtained information on the support to the FDLR by individuals working for charitable and religious organization in the DRC and abroad.

The Group has put forward detailed cases on mineral exploitation carried out by the FDLR, in particular of gold and cassiterite. The Group has obtained reliable information, detailing the control of this gold trade via traders in Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania who export the gold through to the United Arab Emirates. The Group also has obtained documents relating to money transfers made on behalf of a cassiterite trading business in South Kivu to Germany, where it was collected by agents working for the FDLR president, Ignace Murwanashyaka.

The Group has also obtained several documentary pieces of evidence demonstrating how cassiterite exploited by the FDLR is being sold by Congolese-based businesses and trafficked by commercial networks including those based in Rwanda, for final purchase by smelters in Asia.

The Group has demonstrated that CNDP units have expanded their influence through the Kivus and have taken control of key mining sites in North and South Kivu. In two cases, the Group found that CNDP officers integrated into the FARDC are directly involved in the trade of minerals and have simultaneously and forcibly resisted MONUC's attempts to demobilize and repatriate Rwandan elements contained within their ranks. The Group has obtained several documents indicating that minerals controlled by these commanders are also being smuggled across into Rwanda and exported by local businesses there with Rwandan certificates of origin to smelters abroad.

The Group has demonstrated that while the CNDP has formally integrated into the FARDC, it has retained most of its heavy weaponry and continues to operate parallel command structures and local taxation networks. The Group demonstrates that while there are divisions between the CNDP faction loyal to General Bosco Ntaganda (who is now the deputy operational commander for Kimia II) and the faction loyal to Gen Nkunda, the CNDP remains a singular force on the ground and continues to represent a threat to stability in the region given its poor level of integration into the FARDC, and the scarce implementation of the 23 March agreement.

The Group has continued to monitor compliance with the notification requirement incumbent upon all States of deliveries of military equipment and training to the FARDC. The Group has highlighted a number of irregular deliveries of military equipment and training from a number of different countries, including, but not limited to, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Sudan, but also irregularities regarding deliveries and training by China and the United States.

The Group has highlighted the importance of the notification requirement in light of the FARDC's continued leaking of military equipment to non-state armed groups, and has recommended that such procedure be strengthened through a formal approval process by the Sanctions Committee

The Group was also mandated by resolution 1857 to investigate human rights abuses, notably the recruitment of children and abuses committed against women and children, by non-state armed groups and the FARDC. While the Group has attempted to document such abuses and establish command responsibility for these abuses, it has not restricted itself to a selective approach on human rights abuses, given that such acts often take place in a context where other human rights violations are also committed.

In its annex 124, the Group has included a (non-exhaustive) table listing a number of operational commanders in the FARDC who have been cited for various abuses on the basis of information verified and documented by the Group, or reflecting credible reports of abuses received by the Group from reliable sources. The Group recommended that, in the context of the renewal of MONUC's mandate, the Security Council request the DRC authorities to adopt legislation establishing a vetting mechanism without delay and to condition support to the security sector reform to vetted units of the FARDC only.

In connection with the Group's recommendations, by resolution 1896, the Security Council expanded the mandate of the Sanctions Committee to hold regular consultations with concerned Member States in order to ensure full implementation of the sanctions measures. With respect to the notification requirement, the Council requested the Sanctions Committee to specify the necessary information that Member States should provide in order to fulfill the notification requirement set out in paragraph 5 of resolution 1807 (2008) and to circulate it among Member States;

With respect to the Group's mandate, the Council tasked the Group to draft due diligence guidelines for the mineral extractive and processing industries, and has requested that the Group focuses its work on armed groups in North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri and Orientale province (where the LRA are largely present) as well as "international and regional support networks" (diaspora).

In addition the Council has further strengthened the Group's mandate by demanding that all parties and all States ensure cooperation with the Group of Experts by individuals and entities within their jurisdiction or under their control and requests in this regard that "all States to identify a focal point to the Committee in order to enhance cooperation and information sharing with the Group of Experts" .

Paragraph 9 of resolution 1896, by which the Council makes an express reference to stockpile security, accountability and management of arms and ammunition as an urgent priority for the DRC authorities, and paragraph 14 which has stronger language with respect to Member States' obligations to ensure that "importers, processing industries and consumers of Congolese mineral products under their jurisdiction exercise due diligence on their suppliers and on the origin of the minerals they purchase".

This is further strengthened by paragraphs 16 and 17 of resolution 1896, by which the Council recommended that importers and processing industries adopt policies and practices, as well as codes of conduct, to prevent indirect support to armed groups in the DRC through the exploitation and trafficking of natural resources (para. 16); and that Member States, particularly those in the Great Lakes region, regularly publish full import and export statistics for gold, cassiterite, coltan and wolframite (para. 17).