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Final report of the group of experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo


Behalal, Zobel; Sollazzo, Roberto; Vogel, Christoph; Zounmenou, David (2017). Final report of the group of experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. New York: United Nations.

Abstract

The most significant event for the Group of Experts during the current mandate was the assassination of two of its members, Michael Sharp, Coordinator and armed groups expert, and Zaida Catalán, humanitarian expert. This unprecedented event constitutes a deliberate attack against the Security Council and impacted the Group’s ability to fully implement its fieldwork agenda for the present report. More broadly, this also speaks to the concerning security situation prevailing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: while the Kasais have witnessed a stark escalation of violence, other areas remain affected by chronic levels of insecurity.
Since its last report, the Group noted fewer cases of election-related violence across the country, notwithstanding several cases of interference by armed groups in voter registration.
Armed groups, such as the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR), the Conseil national pour le renouveau et la démocratie, the Allied Democratic Forces and the Forces républicaines du Burundi continue to represent threats to peace and security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, there is a changing dynamic of conflict and armed mobilization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reflected by the previously reported shift towards a further fragmentation of armed groups operating in a more decentralized while heavily networked manner.
In this context, foreign and local armed groups are increasingly interconnected, which also impacts on the patterns of violence. These linkages can be partially explained by the fact that foreign armed groups have evolved over time and have begun to feature Congolese nationals in their ranks, sometimes even in leadership positions. The Group also documented instances of collaboration between elements of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and armed groups.
Concerning natural resources, the implementation of mineral traceability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has considerably reduced instances of armed groups directly benefiting from the exploitation and trade of tin, tantalum and tungsten. In addition, opportunities for indirect benefits from such minerals are decreasing. The Group found that the ITRI Ltd Tin Supply Chain initiative traceability system — while well intentioned and designed — has shortcomings in its implementation, enabling different actors to intentionally or inadvertently facilitate smuggling. The Group also documented several breaches of the chain of custody for mineral trade in North Kivu Province as well as the ongoing sale of tags on the black market in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The gold sector continues to suffer from the lack of a traceability system. Consequently, artisanally sourced gold from conflict-affected areas can still be exported to international markets through smuggling, involving illicit financial flows. The Group also found that a senior FARDC officer is involved in gold exploitation. In addition, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region certificates are being used in a fraudulent manner to export gold to Dubai, the main recipient of artisanally sourced gold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kampala remains the main transit hub for gold smuggled out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Group found that rules and procedures could be improved to allow airlines and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as transit and recipient countries to more efficiently tackle smuggling by way of hand-carry gold.
The Group observed violations of the arms embargo, both within the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as in the frame of cross-border dynamics. A network of Congolese and Burundian nationals, including elements of the Forces de défense nationale (FDN) of Burundi, was involved in arms trafficking in Uvira, South Kivu Province. The Group documented further violations of the arms embargo involving FDN and FDLR.

Abstract

The most significant event for the Group of Experts during the current mandate was the assassination of two of its members, Michael Sharp, Coordinator and armed groups expert, and Zaida Catalán, humanitarian expert. This unprecedented event constitutes a deliberate attack against the Security Council and impacted the Group’s ability to fully implement its fieldwork agenda for the present report. More broadly, this also speaks to the concerning security situation prevailing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: while the Kasais have witnessed a stark escalation of violence, other areas remain affected by chronic levels of insecurity.
Since its last report, the Group noted fewer cases of election-related violence across the country, notwithstanding several cases of interference by armed groups in voter registration.
Armed groups, such as the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR), the Conseil national pour le renouveau et la démocratie, the Allied Democratic Forces and the Forces républicaines du Burundi continue to represent threats to peace and security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, there is a changing dynamic of conflict and armed mobilization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reflected by the previously reported shift towards a further fragmentation of armed groups operating in a more decentralized while heavily networked manner.
In this context, foreign and local armed groups are increasingly interconnected, which also impacts on the patterns of violence. These linkages can be partially explained by the fact that foreign armed groups have evolved over time and have begun to feature Congolese nationals in their ranks, sometimes even in leadership positions. The Group also documented instances of collaboration between elements of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and armed groups.
Concerning natural resources, the implementation of mineral traceability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has considerably reduced instances of armed groups directly benefiting from the exploitation and trade of tin, tantalum and tungsten. In addition, opportunities for indirect benefits from such minerals are decreasing. The Group found that the ITRI Ltd Tin Supply Chain initiative traceability system — while well intentioned and designed — has shortcomings in its implementation, enabling different actors to intentionally or inadvertently facilitate smuggling. The Group also documented several breaches of the chain of custody for mineral trade in North Kivu Province as well as the ongoing sale of tags on the black market in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The gold sector continues to suffer from the lack of a traceability system. Consequently, artisanally sourced gold from conflict-affected areas can still be exported to international markets through smuggling, involving illicit financial flows. The Group also found that a senior FARDC officer is involved in gold exploitation. In addition, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region certificates are being used in a fraudulent manner to export gold to Dubai, the main recipient of artisanally sourced gold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kampala remains the main transit hub for gold smuggled out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Group found that rules and procedures could be improved to allow airlines and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as transit and recipient countries to more efficiently tackle smuggling by way of hand-carry gold.
The Group observed violations of the arms embargo, both within the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as in the frame of cross-border dynamics. A network of Congolese and Burundian nationals, including elements of the Forces de défense nationale (FDN) of Burundi, was involved in arms trafficking in Uvira, South Kivu Province. The Group documented further violations of the arms embargo involving FDN and FDLR.

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Item Type:Published Research Report
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:17 Jan 2018 20:19
Last Modified:19 Mar 2018 09:51
Publisher:United Nations
Number of Pages:111
Additional Information:Security Council S/2017/672
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2017_672.pdf

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