Statement by His Excellency Volodymyr Yelchenko Chair, Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic
Security Council briefing on CAR sanctions
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 (a.m.)
I have the honour to brief the members of the Council in my capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 concerning the Central African Republic. In my statement, I intend to reflect on my role as Chair since I last briefed the Council on 8 July 2016, and in so doing highlight the work of the Committee and the Panel of Experts.
There have been a number of positive developments in the CAR, including progress in disarmament and demobilization and security sector reform, the improvement in the security situation in Bangui, and the successful Brussels conference in November. However, despite these developments, renewed violence in the central and northern parts of the country, as documented by the Panel of Experts, has reached a scale and intensity that has not been witnessed since early 2014, with the civilian population bearing the brunt of the upsurge in fighting.
On 5 August 2016, the Committee heard a presentation from the Coordinator of the Panel of Experts in connection with the Panel’s midterm report. The Coordinator observed that ex-Séléka armed groups remained in control of key parts of central and eastern CAR, and that the rivalry between the armed group FPRC of sanctioned individual Nourredine Adam on one side, and by the UPC of Ali Darassa on the other, have negatively affected the humanitarian situation in the country. According to the Panel, arms-smuggling had continued in eastern CAR through two routes: Am Dafok, north of Birao bordering Sudan; and Bema, southeast of Bangassou bordering the DRC.
On 5 August, Committee members also heard a briefing from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Madame Bangura, who observed that throughout the conflict, sexual violence had been systematically used by the armed groups in a climate of total impunity. She underlined the importance of the timely establishment of the Special Criminal Court as an accountability measure in the fight against impunity. The Special Representative also encouraged delegations to consider adding names of individuals responsible for acts of sexual violence to the Committee’s sanctions list.
On 23 August 2016, the Committee added two individuals to its sanctions list, Ali Kony and Salim Kony, whose father is sanctioned LRA leader Joseph Kony. In this connection, I wish to thank the Panel of Experts for having submitted to the Committee four statements of case in 2016 for possible sanctions designation. Since its establishment, the Panel has submitted a total of 29 statements of case. The Committee also has before it the proposed designations of two individuals which are currently on hold; I hope that we can move forward on these proposals in due course.
On 9 September, the Committee held its 6th formal meeting, convened with the representatives of the Central African Republic and the regional States Chad, Ethiopia, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda, in connection with the Panel’s midterm report. The Coordinator underlined that violent incidents of June 2016 in Bangui and northeastern CAR were a reminder that the security situation remained fragile. In the north, the violence was motivated by the desire of various Séléka groups to control not only transhumance routes and mining zones, but also oil concessions and related employment opportunities in private security. The Panel reported that sanctioned individual Nourredine Adam’s efforts to reunify ex-Séléka factions had been unsuccessful, and that Adam’s FPRC fighters were engaged against the UPC of Ali Darassa. On the arms embargo, the Panel had encouraged regional States to cooperate with CAR authorities in the submission of exemption requests to repatriate military equipment in their possession belonging to the CAR armed forces, the FACA. The Coordinator also highlighted the issue of reported travel ban violations by sanctioned individuals Nourredine Adam and François Bozizé and reminded regional States to use relevant exemption procedures to ensure compliance with the sanctions regime.
On 2 December 2016, the Coordinator presented an overview of the findings and recommendations contained in the Panel’s final report, noting that while progress had been made on DDRR and SSR, renewed violence in the central and northern parts of CAR harkened back to the atrocities of early 2014. Anti-balaka groups had first moved to Kaga Bandoro and Bambari to confront ex-Séléka, but lately some had started cooperating with ex-Séléka in fighting against the UPC. Inter-Séléka rivalries had further intensified in Bria and its surroundings. In connection with calls by several CAR Government officials to lift the arms embargo, the Panel expressed the view that the restoration of a single chain of command of FACA and effective control over national stockpiles were a precondition to allow rearming of the FACA. Furthermore, the Panel reported that weapons continued to pour into the country via arms-trafficking supply routes from the neighbouring States to the west, south and northeast.
On 25 January 2017, the Committee held its 7th formal meeting, convened with the representatives of the CAR and the regional States Cameroon, Chad, the DRC, the Republic of the Congo, fellow Committee member Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda in connection with the Panel’s final report. The Coordinator highlighted a number of recent alleged travel ban violations by sanctioned individuals Nourredine Adam and François Bozizé, namely Bozizé’s travel through Kenya on 18 November 2016 and Adam’s travel from CAR to Sido, southern Chad on 30 October 2016 and from Moundou in southern Chad to Luanda, Angola on 14 December 2016. The delegation of South Africa also provided additional information in connection with its post-facto travel ban exemption request regarding the October 2015 travel of Bozizé. Several of the participating regional States underlined the lack of capacity to control their vast and porous borders, and encouraged the international community to provide assistance in order to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition. For my part, I conveyed appreciation to the delegations of the Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda for having hosted visits by the Panel in October 2016, and reiterated my call to all regional States to continue further strengthening cooperation with the Panel, in particular, as regards the Panel’s visits to Chad and the Republic of the Congo in the first half of 2017. I also encouraged the regional States to consider returning lethal and non-lethal equipment to the CAR armed forces (FACA) and conveyed my readiness to assist States in preparing the relevant exemption requests to the Committee. The Committee looks forward to further information from the delegation of Cameroon in this regard.
During the reporting period, the Committee continued to provide guidance to the CAR authorities and regional States concerning the implementation of the arms embargo, and in particular by providing detailed information on the relevant exemptions procedures and the information requested in the Committee’s Guidelines. Let me also note that the Committee has been actively working with the Panel of Experts and other stakeholders, and is committed to continuing the dialogue and discussions with the CAR Government in the future. I am convinced that the current security situation in the center and north of the CAR, as well as the abundance of arms in the country, obliges the Committee and the Security Council to continue closely monitoring the situation on the ground. In this respect, I wish to reiterate that the embargo has to be implemented in order to protect the civilian population from continuing to bear the brunt of this conflict. In order to do that, we need to have a better cooperation among regional States to effectively counter illegal arms-trafficking and recruitment of foreign fighters by armed groups.
Concerning the travel ban, the Committee has continued to actively engage with concerned regional States, namely Chad, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa, via letters and during formal meetings of the Committee, including myself bilaterally, in my capacity as Chair, advising of the crucial importance of ensuring that all mediation initiatives shall be conducted in conformity with sanctions measures, namely by using appropriate travel ban exemption procedures in pursuance of resolution 2339 and the Committee Guidelines. Also, as no feedback was forthcoming, my representative and the representative of the Security Council Presidency for the month of September engaged bilaterally with the delegation of Kenya to seek pertinent information with regard to alleged travel ban violations by sanctioned individual François Bozizé to Nairobi. Similarly, the Panel has been actively engaging with the concerned States in providing information on reported violations of the travel ban and advising on relevant exemption procedures. I would like to assure colleagues that the Committee will continue to work on this matter to ensure the effective implementation of the travel ban, and in this regard, I would like to echo paragraph 8 of Security Council resolution 2339, urging the CAR authorities to ensure that fraudulent, counterfeit, stolen and lost passports, as well as invalidated diplomatic passports, are removed from circulation.
Concerning the asset freeze, the Panel reiterated in its final report that the sanctioned individual Alfred Yékatom has continued to receive his salary as a member of the Parliament in violation of the asset freeze. The Panel also emphasized that after having been listed, Eugène Ngaïkosset has continued to receive his salary as an army officer, which constitutes another violation of the asset freeze. Colleagues, during my visit to the CAR in May 2016, I outlined the relevant exemptions procedures to the asset freeze and underscored the importance of the CAR authorities’ working with the Committee, the Panel and the Secretariat in this regard. In connection with paragraph 48 of the Panel’s final report, it is very important that the CAR Ministry of Finance and Budget issue a directive to banks operating in the CAR to freeze assets of sanctioned individuals.
In conclusion, I firmly believe that the sanctions measures continue to be of relevance to the dynamics on the ground in the CAR. As Chair, I will do my utmost to ensure that the Committee continues to be fully engaged in providing guidance with regard to the implementation of sanctions measures, including by considering new sanctions designations. In the Committee’s meetings with regional States, I have encouraged these States to revert to their capitals and seek confirmation that the Committee’s sanctions list has been made available at airports, ports and border crossings, to State and commercial banks or other financial institutions, and to national and commercial airlines. I will also strive to ensure that the Panel of Experts receives the information which has been requested from Member States, particularly the regional States and the relevant CAR authorities. I am convinced that cooperation between the regional States and the Panel is of crucial importance, particularly following the adoption of resolution 2339, by which the Council extended the arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze until 31 January 2018 and the Panel’s mandate until 28 February 2018.