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Thread: Gazing in the Congo (DRC): the dark heart of Africa (2006-2017)

  1. #761
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    The situation is getting bad in Goma after the International Brigade deployed.
    Since mid july, 2 offensives have taken place. During the first one, from 14 to 17 Jully, M23 rebels pulled back from their positions 7 km from Goma up to Kibati, 14 km from Goma. This is still not the 20km far from Goma stated in 24 November 2012 Kampala ICGLR statement that M23 keeps on refering to.

    What is more worrying are the crossborder shelling between DRC and Rwanda. According to US State Department, there are credible reports that M23 fired into Rwanda territory in order to create an international incident.
    Below the US State Department communique:

    Statement on Situation in Eastern Congo
    Press Statement
    Marie Harf
    Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
    Washington, DC
    August 25, 2013

    The United States is alarmed by the escalating fighting between the M23 armed group and the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in eastern Congo. We condemn the actions of the M23, which have resulted in civilian casualties, attacks on the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), and significant population displacements. We are also concerned by reports of shelling across the Rwandan border, including credible UN reports that the M23 has fired into Rwandan territory. We call on the M23 to immediately end the hostilities, lay down their arms, and disband, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

    We commend the actions of MONUSCO to protect civilians in and around Goma. Attacks against UN installations and personnel are unacceptable. We are deeply concerned about evidence of increasing ethnic tensions in Goma and call on all parties to avoid any actions that could exacerbate such tensions.

    We urgently call on the DRC and Rwandan governments to exercise restraint to prevent military escalation of the conflict or any action that puts civilians at risk. We reiterate our call for Rwanda to cease any and all support to the M23 and to respect DRC's territorial integrity, consistent with U.N. Security Council resolutions and its commitments under the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework. We also call on the DRC to take all prudent steps to protect civilians and to take precautions that FARDC shells do not inadvertently land in Rwandan territory. We urge MONUSCO and the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism to promptly and thoroughly investigate charges of cross-border shelling. We urge all parties to facilitate access for humanitarian organizations assisting populations in need.

    The United States fully supports the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework signed by the DRC, Rwandan, and neighboring governments in February 2013 as the basis for a political dialogue to resolve the longstanding conflict in the region. We also believe any political settlement of the conflict must include accountability for human rights atrocities committed by leaders of the M23 and other armed groups, including the FDLR. The United States stands ready to consider further targeted sanctions against the leaders of the M23 and other armed groups and those who support them.
    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/08/213488.htm

  2. #762
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default SANDF entered the dance

    While Rwanda is blocking sanctions against M23 rebel military leaders Kazarama and Mbonezi, the battle is raging on around Goma.

    SA snipers wreak havoc
    A second South African soldier has been injured in heavy fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and South African Special Forces snipers have killed at least six senior rebel officers.
    A South African soldier said yesterday that teams of Special Forces members had been engaging the rebels.
    "The engagements occurred as helicopters attacked M23 supply lines between Goma and Rwanda. Our snipers were specifically targeting rebel command-and-control posts. It appears from information coming from the front that the officers were busy planning attacks on DRC and UN bases," he said.
    The national secretary of the SA National Defence Union, Pikkie Greeff, confirmed the involvement of snipers: "Our sources in Goma have revealed that at the time of attacks [on M23 supply lines] by UN Ukranian Mi24 attack helicopters, snipers from our Special Forces were engaging the rebels. They have killed a number of rebels, with reports of one being shot from a distance of 2.2km."
    He said at least one South African soldier was shot in the leg.
    "[Our information is] that within the next two weeks SA Air Force Rooivalk attack helicopters are to be deployed to join the clashes . they will provide much-needed fire power to be used to drive the rebels from their positions," he said.
    M23 president Bertrand Bisimwa said yesterday: "There was a big offensive this morning . It was the UN that was shooting at us, from their helicopters. It's the Tanzanian and South African troops that are on the frontline. It's them we see first."
    http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/...rs-wreak-havoc

    At the same time, RWanda and DRC keep on shelling each other, "by mistake"...

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    Default Six "senior" rebel officers sniped ...

    sounds like a negative thing for at least some rebel groups. Whether that score is material would, I suppose, depend on how many rebel groups there are - a circumstance best known to those on the ground there and not to me.

    In any event, the result, due to the use of aimed fires, inspired this piece of doggerel:

    Snipers rule;
    Air shooters drool.

    Fifty years ago, the Congo saw a number of South Africans who could shoot straight - as opposed to popping off AKs into the air. Times have changed - or have they ?

    It all seems to boil down to another piece of doggerel - oui, Belloc said it more elegantly, but I like this version:

    The Maxim Gun -
    Wot we haz got,
    And they haz not.

    So, Marc-Andre, thank you for keeping us updated on this continuing mess.

    Your post contained this quote, which initially struck me odd:

    The national secretary of the SA National Defence Union, Pikkie Greeff, confirmed the involvement of snipers: "Our sources in Goma have revealed that at the time of attacks [on M23 supply lines] by UN Ukranian Mi24 attack helicopters, snipers from our Special Forces were engaging the rebels. They have killed a number of rebels, with reports of one being shot from a distance of 2.2km."
    This compelled me to find Pikkie (apparently a goto guy for media asking about SADF) - and lo, twitter link:

    National Secretary of the South African National Defence Union ( SANDU) the largest military trade union in the SANDF. AS ALLOWED BY THE CONCOURT!
    OK, so Pikkie is, in effect, the Super Shop Steward for the SADF; but what the hell is the CONCOURT. I learned that is South Africa's Constitutional Court, which held in its 1999 decision that SADF members had a constitutional right to trade union membership.

    Thus, one learns something new every day.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Primus, the most ubiquitous and popular beer in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is more than just a sought-after brand of brew -- it's a "source of national pride." The Congo-based company and subsidiary of Heineken that produces Primus, Bralima, has been around since the Belgian colonial period, and Primus has reigned supreme since Congo's independence in 1960. "Primus played a central role in the new country, even basing its logo off the national flag," write Jason Miklian and Peer Schouten in their article for Foreign Policy, "Fluid Markets."

    But as Miklian and Schouten detail, beer trade in the DRC can be a complicated business. In a country wracked with violence and warfare, neither Primus's popularity or the Congolese culture of celebrities who drink (and promote) the beer have kept it far from turmoil. Indeed violence escalated once again as recently as late August after U.N. troops and the Congolese Army launched an attack, attempting to drive M23 rebels from Goma, a city of about one million people in eastern Congo on the volatile border with Rwanda.

    Whether it's outsourced distributors paying off armed men at road blockades in order to ensure safe passage for Primus's yellow-and-blue trucks or Bralima having to operate its breweries and business in and around rebel-controlled cities, Primus, like most other things in Congo, exists within a world of conflict.
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...ng_beer_in_drc
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Beer and conflict in the DRC

    Nice catch, Adam. Sadly, the authors have never "been there and done that", or that article would have been slightly different.

    Primus, as a pale lager, was and still is the lowest on the popularity scale. It is also the cheapest and is far from what the Belgians would ever consider a beer to be. Even back in the 80s formaldehyde was used to accelerate the brewing and fermenting process Imagine the headache that produced.

    Every business in then Zaire owned a private military unit to protect their warehouses and transportation and still carry on that tradition be it diamonds or beer !

    This BTW is what most of us drank and is still ranked number 1 in the DRC.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Nice catch, Adam. Sadly, the authors have never "been there and done that", or that article would have been slightly different.

    Primus, as a pale lager, was and still is the lowest on the popularity scale. It is also the cheapest and is far from what the Belgians would ever consider a beer to be. Even back in the 80s formaldehyde was used to accelerate the brewing and fermenting process Imagine the headache that produced.

    Every business in then Zaire owned a private military unit to protect their warehouses and transportation and still carry on that tradition be it diamonds or beer !

    This BTW is what most of us drank and is still ranked number 1 in the DRC.
    Is the Guinness sold in Africa actually a different formula than the Guinness sold in the U.S.? I was told this for years by a Kenyan friend and wanted to see for myself when I was in Burkina Faso, but every time I had it there it was served to me mixed 50/50 with soft drink.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    ganulv asked:
    Is the Guinness sold in Africa actually a different formula than the Guinness sold in the U.S.?
    I don't know about the USA. Only recently there was a press story about the difference between home-brewed Guinness, in Dublin and that brewed elsewhere. The difference was the water, nothing else.

    Ah, the Irish.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    In an attempt to respond to Matt, David managed to point out a significant error in producing anything in Africa.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    The difference was the water, nothing else.
    Our Guinness with the widget in the cans came straight from Ireland. I did hear stories about a Namibian based production but not good reviews.

    In Zaire if one wanted good lager, you would visit the customs terminal every Tuesday when the Sabena 747 flight landed. As the mass amount of cargo was sent to customs for (ahem) inspection one could land a case of Heineken, Guinness or Stella Artois for 20 bucks

    Those were the days !
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default One more off topic from me…

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    In Zaire if one wanted good lager, you would visit the customs terminal every Tuesday when the Sabena 747 flight landed. As the mass amount of cargo was sent to customs for (ahem) inspection one could land a case of Heineken, Guinness or Stella Artois for 20 bucks

    Those were the days !
    One of my linguistics professors told our class once about his Chinese store owner friend in Kano who could always be counted on to have a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black in the back he was willing to sell to foreigners a shot at a time. For the right price, of course!

    My professor had been back to Nigeria the summer before I took the course with him and had looked up his old friend. He asked the store owner how he had always managed to have a bottle of Johnnie Walker on hand all those years, even during the Civil War. His friend laughed and told him there had always been a Johnnie Walker Black bottle on hand, but very rarely a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post

    Snipers rule;
    Air shooters drool.

    Fifty years ago, the Congo saw a number of South Africans who could shoot straight - as opposed to popping off AKs into the air. Times have changed - or have they ?

    Regards

    Mike
    Mike, the weapon used was the NTW-20, 14,5mm

    See article here (in Afrikaans):

    http://www.volksblad.com/nuus/2013-0...n-meer-as-2-km

    And search google images for NTW-20

  11. #771
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    While negotiations in Kampala are stuck, despite the call from ICGLR member states to find a solution within the coming 14 days, Rwanda has more and more difficulties to hide its "go to war" agenda. Some might say this is just another show of force demonstration by Kigali regime who faces more and more difficulties domestically.
    Let's hope it is so:

    Regional powers fear Rwandan invasion of DR Congo

    Southern African nations Saturday, September 14, expressed concern at the growing number of Rwandan troops on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and said it hoped an invasion was not imminent.

    A statement from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional body said it was concerned "at the deployment of Rwandan troops along the common border" and "expressed the hope that Rwanda is not contemplating to invade."

    Issued from a summit in Namibia attended by Congolese President Joseph Kabila, the statement called on the country's neighbors to "contribute to peace, security and stability of the DRC."

    Congolese troops backed by a special United Nations force launched a fresh assault against M23 rebels late last month in DR Congo's north east.
    http://www.rappler.com/world/regions...invasion-fears

    Rwanda is facing elections this month (September) and the regime has to demonstrates that FDLR threat is still present. So several grenades also blew up in Kigali... The worst of us would even go as far as saying that several in RPF are trying to clear huge populous areas in Kigali to build malls are the ones behind those attacks...
    Make up your mind.
    Police: 2 Killed in Grenade Attacks in Rwanda
    Police spokesman Damas Gatare said Saturday that a grenade exploded Friday night at a busy market place in the Kigali suburb of Kicukiro, killing one person and wounded 14.

    Another grenade was detonated on Saturday in the same area, killing one person and wounding eight, he said.
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/...wanda-20257150

  12. #772
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Rwanda held very successful elections as they were quiet. But this does not diminish the fact that despite being peaceful, their might have been massive frauds.
    According to journalist in Rwanda, numerous non distributed electors’ cards were kept in the voting posts. Not really a problem according to the Rwanda national election commission which stated that electors came to collect their elector cards the same day as the vote.
    Once again, figures are what they are in Rwanda. I let you make your opinion:
    Participation: 98.8%
    Votes in favor of RPF: 76.22%
    3 parties have been able to access the national assembly.
    Here 2 links on the Rwanda elections (in French)
    http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/rwanda-r...1731987_24.php
    http://rnanews.com/politics/7622-le-...s-legislatives

    The main result of those elections without any challenge is the liberation of the FARDC soldier arrested by Rwandan policemen in Goma, DRC, the day of the vote. This after he was accused of conducting threatening activities in Rwanda but cleared by the border joint verification mechanism from ICGLR.

    In the mean time, negotiations in Kampala are stuck in the sand and it is not the behind doors facilitation by Uganda that will manage to get an agreement between Kinshasa and M23 before the UN general assembly and the signature of the Addis-Ababa peace agreement framework.

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    Default Force Intervention Brigade - 6 months plus

    The FIB was authorized by Resolution 2098 (2013); Adopted by the Security Council at its 6943rd meeting, on 28 March 2013 - S.C. Res. 2098, U.N. Doc. S/RES/2013 (28 Mar. 2013). Its most pertinent provisions (besides its basis in Chapter VII "Peace Enforcement", whose first major use was the Korean Police Action of 1950) appear to be in paras 9-12 dealing with the FIB, esp. para 12:

    12 ... (a) Protection of civilians

    (i) Ensure, within its area of operations, effective protection of civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, including civilians gathered in displaced and refugee camps, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders, in the context of violence emerging from any of the parties engaged in the conflict, and mitigate the risk to civilians before, during and after any military operation;
    ...
    (b) Neutralizing armed groups through the Intervention Brigade

    In support of the authorities of the DRC, on the basis of information collation and analysis, and taking full account of the need to protect civilians and mitigate risk before, during and after any military operation, carry out targeted offensive operations through the Intervention Brigade referred to in paragraph 9 and paragraph 10 above, either unilaterally or jointly with the FARDC, in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and with the human rights due diligence policy on UN-support to non-UN forces (HRDDP), to prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and to disarm them in order to contribute to the objective of reducing the threat posed by armed groups on state authority and civilian security in eastern DRC and to make space for stabilization activities; ...
    The bolded items delineate some policy issues. First off, how will the UN define "civilians" (which require "effective protection") ? What does "strict compliance" with IHL mean ? What does "neutralize" mean - kill, capture or convert as in the Phoenix Program of Vietnam; or something quite different in the contemplated "targeted offensive operations"?

    Within three months of the resolution, a similar set of questions was asked by Bruce 'Ossie' Oswald, The Security Council and the Intervention Brigade: Some Legal Issues (June 6, 2013):

    The key provisions concerning the Brigade are found in the operative paragraphs 9, 10 and 12(b) of UNSC resolution 2098. The UNSC mandated the Brigade "to carry out targeted offensive operations . . . with the responsibility of neutralizing armed groups."

    The role of the Brigade is also to "prevent the expansion of all armed groups . . . and to disarm them in order to contribute to the objective of reducing the threat posed by armed groups on state authority and civilian security in eastern DRC and to make space for stabilization activities."

    Based on the references to the armed groups made elsewhere in the resolution, it is reasonable to assume that the Brigade is mandated to undertake offensive operations against, for example, the M23, the Democratic Liberation Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, the Lord's Resistance Army, and various Mayi Mayi groups.
    ...
    The UNSC stipulated that the legal framework applicable to the Brigade in carrying out its functions and tasks is international law, including international humanitarian law.
    ...
    Key Legal Issues

    The UNSC's innovation in establishing an offensive military force to "neutralize" non-state armed actors in the DRC raises two broad and important legal questions. The first is whether the Brigade, as a matter of law, should legally be considered a party to the conflict in the Congo. The second question concerns the verb "neutralize" and the powers that the Brigade might imply from it.
    Oswald is a professor at the Melbourne Law School; and was one of the primary draftsmen of the Copenhagen Process on the Handling of Detainees in International Military Operations (The Copenhagen Process was launched on 11 October 2007 and was concluded in Copenhagen on 19 October 2012).

    As to "neutralization", Oswald finds a number of open policy questions:

    A further question regarding the establishment of the Brigade is why the UNSC thought it necessary to stipulate that the Brigade is mandated to 'neutralize' the armed groups. Did the UNSC use that word as a term of art to mean that the Brigade should "render [the armed groups] ineffective or unusable"? If yes, did the UNSC intend to distinguish the Brigade's mandate from other operational terms such as "contain," "defeat," "destroy," "disrupt," or "exploit"? If the term is being used in a specific way, what ramifications does that have for the Brigade's functions and tasks? Might "neutralize" mean that targeting or capture of the rebel forces is limited to making the rebels ineffective? Furthermore, it is not clear why the UNSC felt it had to add "neutralize" to the Brigade's mandate when the Brigade, as a subordinate component of MONUSCO, would have the ability to "take all necessary measures" to complete its mandate. Is the Brigade to interpret "take all necessary measures" more narrowly because of the word "neutralize"?

    If the term "neutralize" is read broadly, it is reasonable to assume that the Brigade is mandated to target armed groups with lethal force. In line with the usual concept of offensive operations, the Brigade would be able to conduct ambushes, deliberate attacks and hold ground against any armed group. It therefore follows that the Brigade's rules of engagement would be amended to take into account the offensive nature of the operations, and that the international humanitarian law principles of necessity, proportionality, humanity and distinction would be considered accordingly - that is, from a different perspective to how those terms would be applied when self-defense is the justification for the use of force. The rules of engagement presumably would also have to deal with whether the basis for targeting is that a rebel is a member of an organized armed group, or whether he or she is taking an active part in hostilities.
    Thus, Oswald and I seem to take a similar broad definition of "neutralize"; however, he would (based on the Copenhagen Process) probably take a more restrictive definition of "combatant", and a more expansive definition of "civilian" than I.

    - to be cont. -

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    Default Force Intervention Brigade - 6 months plus

    The questions raised by Oswald still seem to be open; see Ashley Deeks, How Does the UN Define “Direct Participation in Hostilities”? (October 21, 2013):

    One theme of Ben Emmerson’s interim report on remotely piloted aircraft and targeted killings is that governments must be more transparent with regard to any civilian deaths they cause. It’s easy to find lots of other calls for greater transparency on related issues. For instance, many have urged the United States to be more transparent with regard to who the United States believes it can target as a matter of international law, where geographically it believes it may use lethal force, which forces count as “associated forces” for purposes of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, and so on.
    ...
    In March 2013, the Security Council authorized a “Force Intervention Brigade” (FIB) as a military unit within MONUSCO, the UN stabilization mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The FIB was established to perform (and continues to undertake) offensive actions against rebel groups that were fighting the Congolese army, including the M23 group.
    ...
    (One difference between the FIB and a future offensive force in Somalia is that the FIB falls squarely within a UN-led mission, while AMISOM in Somalia is AU-led, though the UN provides it with logistical support.)
    ...
    ... First, there are targeting questions. In the Congolese context, how does the FIB decide when some set of actors becomes a rebel group covered by the Resolution? (The Resolution authorizes force against “all armed groups” without providing any additional guidance.) How does the UN (or the troop-contributing countries) interpret the concept of “direct participation in hostilities”? Who count as “members” of organized armed groups? Which members perform “continuous combat functions”? By what metric do the UN forces contemplate and calculate permissible levels of civilian deaths when conducting proportionality analyses?

    Second, there are likely to be detention questions. ...
    ...
    What if the person detained poses a security threat to the UN forces but it is not clear that his action is criminal under Congolese law? On the flip side, what if the FIB worried that the DRC would mistreat a particular detainee if it transferred him to Congolese forces? Must it nevertheless surrender custody to the host government? Must the UN forces take into account Congolese law, and how do they educate themselves about that law? How has this all played out in practice? How might it play out in the Somalia context?

    In a useful ASIL Insight, Professor Bruce Oswald wrote:

    As a starting point, it is reasonable to assume that the [FIB] will apply the UN “Interim Standard Operating Procedures: Detention in United Nations Peace Operations” when dealing with detainees. As these Procedures are over two years old, they may be updated to reflect more recent detention principles and guidelines such as found in the “Copenhagen Process: Principles and Guidelines concerning detention in non-international armed conflict and peace operations.” Furthermore, it is also reasonable to assume that, consistent with the UN’s past practice, the Brigade will transfer the armed group members that they have captured to the DRC authorities.
    As far as I know, the Interim SOPs are not publicly available. If they are, I would welcome a link to them. A UN publication reported that the Interim SOPs were to be reviewed after 12 months and finalized, but that seems not to have happened.

    Based on second-hand reporting, the SOPs apparently do not contemplate non-criminal detention by UN forces for more than 72 hours, except in rare circumstances. One can easily imagine cases in which that rule would prove problematic for the self-protection of FIB forces.
    If the UN is consistent with the policies it "recommends" for others (mostly invoked in criticism of the US "war paradigm"), one would predict that the UN would follow its own guidance, as in Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (by Ben Emmerson, 18 Sep 2013), which calls for "strict compliance" with IHL; and adopts the ICRC "direct participation" standard:

    Differences of view about the forms of activity that amount to direct participation in hostilities under international humanitarian law will almost inevitably result in different assessments of civilian casualty levels. The Special Rapporteur adopts herein the interpretative guidance on direct participation in hostilities promulgated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nils Melzer, Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law (Geneva, ICRC, 2009); see paras. 69-72.
    Melzer's "Interpretive Guidance" adopted the most restrictive test for "combatants" (and, conversely, the most expansive test for "civilians"). The 2009 ICRC's "Interpretive Guidance" was and still is controversial; e.g., as per these snips from pp. 65, 67:

    Measures preparatory to the execution of a specific act of direct participation in hostilities, as well as the deployment to and the return from the location of its execution, constitute an integral part of that act.
    ...
    A deployment amounting to direct participation in hostilities begins only once the deploying individual undertakes a physical displacement with a view to carrying out a specific operation. The return from the execution of a specific hostile act ends once the individual in question has physically separated from the operation, for example by laying down, storing or hiding the weapons or other equipment used and resuming activities distinct from that operation.
    The ICRC wholeheartedly endorses the concept of the "transitory guerrilla" (aka "freedom fighter"), which has morphed the Laws of War since the 1977 APs to the GCs.

    The second major point made by Ben Emmerson is this:

    24. The Special Rapporteur does not use the expression “targeted killing” herein because its meaning and significance differ according to the legal regime applicable in specific factual circumstances. In a situation qualifying as an armed conflict, the adoption of a pre-identified list of individual military targets is not unlawful; if based upon reliable intelligence it is a paradigm application of the principle of distinction. Conversely, outside situations of armed conflict, international human rights law prohibits almost any counter-terrorism operation that has the infliction of deadly force as its sole or main purpose (A/HRC/14/24/Add.6, paras. 28 and 32-33). The threshold question therefore is not whether a killing is targeted, but whether it takes place within or outside a situation of armed conflict (see paras. 62-68 below).
    Here, there is added UN guidance in Philip Alston, Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, with Addendum: Study on targeted killings (A/HRC/14/24/Add.6):

    Summary

    In recent years, a few States have adopted policies that permit the use of targeted killings, including in the territories of other States. Such policies are often justified as a necessary and legitimate response to “terrorism” and “asymmetric warfare”, but have had the very problematic effect of blurring and expanding the boundaries of the applicable legal frameworks. This report describes the new targeted killing policies and addresses the main legal issues that have arisen.
    ...
    28. Whether or not a specific targeted killing is legal depends on the context in which it is conducted: whether in armed conflict, outside armed conflict, or in relation to the interstate use of force. The basic legal rules applicable to targeted killings in each of these contexts are laid out briefly below.
    Drawing "a line" between what is and what is not an "armed conflict" (aka "war") has its restrictive proponents and its expansive proponents. The logic tends to be a priori - which some admit, and others do not.

    Finally, these recent NGO reports follow the Alston-Emmerson construct based on Melzer's "direct participation" argument: Amnesty International’s “Will I Be Next?” - US Drone Strikes in Pakistan; investigates nine drone strikes in North Waziristan between January 2012 and August 2013; and Human Rights Watch’s “Between a Drone and Al Qaeda” - The Civilian Cost of US Targeted Killings in Yemen; examines six drone strikes in Yemen, one from 2009 and the remaining five from 2012 and 2013.

    So, what policy will the UN adopt for its FIB ? What ROEs will that force likely follow in the real operational world ?

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 10-24-2013 at 05:18 AM.

  15. #775
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Hello Mike,

    All the questions you raise were raised when it came to set that FIB. But the main question was: how would Russia and China react and would that mean a new approach for Syria... (new is beautiful cause it is what we need but also scary...;-))

    Basically, the FIB already has been engaged against one armed group: the M23.
    They were in support to the FARDC and brought professional planing, operations and modern warfare to the Kivu. The results were not long to come: the FARDC and FIB just kicked M23 over 20 km away from Goma.
    The question of legal ground has not really been an issue as ToE and RoE already existed. What was new with that FIB is the ToE. What has been lacking in DRC since ages is a will from peacekeepers to actually do the job. The FIB component came with the straight intention to use lethal force to impose the UNSC decisions to armed non state actors.

    The Force commander gave a pretty raw but effective definition of civilian when he arrived and set the green zone in and around Goma: all those who carry weapons (AK, RPG...) are not civilians. Civilians do not carry weapons.
    Est de la RDC : Tout civil portant une arme sera assimil un combattant, selon la Monusco
    http://www.digitalcongo.net/article/93352
    (All civilian carrying a weapon will be assimilated to a combatant. In French unfortunately)
    He basically said: if you are not a police or military staff then you are not allowed to carry weapons in the area I control. Which is the basic of the Congolese law and makes the distingo between combatants and civilians quite easy.

    That said, the FIB is a political tool in the first place. Its purpose is to reverse the military dynamic to allow a political dialog to take place. So far, they have been good at fighting but political dialog is stuck in the sand and goes nowhere. So military solution prevail for the moment.
    Talks suspended after M23, DRC disagree
    http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article48515
    Now the questions are: will M23 external supporters take the risk to get at war with the UN? And what will happen if UN are defeated?

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    Default Marc-Andre: "Tout civil portant une arme ...

    sera assimil un combatant" is clear enough for that moment in time; except for one argument that has been thrown at the US re: its actions in Iraq, Astan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia - and probably elsewhere.

    That argument very simply is that carrying firearms in those countries is not at all uncommon among civilians. Therefore, carrying firearms is not sufficient (in and of itself) to make positive ID of combatants. In fact, the US has been consistently criticized by the UN-ICRC, as to its matrices for signature strikes, for too heavily relying on two factors, military age males + carrying firearms, as proving positive ID of combatants.

    Even where carrying firearms is made absolutely illegal (except for soldiers and police), that makes gun-carrying civilians criminals, not combatants. As criminals, those gun-carrying civilians are under the protection of Article 6(1) of the ICCPR, which the UN certainly has to admit is a binding international treaty, stating that “every human being has the inherent right to life. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” In the US, that rule is known to every cop as Tennessee v Garner, which restricts the instances in which even a gun-carrying civilian felon may be shot.

    General Cruz' statement in Digital Congo doesn't evidence what other UN-ICRC rules he is not following by omission, or what rules he is even breaking by commission. I see no evidence in the statement that Cruz has taken Nels Melzer's "direct participation in hostilities" as the rule governing FIB's offensive targeting operations.

    If, pursuant to General Cruz's apparent ROE, gun-carrying civilians are actually being shot as "combatants", at least some of those killings would most likely constitute, under the consistent UN-ICRC proclamations that have filled the past decade, either extrajudicial executions or war crimes.

    No doubt that General Cruz is faced with a difficult situation; that recourse to more "direct action" is often effective; and that pragmatism may justify the COA elected. Last nite, I watched La Bataille d'Alger; effective methods (in the short run, of course).

    My own "feeling" is that, if FIB actually engages in "effective offensive targeting", it will end up actually employing as harsh or harsher ROEs than the US has employed since 9/11; but that the US will remain the UN-ICRC whipping post.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 10-24-2013 at 03:36 PM.

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    Mike,
    The only thing I could add to this is that the vast majority of civilians in the DRC do not actually possess firearms (at least not this past April).

    With some very limited examples such as politicians and military family members, you would be hard pressed to find a common civilian with a firearm (and the ability to employ said).

    Regards, Stan
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    The FIB rules of engagement as stated remind me of what Tom Odom advised the US to use as rules of engagement when we first went to Somalia long ago. If I remember what I read correctly, he advised this-Anybody who is carrying a weapon is to be shot and if anybody picks up that weapon, he is to be shot too.

    TIA.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default Stan:

    Because of Marc-Andre having long ago provided me with the links to the UN reports on gun-control and gun ownership in Central Africa (esp. Rwanda, which has its own set of lengthy and dreary reports), I'm aware of the classism inherent in Central African gun ownership. So, as I said, there is a certain pragmatism in General Cruz' approach; which, from a utilitarian approach justifies the "raw" rule of thumb - gun in hand = combatant.

    I suspect, however, that this rule does not apply across the board; and that we really have three categories of gun toters:

    1. The "good" politicians and their military family members who are not going to be shot because of their status as gun toters.

    2. The "bad" politicians and their military family members who might be shot because of their gun toter status, but more likely would be "neutralized" by capture - we don't want the UN FIB to be killing African elites, do we ?

    3. The common rabble, who aren't supposed to have guns anyway; and will be shot if they are gun toters.

    Now, all of this makes practical sense in context. But, it is a far cry from the rules propounded by Messrs Ban, Emmerson, Alston and Melzer; and endorsed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch - and all of the other critics of the US over the past decade.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Hello every body, Mike, Stan, Carl

    What stan pointed is very true in DRC: average people do not possess firearms and even less know how to use it. In addition, combats are mainly armed guys against against unarmed civilians.

    It is also clear that General Cruz statement is not based on legal grounds but on practical considerations. It was also and first of all a political statement to win the Congolese hearts and minds to the cause of the FIB.

    In addition, the FIB is mainly composed of SANDF and Tanzanian forces which are quite well trained. M23 is composed, allegedly, of former FARDC/CNDP/PARECO and RDF, and RDF are well trained.
    Nothing comparable to Astan or Irak or even Somalia.

    But the point you raise is right on the spot of the arguments used by troops contributing countries to not engage their soldiers in combat, in addition to the usual political argument: we are here for vacation not for war, it is a foreign country issue we cannot afford to have even 1 casualty. Something that changed with the FIB as at least 2 Tanzanian soldiers died during combats with M23.

    What is also a concern for the FIB is the basic M23 combatants who are for most of them forced combatants recruited on a false promise of a job in DRC or kidnapped children. During the last combats, FARDC and FIB fired more than 1000 round of artillery on M23 positions and approximately 300 M23 combatants were killed (Some say up to 450).
    M23 officers are trained, they prepare defenses, foxholes, protected artillery positions... But average combatants have at best 2 weeks of training and barely know how to load their gun.

    Against the other armed groups (which are more than 200 on DRC soil according to my last mapping 3 years ago and they keep on proliferating) the situation might be different. So on a legal ground, M23 is a soft target as they wear uniform, have an identified chain of command and carry weapons. With other groups it will be more blurred as their is no real chain of command, no uniform and not necessarily more than 3 AK for 10 "combatants".

    General Cruz combat experience is mainly Haiti and the Cite Soleil gangs. So for the moment he does what he knows: anti gang. When it will come to disarm by force local ethnic militias it will be another story but Congolese legal system is exotic enough to allow almost anything.

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