Press Releases

                                                                                                    28 July 2004

    Security Council Extends Arms Embargo in Democratic Republic of Congo until 31 July 2005, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1552 (2004)

    NEW YORK, 27 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council, this afternoon, extended the weapons embargo against movements and armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, set to expire on 31 July, for a further year.

    Unanimously adopting resolution 1552 (2004) and acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council also requested the Secretary-General to re-establish, within 30 days and for a period ending on 31 January 2005, the Group of Experts initially established by resolution 1533 (2004) to monitor the embargo.

    The Council did so in light of the failure by the parties to comply with demands set out in operative paragraphs 15, 18 and 19 of resolution 1493 (2003), to wit:  non-interference with freedom of movement of United Nations personnel and providing access to the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) military observers; and no direct or indirect financial or military assistance to movements or armed groups by States.

    The Group of Experts, in its report to the Council of 15 July (document S/2004/551), had found, among other things, that Rwanda supported dissident military leaders in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and violated the embargo directly and indirectly.

    The meeting, which started at 5:59 p.m., adjourned at 6:02 p.m.

    Council Resolution

    The full text of resolution 1552 (2004) reads, as follows:

    “The Security Council,

    “Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements by its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolutions 1493 of 28 July 2003 and 1533 of 12 March 2004,

    “Reiterating its concern regarding the presence of armed groups and militias in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in the provinces of North and South Kivu and in the Ituri district, which perpetuate a climate of insecurity in the whole region,

    “Condemning the continuing illicit flow of weapons within and into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and declaring its determination to closely monitor compliance with the arms embargo imposed by its resolution 1493 of 28 July 2003,

    “Taking note of the report and of the recommendations of the Group of experts referred to in paragraph 10 of resolution 1533, dated 15 July 2004 (S/2004/551), transmitted by the Committee established in accordance with paragraph 8 of the same resolution (hereafter the Committee),

    “Noting that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

    “Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

    “1. Reaffirms the demands of paragraphs 15, 18 and 19 of resolution 1493;

    “2. Decides, in light of the failure by the parties to comply with these demands, to renew, until 31 July 2005, the provisions of paragraphs 20 to 22 of resolution 1493 and all the provisions of resolution 1533;

    “3. Expresses its intention to modify or to remove those provisions if it determines that the demands noted above have been satisfied;

    “4. Decides further that it will review those measures by 1 October 2004, and periodically thereafter;

    “5. Requests to this end the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Committee, to re-establish, within thirty days from the date of adoption of this resolution, and for a period expiring on 31 January 2005, the Group of experts referred to in paragraph 10 of resolution 1533;

    “6. Requests the Group of experts above to report to the Council in writing before 15 December 2004, through the Committee, on the implementation of the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493, with recommendations in this regard, in particular regarding the lists provided for by paragraph 10-g of resolution 1533;

    “7. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”


    When the Security Council met today, it had before it the report of a United Nations expert group investigating the weapons embargo against militias in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (document S/2004/551), which has found that Rwanda supported dissident military leaders in the area and violated the ban directly and indirectly.

    The Group of Experts was established by the Council in its resolution 1533 of March 2004, and was mandated for a period expiring on 28 July 2004 to gather and analyse all relevant information in the [DRC], countries of the region, and, as necessary, in other countries, in cooperation with the Governments of those countries, on flows of arms and related material, as well as networks operating in violation of the 2003 Council-mandated arms embargo. The Secretary-General appointed the panel -- experts in customs, law enforcement, air navigation and arms trafficking -- on 21 April 2004.

    The report says that shortly after the early June confrontation in the DRC town of Bukavu between the national Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and the troops of dissident Colonel Jules Mutebutsi, “the Group travelled in two teams at different times to the Rwandan border area of Cyangugu and directly witnessed and documented Rwanda’s non-compliance with the sanctions regime”.

    The four-member Group also calls on Uganda to “consider investigating localized complicity or involvement of Ugandan authorities and agents in certain border areas and restrict the provision of armed escorts, official transportation and other advantages to Ituri armed group leaders, except in the framework of international peace negotiations”.

    It acknowledges that a major problem facing the arms embargo regime is that the weak border controls of the nine countries neighbouring the DRC “allow for readily available weapons to flow into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they are recycled”.

    Next week, the Security Council will discuss the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), which expires at the end of this month.

    Members of the Rwandan military had forced more than two dozen young men in Rwanda’s Cyangugu camp, run by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to join Colonel Mutebutsi’s troops, but, under pressure from the men’s families and the refugee agency, had returned them to the camp, the Group says.

    The whereabouts of other young men rounded up in and around the Cyangugu market is not known, according to the report. Still other young men testified that Rwandan officials had offered them the equivalent of $100 or mobile phones to join Colonel Mutebutsi's forces in Kamanyola, DRC, the Group’s report says.

    “It may be recalled that from approximately 2 to 9 June, Mutebutsi’s and [General Laurent] Nkunda’s forces systematically looted areas of Bukavu, including $1 million to $3 million from the Central Bank, giving them ample cash for further recruitment, as well as for the payment and supply of troops.”

    The Rwandan Government said when Colonel Mutebutsi fled to Rwanda from Kamanyola, it disarmed his troops. The Group of Experts, however, “was denied permission by the Rwandan regional commander to view Mutebutsi’s weapons”, though “it is highly likely that [his heavy weaponry] is in storage in Rwanda”.

    Young Rwandan men who had been through the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement process in the DRC testified that after they were repatriated they were sent back to the DRC “with the complicity of Rwandan immigration officers”, to join the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (RCD) of dissident General Nkunda.

    In Gihembe camp in Byumba, Rwanda, in the months before the looting of Bukavu, “in the presence of Rwandan officials, Nkunda personally requested that refugees enrol and conveyed to them that the time had come to continue warfare inside the Democratic Republic of the Congo against the Kinshasa Government”, the experts say. Among its many recommendations to the Security Council, the Group 

    calls for tightening border security by creating a joint verification mechanism, which would include representatives of the African Union, MONUC and other parties.

    To improve MONUC’s capacity to monitor and interdict, the Mission needs additional surveillance training, “a more robust deployment” at airports and border flashpoints, as well as “lake patrol and air surveillance capabilities, including appropriate nocturnal, satellite, radar and photographic assets”, the Group says.

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