The EU has informed the Democratic Republic of Congo that it is ready to impose new targeted sanctions in response to the serious human rights violations that have recently occurred in the country, the refusal of President Joseph Kabila to stand down at the end of his term, and the general blockage of the December 2016 political agreement. The Council has invited the High Representative to initiate work on new measures which would target those responsible for the human rights violations or incitements to violence, and those obstructing a consensual and peaceful solution to the crisis in DRC. The Council’s press release is here.
The EU has updated the identifying information for 21 people and 1 entity listed on its sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo, in line with changes made by the UN to its own listings in October last year. See Implementing Regulation 2017/199 implementing Regulation 1183/2005 and Implementing Decision 2017/203 implementing Decision 2010/788/CFSP. The EU’s notices to the persons in question are here and here.
OFAC has added 2 Democratic Republic of the Congo government officials to its SDN list. The details are here.
Evariste Boshab is said to be a key player in leading President Kabila’s strategy to remain in power after his constitutional term ends on 19 December 2016, and to have supported the neutralisation of opposition demonstrations. Kalev Mutondo is said to have ordered officials to ensure that the DRC’s electoral process favours President Kabila, and the surveillance and extrajudicial arrest and detainment of opposition members, many of whom are reported to have been tortured.
In June 2016, the UN Security Council expressed concern over the arrest of political opposition members in the DRC and urged the President to observe the DRC constitution by holding elections before the end of the year.
The EU has added 7 people said to hold high positions of authority in the Congolese security forces to its sanctions against the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The new listings follow acts of violence in September, which caused the death of at least 50 people and were allegedly perpetrated by the security forces. In its press release, the EU called upon the Government of the DRC to cooperate with an independent investigation into the violence, and said that “additional restrictive measures may be considered in the event of further violence or the political process being impeded”.
OFAC has designated 2 people on its Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions, for their alleged role in undermining democracy and repressing political rights and freedoms in the DRC.
Major General Gabriel Amisi Kumba is a Commander in the DRC’s armed forces, whose units are said to have engaged in the violent repression of political demonstrations, including through the use of lethal weapons. General John Numbi is the former National Inspector for DRC’s police force, and is said to have used violent intimidation to secure victories for candidates affiliated with President Kabila’s coalition in March 2016’s gubernatorial elections. Numbi reportedly threatened to kill opposition candidates, attempted to fix ballots, and remains an influential advisor to the President.
The State Department has also designated Anas el-Abboubi, an Italian rapper, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Mr El-Abboubi is said to have fled to Syria to join ISIL, after having been released from police custody for plotting a terror attack in Italy and recruiting individuals for military activity abroad.
In June, the UN updated the designation criteria and derogations in its Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions regime (see Resolution 2293), and the EU has now implemented those changes. The UN also extended its regime until 1 July 2017.
The examples of acts that meet the designation criterion of undermining the peace, stability, or security of the DRC have been expanded. They now include all persons involved in human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law in the DRC, previously only those targeting women and children, and people illicitly exploiting the country’s national resources, previously only those illicitly trading in them. Designated persons are subject to an EU-wide asset freeze and travel ban.
The derogations from the arms embargo on the DRC, which has not applied to the DRC’s government since 2008, now allow for all sales and supply of arms and related material to the DRC, and the provision of related technical or financial assistance, but require that they be approved in advance by the UN’s Sanctions Committee if not specifically authorised under another derogation.
OFAC has added Céléstin Kanyama, police commissioner for the Congolese capital city Kinshasa, to its SDN List for his alleged role in the violence in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kanyama is said to have been responsible for extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances in Kinshasa, creating a climate of fear in which at least 50 young men and boys were killed and over 30 were “disappeared”. More recently, over 40 people are said to have been killed by his security forces during demonstrations against changes to electoral law that many Congolese thought would allow President Kabila to exceed the limit of two terms in office.
The US Treasury’s press release stresses that the sanctions are “not directed at the people of DRC”, but are “intended to alter the behaviour of individuals”. Acting Director of OFAC John Smith adds that “As President Kabila’s constitutionally limited term nears its end in December, the regime has engaged in a pattern of repression”.
The EU has published measures updating its sanctions regimes on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, and Zimbabwe.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The EU has extended the scope of its designation criteria for people and entities under its Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sanctions regime to implement changes made by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2198 (2015). The sanctions regime imposes travel restrictions and an EU-wide asset freeze.
The wording of the list of example acts which constitute engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability, or security of the DRC has been amended, and 3 further examples have been added:
- acting on behalf of or at the direction of a designated individual or entity, or entity under their ownership or control;
- planning, directing, sponsoring, or participating in attacks against MONUSCO peacekeepers or UN personnel;
- providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, a designated individual or entity.
The updates are set out in Council Regulation (EU) 2015/613 amending Council Regulation (EC) 1183/2005 and repealing Council Regulation (EC) 889/2005 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/620 amending Council Decision 2010/788/CFSP.
The EU has also updated its DRC sanctions listings in accordance with UN updates published on 5 February 2015, making corrections and adding further information. Amongst other things, the additions cite International Criminal Court cases concerning the listed people and give greater detail on activities and crimes which they are alleged to have perpetrated. The updates are set out in Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/614 implementing Council Regulation (EC) 1183/2005 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/620 amending Council Decision 2010/788/CFSP.
The EU has removed Pascal N’Guessan from its Côte d’Ivoire sanctions listings and updated the entries for the 6 people still listed under UN sanctions. The changes implement updates made by the UN Security Council and are set out in Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/615 implementing Council Regulation (EC) 560/2005 and Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2015/621 implementing Council Decision 2010/656/CFSP.
In addition, following the General Court’s judgment in Gossio v Council T-406/13, which annulled the listing of Marcel Gossio, his entry has been removed.
The names of 5 people who have died have been deleted from the EU’s Zimbabwe sanctions. The deletions are made by Council Regulation (EU) 2015/612 amending Council Regulation (EC) 314/2004 and Council Decision 2015/277/CFSP amending Council Decision 2011/101/CFSP.