UN Report Measures taken by MONUSCO

VII. Measures taken by MONUSCO and the international community
38. MONUSCO, in line with its mandate to protect civilians and to support the Congolese army,
provided significant assistance to the FARDC during the period of fighting between 15 and
20 November 2012. This included 18 attack helicopter missions against M23 positions and
direct fighting with M23 combatants in attempt to halt the armed group’s advance towards
Goma. After the FARDC withdrew from its positions in defence of Goma, MONUSCO
forces took the decision not to engage in direct combat with the M23 due to the high
potential for civilian deaths in a densely populated urban environment. MONUSCO forces
did, however, continue to secure Goma airport, and other key points, and MONUSCO also
maintained a strong presence in Goma town, including through around 80 daily patrols and
the establishment of 17 Quick Reaction Forces to protect the population and prevent human
rights violations and looting during the period of the M23 occupation of the town.
Following the withdrawal of the M23 from Goma on 1 December 2012, MONUSCO
supported the deployment of 278 police officers to Goma and Sake, who were transferred by
boat from Bukavu, in South Kivu province.
39. In Goma, from 15 November to 26 November, MONUSCO evacuated 160 people who were
considered to be at high risk due to the presence of the M23. These individuals included the
Governor and Vice Governor, other government authorities, magistrates, police, journalists
and human rights defenders. MONUSCO also provided a safe haven for over 3000 locals.
40. Based on preliminary findings from its human rights investigations, MONUSCO has met
with senior government officials in Kinshasa, including the Head of State, the Vice-Prime
Minister and Minister of Defence, the FARDC General Military Prosecutor and with
military officials in South Kivu and North Kivu to advocate that appropriate measures be
taken, as a matter of priority, to identify the units involved in the human rights violations
documented in this report, and to hold the perpetrators accountable. On 21 December 2012,
OHCHR published a media briefing 13 on the human rights situation in eastern DRC,highlighting human rights violations perpetrated by both FARDC soldiers and M23
combatants. In response, the M23 denied any involvement in human rights violations, and
called on the ICGLR to establish a commission of inquiry into allegations of human rights
violations by its combatants.
41. MONUSCO is providing support to Congolese military justice officials conducting
investigations into allegations raised in this report. From 27 to 30 December 2012, the
Senior Military Prosecutor of South Kivu undertook a mission with the support of
MONUSCO and other partners to Minova and surrounding villages and, on 3 January 2013,
he submitted to MONUSCO a request for assistance with a more in-depth follow-up
investigation. A mission by judicial authorities to further investigate the violations and
identify alleged perpetrators took place in the form of a Joint Investigation Team, with the
assistance of NGO and other UN partners, as mentioned in paragraph 36 above. MONUSCO
continues to provide support to the investigation by Congolese military justice, including
through its Joint Investigation Team and Prosecution Support Cell mechanisms.
42. Considering the human rights violations outlined in this report, MONUSCO has been
systematically reviewing the support it provides to certain units of the FARDC, in particular
support to units of the 8th and 10th Military Regions present in the area of Goma and Minova
between 15 November and 2 December, in line with Security Council Resolution 1906
(2009) which requires MONUSCO to condition support to the FARDC on compliance with
international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law14 and the Human Rights Due
Diligence Policy on UN support to non-UN security forces. On 4 February 2013,
MONUSCO initiated the procedure of suspension of support to the 41 and 391 FARDC
battalions. MONUSCO notes with satisfaction the suspension of the commanders and
deputy commanders of the 41 and 391 battalions. In view of this, the procedure to withdraw
support was suspended.
43. On 31 December 2012, the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions – travel bans
and asset freezes – on the M23 and on individual leaders of the movement. In its
justification, the Security Council considered the M23 to be “complicit in and responsible
for committing serious violations of international law involving the targeting of women and
children in situations of armed conflict in the DRC including killing and maiming, sexual
violence, abduction, and forced displacement”.