Operation CROCODILE

Operation CROCODILE is Canada’s military contribution to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, better known as the Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo, or the acronym MONUSCO.

Task Force Democratic Republic of the Congo

Task Force Democratic Republic of the Congo (Task Force DRC) is the Canadian contingent in MONUSCO. Task Force DRC currently comprises nine Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel with expertise in fields such as operations, liaison, and training. They are employed at MONUSCO Headquarters in Kinshasa and the forward headquarters in Goma. 

Mission context

United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

MONUSCO is a follow-on mission that evolved from the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, better known as the Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo or MONUC. MONUSCO was created by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1925 of May 28, 2010 in recognition of the fact that the situation in the DRC had matured into a stabilization phase.

MONUSCO’s mandate is to protect civilians from threats of physical violence, while working with the local government and international actors to strengthen the Congolese government’s capacity to deliver justice and security for its people.

Furthermore, MONUSCO has a mandate to monitor implementation of the arms embargo imposed in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1896 of November 30, 2009, and to seize or collect materials that violate the ban. The mission also provides technical and logistical support to national and local elections within the limits of its capacities and resources, but only when asked to do so by DRC authorities.

As of May 2017, MONUSCO had uniformed personnel from 54 nations. As of that date, mission strength stood at:

  • 16,436 soldiers in formed units
  • 481 UN military observers
  • 2,329 police officers
  • 791 UN civilian employees
  • 2,525 locally engaged staff
  • 389 UN volunteers.

Future reconfigurations of MONUSCO will be determined as the situation evolves on the ground, including:

  • the completion of military operations in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Orientale;
  • improved government capacity to protect the population effectively; and
  • the consolidation of state authority throughout the territory.

Renewed annually, the MONUSCO mandate was most recently extended to March 31, 2017 by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2277 of March 30, 2016, which also:

  • Reaffirms that the mission’s highest priority is always the protection of civilians;
  • Reiterates that the Government of the DRC has primary responsibility for security, national reconciliation, peace-building and development; and
  • Emphasizes that MONUSCO’s activities should facilitate post-conflict peacebuilding, prevention of relapse into armed conflict, and progress towards sustainable peace and development.

The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the formation of MONUC

MONUC, the mission that preceded MONUSCO, was established on November 30, 1999 by the U.N. Security Council to maintain liaison among the parties to the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, which was signed in July 1999 by representatives of the DRC and its neighbours Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement was the first concerted attempt to bring an end to the Second Congo War, which began in 1997 with a successful coup against President Mobutu Sese Seko and the conversion of the former state of Zaïre into the DRC under President Laurent Kabila.

The fighting continued after the coup, developing quickly into the widest interstate war in modern African history, centred mainly in the DRC’s eastern provinces. Over more than 10 years of conflict occasionally halted by ceasefires, the war has involved nine African nations and directly affected the lives of some 50 million Congolese. According to the International Rescue Committee, about 3.8 million people lost their lives and 3.4 million were displaced in the DRC between August 1998 and April 2004, when the fighting was at its height. Millions more have become refugees displaced either within the DRC or into neighbouring countries.

Growth and development of MONUC

On February 24, 2000, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1291 to expand the mission to 5,537 military personnel, including up to 500 United Nations Military Observers (UNMOs), and 500 civilian support staff. The mandate was also expanded, to include:

  • monitoring compliance with the Ceasefire Agreement,
  • investigating ceasefire violations and compliance with the clauses on supply of weapons, ammunition and war-related materiel to the armed groups involved in the conflict,
  • facilitating and verifying the disengagement and demobilization of the belligerent forces, and the return of prisoners of war,
  • facilitating humanitarian assistance and human rights monitoring, and
  • deploying and facilitating the work of mine-removal teams.

Resolution 1493 of July 28, 2003 imposed sanctions against the DRC in response to continuing hostilities in the eastern provinces that threatened the peace process. The sanctions regime was subsequently modified and strengthened over four resolutions adopted in 2004 and 2005.

MONUC grew steadily and, with Resolution 1856 of December 22, 2008, reached its peak of 22,016 total uniformed personnel, including 19,815 in formed military units, 760 UNMOs, 1,050 in formed police units, and 391 individual police officers. The task of helping Congolese authorities mount and conduct local elections was added to the mandate in 2006.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1906 of December 23, 2009 extended MONUC’s mandate for the fourth time, to May 31, 2010. It also requested a strategic review of mission progress and the situation in DRC, with a deadline for recommendations of April 1, 2010. These recommendations led to the conversion of MONUC to MONUSCO under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1925 of May 28, 2010.

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