|UN Security Council adopting Resolution 2098 on March 28. UN Photo: JC McIlwaine.|
By Maryne Rondot
The UN recently passed historic resolution 2098, authorizing MONUSCO peacekeeping to go on the offensive and to assist the ICC in the arrest of the suspects.
On Thursday, March 28, the UN Security Council has approved the creation of a special force within MONUSCO, the existing peacekeeping force in Congo. This intervention brigade will carry out "targeted offensive operations" against armed groups operating in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is an extraordinary step forward in the history of UN peacekeeping operations. They were initially created to protect civilians and ensure peace with no enforcement power.
This resolution not only establishes an intervention brigade that can fight on the offensive, but also authorizes it to "support and work with the Government of the DRC to arrest and bring to justice those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country, including through cooperation with States of the region and the ICC."
The ICC and the UN have an agreement on their relationships. In it, the UN accepted a general “obligation of cooperation and coordination” with the Court. Since the ICC is dealing with ongoing conflicts, the peacekeeping forces have become crucial partners with the Court in the enforcement of its warrants and orders. Peacekeeping units were previously authorized to help the Court with arrests, but not with force or any enforcement power. The new resolution not only authorizes the new intervention brigade to provide information or to help collect evidence as was the case in the past. It also authorizes it to actually assist in the arrest of the suspects. This is crucial for the work of the Court.
The US supported the resolution with lobbying and its vote. This is another sign of the positive development of the US position towards the ICC. The Obama administration has shown growing cooperation with the Court on cases that serve US interests. Accordingly, the US has recently cooperated with Rwanda and the Netherlands in the transfer to the ICC of the Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda who is under an ICC arrest warrant for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He had surrendered himself to the US Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda on March 22, 2013.