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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments


Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs


In October 2008, the forces of the National Congress for the Defense of the Congolese People (CNDP), under the command of General Laurent Nkunda, launched a major offensive against the Democratic Republic of Congo Armed Forces (FARDC) in eastern Congo. Within days, the CNDP captured a number of small towns and Congolese forces retreated in large numbers.

Eastern Congo has been in a state of chaos for over a decade. The first rebellion to oust the late President Mobutu Sese Seko began in the city of Goma in the mid-1990s. The second rebellion in the late 1990s began also in eastern Congo. The root causes of the current crisis are the presence of over a dozen militia and extremist groups, both foreign and Congolese, in eastern Congo, and the failure to fully implement peace agreements signed by the parties. Over the past 14 years, the former Rwandese armed forces and the Interhamwe militia have been given a safe haven in eastern Congo and have carried out many attacks inside Rwanda and against Congolese civilians. A Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), is also in Congo, despite an agreement reached between the LRA and the Government of Uganda.

In November 2008, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as his envoy to help broker a peace agreement to end the crisis in eastern Congo. Since his appointment, Obasanjo has met with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, General Nkunda, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and other officials in the region. The parties have agreed to participate in a U.N.-led peace initiative. The crisis in eastern Congo has displaced an estimated 2.1 million Congolese, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Other regions of Congo have also been affected by sporadic violence.

In late 2008, the governments of Rwanda and Congo agreed on a wide range of issues. The two governments agreed to launch a joint military offensive against the National Congress for the Defense of the Congolese People (CNDP) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). They also agreed to restore full diplomatic relations and to activate economic cooperation. In January 2009, Rwanda and Congo launched the joint military operation in eastern Congo. In late February Rwandese forces pulled out of Congo as part of an agreement reached with Congo.

The United States has been actively engaged in facilitating the Tripartite Plus talks among the four key players in the Great Lakes region: Rwanda, DRC, Burundi, and Uganda. The Tripartite Plus process has led to a number of agreements over the past several years, including the creation of a Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM) to address cross-border issues. The United States provided $205.1 million in FY2008 and $111.6 million in FY2009. The DRC received a total of $296.5 million in FY2009 and an estimated $183 million in FY2010. The Obama Administration has requested $213.2 million for FY2011. 
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Date of Report: July 23, 2010
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: R40108
Price: $29.95


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International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues


Alexis Arieff
Analyst in African Affairs

Rhoda Margesson
Specialist in International Humanitarian Policy

Marjorie Ann Browne
Specialist in International Relations

Matthew C. Weed
Analyst in Foreign Policy Legislation


The Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), also known as the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002, and established a permanent, independent Court to investigate and bring to justice individuals who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. As of March 2010, 111 countries were parties to the Statute. The United States is not a party. The ICC has, to-date, initiated investigations exclusively in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Prosecutor has opened cases against 16 individuals for alleged crimes in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and the Darfur region of Sudan. In addition, the Prosecutor has opened an investigation in Kenya and a preliminary examination in Guinea.

One of the individuals sought by the ICC is Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The Court issued an arrest warrant for Bashir in March 2009. The prosecution, the first attempt by the ICC to pursue a sitting head of state, has drawn praise from human rights advocates, while raising concerns that ICC actions could endanger peace processes and access by humanitarian organizations. Unlike the other African countries under ICC investigation, Sudan is not a party to the ICC; instead, the ICC was granted jurisdiction over Darfur through a United Nations Security Council resolution in March 2005. Obama Administration officials have expressed support for the prosecution of perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur and have suggested that Bashir should face the accusations against him.

Four suspects are currently in ICC custody. Three are alleged leaders of militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the fourth is a former Congolese rebel leader, vice president, and senator who is accused of war crimes in neighboring Central African Republic. In addition, two alleged Darfur rebel leaders have voluntarily answered summonses to appear before the Court. A third alleged Darfur rebel leader voluntarily appeared in May 2009; the case against him was dismissed. All other suspects are at large, and the Court has yet to secure a conviction.

Congressional interest in the work of the ICC in Africa has arisen in connection with concern over gross human rights violations on the African continent and beyond, as well as concerns over ICC jurisdiction and executive branch policy toward the Court. At the ICC's recent review conference in Kampala, Uganda, Obama Administration officials reiterated the United States' intention to provide diplomatic and informational support to individual ICC prosecutions on a case-by-case basis. Legislation before the 111th Congress references the ICC warrant against Bashir and, more broadly, U.S. government support for ICC prosecutions.

This report provides background on the ICC and its investigations in Africa, with an overview of cases currently before the Court. The report also examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa, including the potential deterrence of future abuses and the potential impact on African peace processes. Further background can be found in CRS Report RL31437, International Criminal Court: Overview and Selected Legal Issues, by Jennifer K. Elsea, and CRS Report R41116, The International Criminal Court (ICC): Jurisdiction, Extradition, and U.S. Policy, by Emily C. Barbour and Matthew C. Weed. 
.


Date of Report: July 14, 2010
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: RL34665
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tanzania: Background and Current Conditions

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

Tanzania, an important U.S. ally in Africa, is a stable and important regional actor. There has been a gradual increase in political pluralism, but Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM ), the ruling party, remains dominant in government and parliament. Tanzania's current president, Jakaya Kikwete, who previously served for 10 years as Tanzania's foreign minister, won 80.3% of the votes cast in the December 2005 presidential election. The next general elections are scheduled for October 2010. Tanzania continues its pattern of steady real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and has a low and stable inflation rate. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 6.4% in 2010 and 7.1% in 2011.


Date of Report: June 23, 2010
Number of Pages: 8
Order Number: RS20781
Price: $19.95

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues


Alexis Arieff
Analyst in African Affairs

Rhoda Margesson
Specialist in International Humanitarian Policy

Marjorie Ann Browne
Specialist in International Relations

Matthew C. Weed
Analyst in Foreign Policy Legislation

The Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), also known as the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002, and established a permanent, independent Court to investigate and bring to justice individuals who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. As of March 2010, 111 countries were parties to the Statute. The United States is not a party. The ICC has, to-date, initiated investigations exclusively in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Prosecutor has opened cases against 16 individuals for alleged crimes in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and the Darfur region of Sudan. In addition, the Prosecutor has opened an investigation in Kenya and a preliminary examination in Guinea.

One of the individuals sought by the ICC is Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The Court issued an arrest warrant for Bashir in March 2009. The prosecution, the first attempt by the ICC to pursue a sitting head of state, has drawn praise from human rights advocates, while raising concerns that ICC actions could endanger peace processes and access by humanitarian organizations. Unlike the other African countries under ICC investigation, Sudan is not a party to the ICC; instead, the ICC was granted jurisdiction over Darfur through a United Nations Security Council resolution in March 2005. Obama Administration officials have expressed support for the prosecution of perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur and have suggested that Bashir should face the accusations against him.

Four suspects are currently in ICC custody. Three are alleged leaders of militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the fourth is a former Congolese rebel leader, vice president, and senator who is accused of war crimes in neighboring Central African Republic. In addition, two alleged Darfur rebel leaders have voluntarily answered summonses to appear before the Court. A third alleged Darfur rebel leader voluntarily appeared in May 2009; the case against him was dismissed. All other suspects are at large, and the Court has yet to secure a conviction.

Congressional interest in the work of the ICC in Africa has arisen in connection with concern over gross human rights violations on the African continent and beyond, as well as concerns over ICC jurisdiction and executive branch policy toward the Court. At the ICC's recent review conference in Kampala, Uganda, Obama Administration officials reiterated the United States' intention to provide diplomatic and informational support to individual ICC prosecutions on a case-by-case basis. Legislation before the 111th Congress references the ICC warrant against Bashir and, more broadly, U.S. government support for ICC prosecutions.

This report provides background on the ICC and its investigations in Africa, with an overview of cases currently before the Court. The report also examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa, including the potential deterrence of future abuses and the potential impact on African peace processes. Further background can be found in CRS Report RL31437, International Criminal Court: Overview and Selected Legal Issues, by Jennifer K. Elsea, and CRS Report R41116, The International Criminal Court (ICC): Jurisdiction, Extradition, and U.S. Policy, by Emily C. Barbour and Matthew C. Weed.



Date of Report: July 7, 2010
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: RL34665
Price: $29.95

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Zimbabwe: The Transitional Government and Implications for U.S. Policy


Lauren Ploch
Analyst in African Affairs


Over a year after the establishment of a transitional government in Zimbabwe, economic and humanitarian conditions are gradually improving, but concerns about the country's political future remain. In February 2009, after almost a year of uncertainty following March 2008 elections, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn as Prime Minister of a new coalition government. His swearing-in came five months after a power-sharing agreement was signed in an effort to resolve the political standoff resulting from the flawed elections. For the first time since independence, the ruling party had lost its parliamentary majority. The results of the presidential race, announced over a month late amid rising tensions, indicated that Tsvangirai had received more votes than the incumbent, President Robert Mugabe, but had failed to gain the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. Days before the runoff, in late June 2008, Tsvangirai pulled out of the race, citing widespread political violence and the absence of conditions for a free and fair election. Mugabe was declared the winner, but many observer missions suggest that the poll did not reflect the will of the people. In September, after weeks of negotiations, Tsvangirai and Mugabe reached an agreement to form a unity government, with Mugabe remaining head of state, Tsvangirai becoming Prime Minister, and cabinet and gubernatorial positions divided among the parties. Disputes over key ministries delayed the agreement's implementation for months.

The parties to the agreement face significant challenges in working together to promote political reconciliation and address serious economic and humanitarian needs. Politically motivated violence and repression followed the 2008 elections, which were held amidst a deepening economic crisis. Zimbabwe's gross domestic product (GDP) had decreased over 50% in the last decade, and the inflation rate rose to over 200 million percent in 2008. Following the establishment of the transitional government, the economy has begun a slow recovery and inflation has subsided, but the official unemployment rate remains over 90%. The adult HIV prevalence rate of 15% has contributed to a sharp drop in life expectancy, and, although humanitarian conditions have begun to improve, approximately two million required food aid in early 2010. Over 4,300 died between August 2008 and July 2009 from a widespread cholera outbreak that infected almost 100,000 and was attributed to poor water and sanitation conditions. Deteriorating conditions in the country led many Zimbabweans to immigrate to neighboring countries in recent years, creating a substantial burden on the region. International donors welcomed the power sharing agreement and have begun to reengage with the Zimbabwean government, but a resumption of significant assistance is expected to be predicated on more substantial political reforms. Many remain skeptical that true power sharing exists within the coalition government. Several officials from the previous administration, which had a poor human rights record and was seen as autocratic and repressive by its critics, remain in the new government. Reports of harassment of opposition and civil society activists continue, and many question the former ruling party's commitment to reform. Foreign investors also remain wary.

The U.S. government has been critical of Mugabe and members of his former regime for their lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law, and has enforced targeted sanctions against top government officials and associates since 2002. Congress articulated its opposition to the Mugabe government's undemocratic policies in the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZDERA; P.L. 107-99) and subsequent legislation. The Obama Administration has expressed cautious support for the transitional government, but debate continues within the government on how to proceed, and recent legislation, S. 3297, has proposed policy changes. Some suggest that U.S. sanctions be modified to reflect Zimbabwe's new political construct, while others remain unconvinced that sufficient democratic reforms have occurred.



Date of Report: July 7, 2010
Number of Pages: 42
Order Number: RL34509
Price: $29.95

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Zimbabwe: Background


Lauren Ploch
Analyst in African Affairs


Zimbabwe's prospects appeared promising in 1980, as it gained independence after a long liberation war. Rising inflation and unemployment bred discontent in the 1990s and led in 1999 to the formation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The new party surprised many with its initial success, campaigning against a 2000 referendum that would have legalized the president's continued rule, made government officials immune from prosecution, and allowed the uncompensated seizure of white-owned land for redistribution to black farmers. The referendum failed, and the MDC won nearly half the seats in the 2000 parliamentary election. Members of President Robert Mugabe's ruling party subsequently took numerous, often undemocratic actions to bolster their power.

President Mugabe's government was seen in the past decade as autocratic and repressive by its critics, and its human rights record has been poor. The government suppressed freedom of speech and assembly, and many contend that the ruling party restricted access to food, already scarce, in opposition areas. The MDC, divided over how to respond, split into two factions in 2005, hampering its ability to challenge the ruling party. Reports of political violence rose sharply after Zimbabwe's March 2008 elections, when, for the first time since independence, Mugabe's party lost its majority in the National Assembly. Mugabe's re-election as president in the June runoff was viewed as illegitimate by the United States and the United Nations Secretary-General, among others. In September 2008, after several weeks of negotiations, Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing arrangement aimed at resolving the political standoff. As part of the deal, Tsvangirai became Prime Minister of a new coalition government in February 2009, and cabinet positions have been divided among the parties. Some observers remain skeptical that the MDC will be able to implement major political reforms through the arrangement, although there has been some progress, particularly on the economic front, and some donors have begun to cautiously reengage. The cost of rebuilding the country's economy may be over $8 billion.

Zimbabwe's economic output decreased dramatically between 1998 and 2008. Official inflation rose above 200,000,000% in 2008, and although the economy has since stabilized, unemployment remains estimated at more than 90%. An adult HIV prevalence rate of over 14% has contributed to a sharp drop in life expectancy, and a nationwide cholera outbreak from late 2008 through early 2009 resulted in almost 100,000 infections and over 4,300 deaths. The number of Zimbabweans requiring food aid has declined, from an estimated five million in 2008 to two million in 2010, but chronic malnutrition rates remain high. Deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions in recent years have led many to emigrate to neighboring countries, creating a substantial burden on the region. The country appears to be making a gradual shift from humanitarian crisis toward recovery, but much of the population remains highly vulnerable.

Robert Mugabe has historically enjoyed considerable popularity in Africa as a former liberation leader, but some African leaders have viewed his policies as increasingly damaging to the continent and have urged democratic reforms in recent years. Following controversial elections in 2000 and citing abuses of human rights and the rule of law, the United States and some other former allies of the government became vocal critics. The United States has enforced targeted sanctions against top Zimbabwe officials and associates since 2002. This report provides background on events leading up to and surrounding the country's most recent elections, in March and June 2008. For further discussion of Zimbabwe's power sharing agreement, its transitional government, and other more recent developments, please see CRS Report RL34509, Zimbabwe: The Transitional Government and Implications for U.S. Policy, by Lauren Ploch. 
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Date of Report: July 8, 2010
Number of Pages: 52
Order Number: RL32723
Price: $29.95

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Madagascar’s Political Crisis


Lauren Ploch
Analyst in African Affairs


Political tensions on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar between President Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, the former mayor of the capital city, escalated in early 2009, culminating in President Ravalomanana's forced removal from office. In preceding weeks, over 135 people had been killed in riots and demonstrations. Under intensifying pressure from mutinous soldiers and large crowds of protestors, Ravalomanana handed power to the military on March 17, 2009. The military then transferred authority to Rajoelina, who has declared a transitional government. Rajoelina's "inauguration" as president of the transitional authority was followed by days of protests by thousands of supporters of Ravalomanana. Several subsequent demonstrations have led to violent clashes with security forces. Negotiations in August 2009 between the parties led to the signing of an agreement in Mozambique to establish an inclusive, transitional government, but Rajoelina subsequently appointed a new government seen to be primarily composed of his own supporters. Southern African leaders and Madagascar's opposition parties rejected the proposed government, and negotiations in Mozambique resumed. On October 6, the parties announced that they had reached agreement on posts in the new government, which would be led by Andry Rajoelina until new elections are held. Ravalomanana reportedly agreed to the arrangement on the condition that Rajoelina would not vie for the presidency in those elections. Rajoelina later rejected the accord and announced that elections would be held in March 2010. The international community objected to the proposed date, arguing that elections could be held without opposition consensus. In late January 2010 Rajoelina reportedly consented to postpone the elections and re-engage in negotiations. Legislative elections are currently scheduled for September 2010 and presidential elections are slated for November 26, 2010.

The political uncertainty has strained relations between international donors and Madagascar, which was the first country to sign a U.S. Millennium Challenge Account compact, worth an estimated $110 million. That compact was terminated in May 2009. Following coups in Mauritania and Guinea in 2008, the African Union, the United States, and the European Union, among others, warned against an unconstitutional transfer of power on the island nation and have suspended most foreign aid and threatened sanctions. The African Union and the Southern African Development Community have suspended Madagascar until constitutional order is restored.

Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, is extremely biologically diverse, with as many as 150,000 species of flora and fauna that are unique to the island. The country faces a host of environmental pressures, however, and the U.S. State Department reports that illegal logging and the endangered wildlife exports has substantially increased since the HAT has taken power.



Date of Report: June 30, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R40448
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Instability and Humanitarian Conditions in Chad

Lauren Ploch
Analyst in African Affairs


As the Sahel region weathers another year of drought and poor harvests, the political and security situation in Chad remains volatile, compounding a worsening humanitarian situation in which some two million Chadians are at risk of hunger. In the western Sahelian region of the country, the World Food Program warns that an estimated 60 percent of households, some 1.6 million people, are currently food insecure. Aid organizations warn that the situation is critical, particularly for remote areas in the west with little international aid presence, and that the upcoming rainy season is likely to further complicate the delivery of assistance. 

In the east, ethnic clashes, banditry, and fighting between government forces and rebel groups, both Chadian and Sudanese, have contributed to a fragile security situation. The instability has forced over 200,000 Chadians from their homes in recent years. In addition to the internal displacement, over 340,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan's Darfur region have fled violence in their own countries and now live in refugee camps in east and southern Chad, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). With Chadian security forces stretched thin, the threat of bandit attacks on the camps and on aid workers has escalated. The instability has also impacted some 700,000 Chadians whose communities have been disrupted by fighting and strained by the presence of the displaced. 

The United Nations and the European Union (EU) began deployment of a multidimensional presence in Chad and the CAR in late 2007 to improve regional security so as to facilitate the safe and sustainable return of refugees and displaced persons. The U.N. mission, known as MINURCAT, assumed peacekeeping operations from the EU force in March 2009, but it faced logistical challenges in its deployment and a shortage of troops. In January 2010, the Chadian government requested that the mission's mandate not be renewed. After consultations between the government and the U.N. Secretariat, the U.N. Security Council resolved in May 2010 to begin a reduction in MINURCAT's presence in Chad, to be completed by December 31, 2010. The Chadian government has expressed a commitment to protecting civilians and humanitarian workers, but some observers question the capacity of its security forces to fulfill this mandate. 

A January 2010 agreement between the governments of Chad and Sudan has led to improved relations between the two countries, and they have allegedly ceased to provide support for each other's respective rebel groups. Legislative elections, postponed since 2007, are scheduled for November 10, 2010, and presidential elections are to be held in April 2011.



Date of Report: July 1, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: RS22798
Price: $29.95

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