Updated on 10 June 2016
Chapter 8: SUBSIDIARY BODIES
Section 5(e): Subsidiary bodies concerned with sanctions
Council terminates Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia sanctions regimes and related committees
On 28 April 2016, the Security Council adopted resolution 2283 (2016), by which it decided to terminate, with immediate effect, the remaining restrictions on arms and materiel, as well as the travel and financial measures, which applied in relation to Côte d’Ivoire. By the same resolution, the Council decided to dissolve immediately the relevant Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) and the Group of Experts which assisted the Committee.
France has been “holding the pen” on decisions adopted by the Council on “The situation in Côte d’Ivoire”, and it was the only sponsor of resolution 2283 (2016).
On the same date as the adoption of resolution 2283 (2016), the Council issued an updated Note by the President which removed the name of the Committee on Côte d’Ivoire sanctions from the list of the Council’s subsidiary bodies (S/2016/2/Rev.2). Also on the same day, the outgoing Committee Chair, the representative of Uruguay, transmitted to the Council President a report covering the period 1 January to 27 April 2016 (S/2016/403), in lieu of the annual report which the Committee would have submitted at year’s end. The Uruguayan representative remains the Chair of two of the Council’s other subsidiary bodies: the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2048 (2012) concerning Guinea-Bissau, and the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals.
One month later, on 25 May 2016, the Security Council adopted resolution 2288 (2016), by which it decided to terminate, with immediate effect, the last remaining restrictions relating to Liberia. These restrictions were an arms embargo on non-State entities, and the requirement that the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003) be notified by the Liberian Government prior to shipment to it of any lethal arms and materiel, or provision to it of any military or security sector assistance, advice or training. By the same resolution, the Council decided to dissolve immediately the Committee, and the Panel of Experts which assisted it. The Chair of the Committee, the representative of Ukraine, later called the lifting of the sanctions and the termination of the Committee an “historic decision”, and he quipped that this was a case “where I felt very pleased to be losing my job as its Chair” (S/PV.7703).
The United States, which has served as the penholder for decisions adopted by the Council on “The situation in Liberia”, drafted resolution 2288 (2016). Angola, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom joined as co-sponsors.
As had been the case when the Côte d’Ivoire committee was terminated, on the same date as the adoption of resolution 2288 (2016), the Council President issued a further revised Note which removed the name of the Committee on Liberia sanctions from the list of the Council’s subsidiary bodies (S/2016/2/Rev.3). On the day resolution 2288 was adopted, the outgoing Chair transmitted to the Council President a report covering the period 1 January to 25 May 2016 (S/2016/479), in lieu of the annual report which the Committee would have submitted at year’s end. The Ukrainian representative remains the Chair of one other subsidiary body of the Security Council: the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic.
The operative language in the two operative paragraphs of the resolution terminating the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions and of the resolution terminating the Liberia sanctions was virtually identical. Differences were apparent, however, in the preambles of the two resolutions:
The preamble of resolution 2288 (2016) was much more specific with respect to the benchmarks which had been taken into account by the Council in determining that the time had come to terminate the last remaining sanctions with respect to Liberia. The preamble recalled the Council’s readiness to terminate the measures “upon its determination that the ceasefire in Liberia is being fully respected and maintained, disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and restructuring of the security sector have been completed, the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement are being fully implemented, and significant progress has been made in establishing and maintaining stability in Liberia and the subregion”. The preamble then stated that the Council had determined “that those conditions have been met”.
The preamble of resolution 2283 (2016) more generally described the progress made by Côte d’Ivoire which had paved the way for terminating the remaining measures, but did not state that these had been prerequisites for the Council’s decision. The preamble merely welcomed
“the progress achieved in the stabilization of Côte d’Ivoire, including in relation to
disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR),
national reconciliation and the fight against impunity, as well as the successful conduct
of the presidential election of 25 October 2015 and progress on the management of arms
and related materiel as well as combating the illicit trafficking of natural resources”.
At the same Council meeting at which resolution 2283 (2016) was adopted, the Council also adopted resolution 2284 (2016), which set out a timeline for the full withdrawal of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire by 30 June 2017. Resolution 2284 (2016) was more detailed in describing progress made, including “the enhanced ongoing political dialogue among all political parties”; “the crucial progress made by the people and Government of Côte d’Ivoire toward achieving national reconciliation and social cohesion”; the national security institutions’ “performing their statutory functions with greater understanding of their respective roles as well as enhanced capacity”; and “the improvement of the human rights situation”.
Despite these signs of advancement, resolution 2284 (2016), and speakers at the adoption meeting (S/PV.7681), emphasized that the Government and people of Côte d’Ivoire must continue to make progress in such areas as prioritizing complete implementation of the national security sector reform plan; pursuing efforts to achieve deeper national reconciliation; and improving natural resource governance, especially in the diamond and gold sectors.
Both resolution 2283 (2016) and resolution 2288 (2016) stated that the Council was “Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations”. This attribution might seem anomalous, since Article 39 in Chapter VII states that
“The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of
the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures
shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international
peace and security.”
However, it has been the Council’s practice to cite Chapter VII in resolutions which modify or terminate measures originally adopted with specific citation of Chapter VII.
The resolution terminating the Liberia sanctions noted “the positive role that the Security Council’s imposition of targeted measures has played in responding to the conflict in Liberia and supporting Liberia’s stabilization”. And during the adoption meeting, the representative of Liberia echoed this statement when he observed that “In the context of Liberia, targeted sanctions were very constructive. The sanctions regime contributed in large measure to the country’s stabilization and stimulated post-conflict economic recovery.”
With respect to Côte d’Ivoire, the representative of Senegal stated that “this moment demonstrates yet again that peacekeeping operations, as well as the judicious use of sanctions, are effective tools for maintaining international peace and security. The remarkable progress made by the Ivoirian Government . . . bears witness to that reality”. At the same time, the representative of China voiced a view held by virtually all Council members when he affirmed that
“Sanctions are not an end in themselves. The Council should keep itself abreast of the
progress being made and, in keeping with developments in the countries concerned,
adjust and eventually lift sanctions measures in a timely manner” (S/PV.7681).
As detailed on page 477 of the book, Liberia is on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), whereas Côte d’Ivoire is not. Liberia was placed on the PBC agenda in 2010 upon the initiative of the Security Council in response to a request from the Liberian Government. The Council did not act upon a request from the Ivorian Government of then-President Laurent Gbagbo in 2009.