9 April 2003
Security Council Re-Establishes Panel Investigating Somalia Arms Embargo Violations, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1474 (2003)
NEW YORK, 8 April (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this afternoon re-established for six months the Panel of Experts it set up last September to investigate violations of the 1992 arms embargo against Somalia, saying the continued flow of weapons to the country severely undermined peace and political efforts at national reconciliation.
Noting with regret that the embargo had been continuously violated since its imposition, the Council, through unanimous adoption of resolution 1474 (2003), mandated the Panel to, among others: investigate violations of the embargo covering access to Somalia by land, air and sea; make specific recommendations regarding measures to strengthen the embargo; identify continuing violators and their active supporters; and explore the possibility of establishing a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the embargo in close cooperation with regional and international organizations, including with the African Union.
The Council requested all Somali and regional parties, as well as government officials and other actors contacted outside the region, to cooperate fully with the Panel, and called upon regional organizations, in particular the African Union and the League of Arab States, as well as States that had the resources, to assist Somali parties and the States in the region in their efforts to fully implement the embargo.
The Council also decided to send a mission of the Committee established in 1992 to monitor the embargo to the region to demonstrate the Council's determination. The Committee, consisting of all the members of the Council, was charged with gathering information from States regarding effective implementation of the embargo, and recommending measures in response to violations.
The first Panel of Experts was established for six months pursuant to Council resolution 1425 (2002). According to its 25 March report (S/2003/223), flagrant violations continued, even as the Somali factions and their neighbours were participating in the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference, including the October 2002 signing of a declaration in Eldoret, Kenya, on a cessation of hostilities and principles for reconciliation. The Panel recommended that the sanctions regime should be enhanced and implemented with increased determination, as the Somali faction leaders were convinced that their business could go on as usual, since they had not seen any real enforcement.
The meeting was called to order at 1:40 p.m. and adjourned at 1:48 p.m.
The full text of Council resolution 1474 (2003) reads, as follows:
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its previous resolutions concerning the situation in Somalia, in particular resolution 733 (1992) of 23 January 1992, which established an embargo on all delivery of weapons and military equipment to Somalia (hereinafter referred to as the "arms embargo"), resolution 1407 (2002) of 3 May, resolution 1425 (2002) of 22 July 2002, and the statements of its President of 28 March 2002 (S/PRST/2002/8), of 12 December 2002 (S/PRST/2002/35), and of 12 March 2003 (S/PRST/2003/2),
Noting with regret that the arms embargo has been continuously violated since 1992, including since the signing of the "Declaration on Cessation of Hostilities and the Structure and Principles of the Somalia National Reconciliation Process" (Eldoret Declaration) in October 2002, and expressing concern over the illegal activities linked to the financing of arms purchases and military activities by the violators of the arms embargo in Somalia,
Reiterating its firm support for the Somali National Reconciliation Process and the ongoing Somali National Reconciliation Conference, reaffirming the importance of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, consistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter, and commending the efforts of Kenya as the host of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) sponsored Somali National Reconciliation Conference,
Reiterating its insistence that all States, in particular those of the region, should not interfere in the internal affairs of Somalia. Such interference only further destabilizes Somalia, contributes to a climate of fear and impacts adversely on human rights, and could jeopardize the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia. Stressing that the territory of Somalia should not be used to undermine stability in the subregion,
Reiterating its serious concern over the continued flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia from sources outside the country, in contravention of the arms embargo, which is severely undermining peace and security and the political efforts for national reconciliation in Somalia, and which undermines the commitments made at the Nairobi Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons in 2000,
Recognizing the importance of improving the implementation and enhancing the monitoring of the arms embargo in Somalia through persistent and vigilant investigation into violations of the arms embargo,
Determining that the situation in Somalia constitutes a threat to international peace and security in the region,
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Stresses the obligation of all States and other actors to comply fully with resolution 733 (1992), and reaffirms that non-compliance constitutes a violation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations;
2. Welcomes the report of the Panel of Experts dated 25 March 2003 (S/2003/223) submitted pursuant to paragraph 11 of resolution 1425 (2002), notes with interest the observations and recommendations contained therein, and expresses its intention to give full consideration to the report;
3. Decides to re-establish a Panel of Experts for a period of 6 months commencing no later than 3 weeks from the date of the adoption of this resolution, to be based in Nairobi, with the following mandate:
(a) to investigate the violations of the arms embargo covering access to Somalia by land, air and sea, in particular by pursuing any sources that might reveal information related to violations;
(b) to detail information and make specific recommendations in relevant areas of expertise related to violations and measures to give effect to and strengthen the arms embargo in its various aspects;
(c) to carry out field based research, where possible, in Somalia, States neighbouring Somalia and other States, as appropriate;
(d) to assess the capacity of States in the region to implement fully the arms embargo, including through a review of national customs and border control regimes;
(e) to focus on the ongoing arms embargo violations, including transfers of ammunition, single use weapons, and small arms;
(f) to seek to identify those who continue to violate the arms embargo inside and outside Somalia, and their active supporters, and to provide the Committee established by resolution 751 (1992) of 24 April 1992 (hereinafter referred to as "the Committee") with a draft list for possible future actions;
(g) to explore the possibility of establishing a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the arms embargo with partners inside and outside Somalia in close cooperation with regional and international organizations, including with the African Union;
(h) to refine the recommendations provided in the report of the Panel of Experts (S/2003/223).
"4. Requests the Secretary-General, upon the adoption of this resolution and acting in consultation with the Committee, to appoint up to four experts, including the Chairman, drawing as much as possible and as appropriate on the expertise of the members of the Panel of Experts appointed pursuant to resolution 1425 (2002), and further requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary financial arrangements to support the work of the Panel;
"5. Further requests the Secretary-General to ensure that the Panel of Experts comprises, and has access to, sufficient expertise in the areas of armament and financing thereof, civil aviation, maritime transport, and regional affairs, including specialized knowledge of Somalia, in accordance with the resource requirements, administrative and financial arrangements outlined in the report of the expert team pursuant to resolution 1407 (2002);
"6. Requests all Somali and regional parties as well as government officials and other actors contacted outside the region to cooperate fully with the Panel of Experts in the discharge of its mandate, and requests the Panel of Experts to notify the Security Council immediately, through the Committee, of any lack of cooperation;
"7. Requests the Panel of Experts to provide a mid-term briefing to the Council, through the Committee, and to submit a final report at the end of its mandated period to the Security Council, through the Committee, for its consideration;
"8. Decides to send a mission of the Committee, led by the Chairman of the Committee, to the region at an earliest possible stage after the Panel of Experts has resumed its work to demonstrate the Security Council's determination to give full effect to the arms embargo;
"9. Calls again upon all States, in particular those in the region, to provide the Committee with all available information on violations of the arms embargo;
"10. Invites the neighbouring States to report to the Committee quarterly on their efforts to implement the arms embargo;
"11. Calls upon regional organizations, in particular the African Union and the League of Arab States, as well as States that have the resources, to assist Somali parties and the States in the region in their efforts to fully implement the arms embargo;
"12. Expresses its determination to review the situation regarding the implementation of the arms embargo in Somalia on the basis of information provided by the Panel of Experts in its reports;
"13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
The conflict in Somalia dates back to 1989, when growing discontent with President Siad Barre's regime resulted in a general civil war. Following the deposition of the regime in 1991, the country descended into an even more intense periods of inter-clan warfare, which destroyed most of the country's remaining infrastructure and exacerbated a widespread famine that claimed the lives of more than a quarter million Somalis, prompting from 1 to 2 million people to flee to other parts of the country or across the border. Due to extensive foreign military assistance over several decades prior to the civil unrest, the country had important stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, and weapons were also purchased on international markets.
The crisis in Somalia impelled the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the country and eventually authorize a United Nations peace enforcement operation from 1993 to 1995. Unfortunately, United Nations peacekeeping forces were drawn into a difficult and protracted conflict with the Somali National Alliance (SNA) that sapped the will of the international community for peace enforcement. When the last United Nations forces withdrew in March 1995, Somalia remained divided, without a central government, and with little chance of political and economic reconstruction.
In 2002, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organization of States in the Horn of Africa aiming to achieve regional cooperation and economic integration, proposed to hold a peace and reconciliation conference. That conference signed a Declaration on Cessation of Hostilities and the Structures and Principles of the Somalia Reconciliation Process, in Eldoret, Kenya, on 27 October that year.
The Council had before it a letter from the Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia, which contains a report of the Panel of Experts mandated to collect independent information on violations of the arms embargo on Somalia and to provide recommendations on possible steps for its implementation (document S/2003/223). The Secretary-General appointed the Panel for a six-month period last September, in pursuance of Council resolution 1425 (2002).
By that text, the Council requested all States and the Transitional National Government and local authorities to cooperate fully with the Panel of Experts, including by facilitating visits to sites and actors and by providing full access to government officials and records. However, the Panel deems that a number of States, in particular Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the Transitional National Government, have not lent their full cooperation to the investigation.
According to the report, the Panel has found a clear pattern of violation of the arms embargo on Somalia. Weapons, equipment, training of militia and financial support to Somali factions have been given regularly by neighbouring States and others since the Security Council adopted resolution 733 in 1992. Weapons have also been purchased by Somali factions on the international arms market. These flagrant violations of the embargo continue today, even as the Somali factions and their neighbours are participating in the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference, sponsored by IGAD. They have signed the Eldoret Declaration, in which they agreed to implement fully the arms embargo and facilitate international monitoring.
While the vast majority of the cases investigated by the Panel involved numerous shipments of relatively small amounts of arms and ammunition, the Panel states that the nature of the conflict in Somalia demands little more. Fighting in Somalia is normally carried out by small numbers of poorly trained and undisciplined militia members and lasts no more than a few days before ammunition and other supplies, such as fuel, are exhausted. Operating in a deeply impoverished country, various warlords and factions must continuously struggle to raise sufficient money to pay their militia members and obtain arms and ammunition. Fighting in Somalia, therefore, typically centres on the control of property or income-generating infrastructure, such as harbours, airports, markets, bridges or road junctions that can be "taxed".
The Panel believes that the sanctions regime should be enhanced and implemented with increased determination. The Somali faction leaders today are convinced that their business can go on as usual, as they have not seen any real enforcement of the embargo by the United Nations or its Member States over the past 12 years. The dismissive attitude to resolutions of the Security Council will continue to prevail if the international community does not show resolve in implementing a strict embargo regime, or remain vigilant in investigating new violations of the embargo.
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