The Multilateralist

The revenge of Laurent Gbagbo?

The revenge of Laurent Gbagbo?

Former president of Cote d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court, but his supporters appear to be quite active. UN-appointed experts have compiled substantial material on their machinations (h/t Security Council Report):

According to the Group’s sources, on 12 July 2012, a meeting took place inTakorady, Ghana, where various exiled groups supporting the regime of former President Gbagbo decided to unite their efforts and define a common course of action, with a view to regaining power in Côte d’Ivoire, including the development of a regional political and military strategy to identify possible bases of operations in neighbouring countries such as Mali.

Prominent Gbagbo supporters have rejected as "malicious lies" any assertions that they are linking up with extremists forces in Mali.

Whatever the truth here, the episode highlights the potentially important role that outside experts can play in Security Council deliberations, particularly regarding sanctions regimes. A different group of UN-appointed experts made a splash recently when they charged Rwanda with backing rebels in eastern Congo. Last summer, an expert panel accused Eritrea of supporting Islamist militias in Somalia.

For all its formal authority, the Security Council has remarkably little bureaucratic support or internal capacity to monitor compliance with resolutions. The Council obviously works with the broader UN bureaucracy, but the relationship is complicated and the Council cannot simply deploy that staff as it wishes. These panels of experts have emerged as an important tool in narrowing the chasm between what the Security Council decrees and what happens in the real world.