n Institute for Security Studies Papers - UN Panel of Experts : a peace-building tool?

Volume 2005, Issue 112
  • ISSN : 1026-0404



Africa is beset by conflict in which it takes time to distinguish actors and perpetrators - while casualties of ordinary peoples, especially women and children, escalate to sometimes genocidal proportions. While the early warning mechanism that is supposed to trigger international automatic reaction has failed to operate, there is an alternative. This is the Panel of Experts mechanism, a sub-committee of the UN Security Council. These panels provides credible and reliable information gathered independently and by a group that enjoys international respect. In its final report to the UN Security Council, the UN Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo called for the establishment of a permanent panel of experts. The mechanism would be aimed at curbing the activities of local and international actors bent on quick and rapid profits, gained through the creation of chaos and conflict, and responsible for immense human suffering before they withdraw once international attention is turned on their activities. This paper seeks to pursue that call further, previously ignored by the UNSC in spite of over three million people dying in the DRC as a result of the direct impact of conflict. In order to reinforce the veracity of the call, the research has deliberately focused on two case studies - the conflicts in Angola and the DRC - in an effort to press home the point and recommendation made of making the Panel of Experts a feature of the reformed African Union, although continuing to be mandated by the UNSC for the next decade, so that peace and stability can be consolidated on the African continent.

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