14 Peacekeepers Were Killed in Congo — UN Response May Make Things Worse

Fourteen UN peacekeepers were killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo earlier this month, in what is being called the “worst attack” on the UN in recent history.

The death toll is the highest since a 1993 gun battle in Mogadishu, and adds to the hundreds of UN peacekeepers killed in Congo to date. 

Senior UN officials have been quick to lay the blame for the Dec. 8 attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group responsible for some of the worst recent massacres in eastern Congo.

Since 2015, MONUSCO (the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission) has targeted the ADF for neutralization, deploying attack helicopters, heavy artillery and hundreds of troops in a series of joint operations with the Congolese army.

While these operations had been put on hold for most of 2017, the Security Council’s call to bring the perpetrators to justice will add strong pressure for the UN to resume the offensive against the ADF. 

This might send a good signal about the UN’s readiness to respond to such attacks, but it would almost certainly make the situation more risky, for the people living in eastern Congo and the peacekeepers. 

Read the full article on The Hill.

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Author

Adam Day is a Senior Policy Adviser with the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR). Prior to UNU, he served for a decade in the UN, focused on peace operations, political engagement in conflict settings, mediation and protection of civilians. He served as Senior Political Adviser to MONUSCO (DRC), in the UN Special Coordinator’s Office for Lebanon, in the front offices of both UNMIS (Khartoum) and UNAMID (Darfur), and was a political officer in both the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York.

Prior to the UN, Mr Day worked in Human Rights Watch’s Justice Program, for the Open Society Justice Initiative in Cambodia, and supported the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. An attorney and former member of the New York Bar Association, Mr Day was an international litigator in New York, where he also worked pro bono for the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Guantanamo detainees in their suits against former US officials for torture.

Mr Day holds a Juris Doctorate from UC Berkeley School of Law, a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a Masters in Comparative Literature from Brown University. He has several publications in the areas of international criminal law, head of state immunity for international crimes, and rule of law in post-conflict settings. He is married and has two children.

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