Targeted sanctions are most effective when applied to individuals, but when those individuals see little impact or are able to evade the sanctions, it raises questions about their merits.
Congo Siasa spoke with three members of the UN Group of Experts on the Congo – Steve Hege, Fred Robarts and Greg Mthembu-Salter – about the importance of the sanctions regime, which they monitor, on the conflict in the Congo.
CS: This is the tenth final report of the GoE since its inception six years ago. At the close of each mandate, Groups of Experts propose for sanctions a confidential list of individuals to be considered by the Committee for possible addition to the sanctions list, which currently is comprised of 30 individuals and entities. And yet, one could say that these sanctions have had little impact on armed groups or the economy of conflict. Does the Security Council take sanctions seriously? What impact does the GoE have?
Targeted sanctions are an instrument that the Security Council, through the Sanctions Committee, can use to impact the behavior of individuals and entities supporting armed groups in eastern DRC. Obviously, sanctions are much more effective when they are applied to individuals who rely on bank accounts and official international travel. Unfortunately, when sanctioned individuals, or those extensively documented in reports who are not ever listed, see little impact on their activities or are able to quickly change front companies, the real-time effectiveness of the regime can be called into question.