Rwanda will this year chair, two vital Subsidiary Organs of the UN Security Council (UNSC), an official confirmed on Wednesday, two days after the country officially assumed her seat at the UNSC as a non-permanent member, replacing South Africa.
The two organs are a Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya and an ad hoc working group on prevention of conflicts in Africa.
Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, on Wednesday told The New Times that among the subsidiary bodies that were vacated on January 1, Rwanda had expressed the wish, "and obtained," to chair the two UNSC subsidiary organs.
Rwanda was elected to the Council on November 18, 2012.
In addition to the Chairmanship of the two bodies, according to Nduhungirehe, for its full term (2013-2014), at the UNSC, Rwanda will also serve as Vice-Chair of two other subsidiary organs.
One is the Counter-terrorism Committee (CTC), chaired by Morocco. Its other Vice-Chairs are France and Russia. Rwanda will also be Vice-Chair of the Committee concerning Liberia, which is chaired by Pakistan.
The other Vice-Chair is Luxembourg.
Subsidiary organs are bodies created by the Security Council to assist the Council in its work. They can range from sanctions committees and Working Groups consisting of representatives of all 15 Security Council Members to tribunals or peacekeeping missions with thousands of troops.
The Security Council Committee concerning Libya was established on February 26, 2011 to oversee the relevant sanctions measures.
According to Nduhungirehe, the Committee's vice-chair in 2013 will be the Republic of Korea.
In an e-mail, Nduhungirehe said: "It is important to note that Rwanda, attached to the principle of Responsibility to Protect, had a strong stand against the late Muammar Gadhafi during the Libyan revolution, and was one of the rare African countries to openly support the no-fly zone imposed by resolution 1973."
The sanctions measures currently in effect include: an arms embargo; a travel ban and an assets freeze.
Conflict in Africa
On the other hand, the Adhoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa was established on March 1, 2002. Among others, it monitors the implementation of recommendations outlined in previous Council decisions regarding conflict prevention and resolution in Africa and to propose recommendations on the enhancement of cooperation between the Council and the Economic and Social Council and other UN agencies dealing with Africa.
Until December 31, 2012, it was chaired by South Africa.
The Chairman is designated by members of the Security Council for a period of one year.
"Rwanda will strive to enhance the triangular cooperation UN-AU-RECs (Regional Economic Communities), which has gained momentum over the past years," Nduhungirehe said.
"Indeed, around 70% of the agenda of the Security Council are African issues and since 2007, the UNSC and the AU Peace and Security Council are meeting every year, alternatively in Addis Ababa and in New York. Moreover, the conflict in Mali and in DRC showed how regional initiatives are key to a sustainable solution."
The Working Group's Vice-Chair in 2013 will be Togo.
The Working Group's mandate includes: monitoring the implementation of recommendations contained in the presidential statements and resolutions regarding conflict prevention and resolution in Africa; and proposing recommendations on the enhancement of cooperation between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council as well as with other United Nations agencies dealing with Africa.
The UNSC, one of the six principal organs of the UN charged with the maintenance of international peace and security, is currently subdivided into 21 Subsidiary Organs, including two counter-terrorism and non-proliferation committees, 13 sanctions committees and six working groups. According to the practice, no Permanent Member chairs the Committees. They are all chaired by the 10 elected members. The chairs of specific bodies are selected and approved by consensus.
The UNSC comprises 15 members: five permanent members, China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US, with veto power and 10 non-permanent members, elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term. The current non-permanent members are Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Morocco, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Korea, and Togo.
There is a rotating presidency where members take turn at holding the presidency of the Security Council for one month. Pakistan which has been elected to the Security Council six times, on Tuesday, took over the presidency of the UNSC for January 2013.
The first time Rwanda sat on the UNSC was from 1993-94, when initial occupants were the genocidal regime which leveraged its presence on the Council to discourage any UN intervention in Rwanda in the wake of the state-sponsored Genocide against the Tutsi.