19 09 13 Tax – Interview SRSG Kobler ( MONUSCO is more lively than some national administrations)


 taz: Mr Kobler, you have been leading the largest UN mission  in the world
for five weeks now. What is the most important thing to you about it?


 Martin Kobler: Oour main duty is the protection of the civilian
population. We have influence here to realisethe values of the UN charta – you
can afford to be be radical when child soldiers or sexual violence is

 I call these mass rapes “sexual terrorism”. There can be no tolerance
here, first and foremost as far as the Congolese army is concerned. There is a
human rights checkfor units we work with. There is permanent observation

 acccompaniment, no mistake. Whoever rapes a woman must be brought to


 Do you the trust the government to implement this?

 We are in permanent contact with the governement to achieve this. I have a
positive impression of the army leadership,that it’s in their interest to follow
up such things. I am satisfied with the readiness of the government to implement
“zero tolerance”. It’s difficult on the ground because it (the government)
doesn’t control some areas. But UN resolution 2098 charges us with
re-establishing state authority in the East.


Why are there so many armed groups in Eastern Congo?

 The government must, with the help of the international community, create
conditions so that everyone, including minorities, feels at home in the country.
The roots of the conflicts must be fought in order to remove legitimacy from the
armed groups. The other thing is not to tolerate certain

 kinds of behaviour. The Congo has the right and the duty to exercise state
authority. But this also means a more active and robust attitude by the
international community.


The UN has been in Congo for 14 years now. What will changewith you at the

 Monusco is more lively than some national administrations. Resolution 2098
brought a new dynanism. But the civilian part is not adequately set up in
Eastern Congo. Kinshasa is far away. I am trying to base the main part of the
civilian structures in Goma. One of my deputies will be transferred to


With the new intervention brigade, is Congo a test case for more active UN


The mandate is the same, there are just different instruments. This is
based on the analysis that after 14 years UN activity may have stabilised the
situation but there is still cohabitation with armed groups. The important thing
is to re-establish state aurthority.


 How do you do that?

 Military and political means are not mutually exclusive. The M23 attacked
Goma and we got serious in protecting the civilian population on the side of the
Congolese army. I was in Goma myself, I was at the frontline, I saw the missiles
which came down on Goma. Now Goma is beyond the reach of the missiles. But we do
want a political solution. We don’t want to fight! We want the Congolese state
to regain its monopoly of violence, in every square metre of its territory. We
have the military means to do that. We will fight if necessary. Our mandate is
clear: Protecting the population. I get reports of atrocities and rapes on my
desk every day. It can’t go on like this.


 And beyond military means?

 We are now working on the creation of “islands of stability” together with
the government. The idea: when an area is “liberated”, the government – not the
UN – must build up the state. We provide help. There are six elements:
prosecutors, judges, schools, police, security, healthcare, public works. The
area is secured by the Congolese army with our help.


 This has been tried in the past. And now it’s supposed to work?

 I think it will work now. The UN in Congo has been much criticised for its
inactivity, and we do have to question ourselves critically in this regard. I
sense a change of mood in the population and the government, and in the

 international community. I am confident that reconstruction will now
happen. And we will defend the civilian population



 Is the new intervention brigade FIB big enough for that with 3000

 We have 19.000 blue helmets. That’s quite a lot – and not a lot at the
same time. The brigade is not a magic weapon. In Goma we all worked together.
The question is not how big the brigade is but how it works together with the
army. A UN helicopter landing somewhere and a militia commander coming

 and wanting to inspect the helicopter – we can’t have that! We now have
new instruments with combat helicopters and artillery and drones, which we
didn’t have before. A third of the FIB troops are still not here and the

 aren’t here yet either, but then we will be complete.


 What kind of political pressure can you put on Congo’s government so that
it plays its part?

The  power of the word of the international community, and thefive special
envoys. But I deplore that Germany and the EU want to disengage from security
sector reform. That is a wrong signal. Reforming the security secor is an
absolute priority. Congolese intervention forces need to be built which act
according to international human rights standards. That’s important. I hope that
the EU will revise its decision.


What do you say to the criticism of Congolese who say thattheir government
is not legitimate?

The Congo is a sovereign state. I a fundamentally opposed to waiting for
the next elections. I have proposed a three-way partnership. First with the
Congolese people to whom our loyalty is primarily directed. And of course with
the current government which we assist but which we also accompany in a critical
spirit: If there is something to criticise I don’t hesitate to do so. And the
third element is partnership with the international community.


 What does “partnership with the people” mean?

 When people come to a UN base and look for protection, we open the doors
and fulfil our mandate to protect them. I will make sure that we take the
protection of civilians more seriously than we have perhaps done these last 14


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