Outcome evaluation of the contribution of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali to the rule of law and the fight against impunity in Mali – Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (A/76/698) – Mali

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Summary

The Inspection and Evaluation Division of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) conducted an evaluation of the outcomes achieved through the contribution of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to the return, restoration and extension of State authority in the rule of law area and fight against impunity in northern and central Mali between 2017 and 2020.

During the evaluation period, MINUSMA operated in a challenging and volatile political and security environment. Plans and objectives were continuously adapted, and the Mission stretched its resources further with the expansion of the mandate to the center of the country in 2018, and in the face of continued attacks on civilians, Malian security personnel and peacekeepers.

Highlights of achievements and processes that strengthened the rule of law and the fight against impunity included:

  • Infrastructure development, rehabilitation and equipment support supported by the trust fund

  • Support for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration

  • The establishment of a framework for consultation, an informal platform to coordinate initiatives at the local and regional levels

  • The establishment of a specialized judicial unit with 12 judges, more than 50 police investigators and additional judicial staff

  • Support for reforms and legislation, such as the draft bill on the complementarity of formal and traditional justice and communiqués on the prevention of gender-based violence

  • Support for and advocacy of judicial inspections and integrity

  • Improved prison management

  • Support for the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission

  • The reporting of human rights violations

Those achievements aside, some cross-cutting gaps were identified. Overall, there was a lack of a joint countrywide strategy for the restoration and extension of State authority and a lack of an agreed definition of “stabilization” among the host Government, the international community, including MINUSMA, and civil society. This was considered a major hindrance in implementing a unified effort to address gaps on the basis of each actor’s comparative advantage.

Infrastructure development and capacity-building were considered to have reached points of diminishing returns, and commencing their handover to the Government was an option. Critically reviewing its comparative advantage across outcome areas explored in the present evaluation would enable the Mission to rebalance its priorities.

Community perception and partner experience suggested that future interventions should balance addressing security, political, developmental and peacebuilding needs in order to establish the rule of law in a more sustainable and holistic manner. This would also be consistent with the call of the expanded summit of the Group of Five for the Sahel held in N’Djamena in March 2021 for a “civilian surge”, acknowledging the limits of military interventions.

Finally, prosecution and processing of serious crimes, including human rights violations and abuses, slightly improved, yet the overall human rights situation in the north and the center deteriorated and impunity for such crimes persisted. In this regard, interlocutors encouraged MINUSMA to apply its leverage more assertively by using its good offices, convening power and political advocacy.

OIOS makes a total of eight important recommendations addressed to MINUSMA. The recommendations are aligned with the findings and identified in consultation with the Mission counterparts and external partners. The recommendations refer to specific outcome areas that are both critically important and highly relevant, as well as areas where MINUSMA, together with its partners, could add significant value. The first recommendation (the development of a joint countrywide strategy on the restoration and extension of State authorities) is overarching, requiring a whole-of-mission approach and effort to enable the implementation of the other recommendations.

The recommendations touch on supporting the integrity of the judicial system, enhancing the use of good offices to further the reform processes as well as the investigation and prosecution of serious human rights violations, conducting a critical review of capacity-building efforts, strengthening collaboration with the National Commission on Human Rights and improving communication programs to inform the population of its legal rights and obligations.

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