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Parliamentary questions
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15 April 2008
by Angelika Beer (Verts/ALE)
to the Council

 Subject: Misbehaviour of French ESDP soldiers during Artemis operation in DRC (Bunia) in 2003
 Answer in writing 

In the summer of 2003, upon French initiative and under their command, ESDP operation ‘Artemis’ took place to protect for a period of four months the refugee camps in the north-east (district Ituri, capital Bunia) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This operation has been praised as the very successful first military operation on behalf of the EU without the involvement of NATO. Nevertheless it has recently become public that in the course of that operation torture practices took place against civilians arrested by French soldiers. The evidence came from Swedish soldiers present at that time in the same camp as their French colleagues and has been the subject of a public investigation in Sweden between May and December 2007. No measures seem to have been taken, and the European Parliament has never been informed about this issue. In the knowledge that stress-related misbehaviour of troops during military and police operations can be extremely counterproductive for the outcome of such missions and the public image of the EU and its ESDP, this is very worrying, especially now that the operations in Chad and Kosovo have just been launched.

1. Was the Council informed about this in 2003 and to what extent? Has the issue been an element in the evaluation of the mission?

2. Has the Council conducted an investigation into how far this issue has violated the standards of the Council for the behaviour of troops deployed in ESDP operations?

3. What guarantees can the Council provide that such misbehaviour will be prevented during future operations?

4. Why was the European Parliament not informed about this issue during the numerous briefings which it has received in its efforts to monitor as closely as possible the planning and implementation of this very sensitive ESDP mission?

 OJ C 40, 18/02/2009
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