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In the Luanda Accords of September 6, 2002, Uganda and the DRC agreed that an Ituri Pacification Commission (IPC) would be established as an interim structure to govern Ituri after the departure of the Ugandan army and until a regular Congolese administration could be set up. The DRC government and the local parties were to organize the IPC with the support of the UN, but early organizational efforts failed and fighting continued. A number of high-level meetings raised hopes for action in February 2003 but the UPC contested the composition of the commission, rejected any role for Kinshasa, and demanded that a more "neutral" chair replace MONUC. According to observers, Lubanga pushed for peace on his terms or no peace at all.237

The Ugandan army removed the UPC from power in March, making UPC objections less of an obstacle, and the IPC was launched in early April. By April 24 it had finished its work:

    · establishing a new Interim Special Assembly with an executive to be headed by a coordinator until the new DRC transitional government takes power
    · abolishing the role of governor, thereby ending the status of Ituri as a province
    · setting up a Prevention and Verification Committee to look into the causes of the conflict and to prevent further violence
    · creating a consultative team from all the armed groups to restrain combatants
    · establishing a human right committee to help victims and work towards educating the public on issues of human rights.

The new structure had no real force to execute its decisions. The Ugandan army tried to install a combined general staff with Commander Jerome from Aru at its head, but other parties refused and this proposal collapsed within days. With the departure of Ugandan forces in early May, a MONUC force strengthened by some 200 Uruguayan troops was left with the task of trying to support the IPC. Within days of the Ugandan army withdrawal from Bunia, fighting restarted between UPC and Lendu and Ngiti militia, killing hundreds of civilians as each militia attacked people of the opposite group. MONUC increased its troop presence to 700, but the Uruguayan guard units were neither capable nor equipped to deal with the scale of the fighting. They withdrew to their compound surrounded by nearly 20,000 civilians seeking protection.

With the prospect of escalating violence, the Security Council voted on May 30, 2003 to create an Interim Emergency Multinational Force to provide security and protection for civilians in Bunia, including members of the interim assembly, while MONUC reinforced its presence with troops due to arrive before September 1.

237 Human Rights Watch interview, UN official in Kampala, February 2003

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