EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
December 2002 witnessed the signing of a power sharing
agreement between Congolese parties under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy,
Mustapha Niasse, and South Africa
that should lead to finalisation of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue and a
transitional government. Yet, it is unlikely that the agreement alone will
bring immediate peace. Serious fighting continues in Eastern Congo,
particularly Kivu and Ituri Provinces,
which have been the main theatres for direct and proxy confrontation between
local, national and regional participants in the Congolese conflict since the
cease-fire was signed in Lusaka in
1999. The population there is suffering enormously while there is an almost
complete absence of international attention.
Unless peace-building processes are crafted specifically for
the East and made central to the transitional government's program, the
headlined political agreements and other peace accords that have been brokered
will remain never implemented words on paper.
This report focuses on the conflict in the Kivus. This area
was the powder keg where ethnic massacres first exploded in the 1990s and
regional war in 1996 and 1998. Indeed, it was the centre of three intricately
linked conflicts inherited from Belgian colonialism, 30 years of misrule under
Mobutu and institutionalisation of ethnic discrimination against
Kinyarwanda-speaking citizens, and the extension of the Burundian, Rwandan and
Ugandan civil wars. The Kivu situation is now complicated by direct military
involvement of external actors, multiplication of local warlords and active
exploitation of natural resources by both. All regional actors are making
strong efforts to mould the provinces to their own strategic needs. The
withdrawal of most Rwandan and Ugandan troops in 2002 has not fundamentally
changed this dynamic.
The agreement signed in Pretoria
on 30 July 2002 stipulated
would withdraw its army from the Congo,
and the Kabila government would disarm the Rwandan Hutu fighters on its part of
the Congolese territory. Under heavy international, especially U.S.,
has indeed changed tactics by pulling most of its troops out. But it has
reorganised militarily, restructuring the military branch of the RCD-Goma
(hereinafter RCD) and creating a rapid reaction force that can be redeployed as
needed into the eastern Congo to address the remaining security threats, but
also to continue to exploit the region’s resources. It has found alternative
allies on the ground to the national RCD leadership who hold the real power in
Goma and Bukavu, and it sponsors autonomist movements for the Kivus. Rwanda
now seems less interested in controlling Kinshasa
and has resolved to consolidate its long-term influence in the eastern Congo
by making the most out of the Kivus – a policy akin to that on which Uganda
embarked several years ago.
to contain the autonomy push by offering the "nationalists" positions and
giving military support to the Mai Mai militias in the Kivus in order to weaken
proxies. It officially stopped supplying the Rwandan Hutus, pursuant to its
July 2002 commitments, but seems unwilling or incapable of preventing these
forces from regrouping and reorganising in the Kivus to continue their
Neither the plans of the UN observer mission (MONUC) to deploy
a reinforced 3,000-man contingent in the East nor finalisation of an inclusive
political agreement in Pretoria
will be enough to make a difference to the Kivus. MONUC’s mandate is
insufficient for disarming the Hutu and Congolese militias. The task forces to
be set up in Kisangani and Kindu,
hundreds of kilometres from the field of operations, will neither deter the
militias nor influence them to negotiate, let alone opt to disarm.
Similarly, the political agreement for a national unity
government and elections after two years does not address the reality of power
in the Kivus or provide credible solutions to the nationality, ethnicity and
land crises that fuel the local war. If fighting does not stop in the Kivus,
all plans to restore national authority and reunify the territory will be
meaningless. The UN envoy, the Facilitator of the Intercongolese Dialogue and South
Africa must make the elements of a Kivu
settlement central features of the transitional constitution and final peace
agreement. The international guarantors of the power-sharing agreement need to
encourage a common vision for peace there and hold local and regional actors
accountable for their policies.
Finally, it is vital that Congolese elections not be
organised until serious progress has been made on the fundamental problems in
the Kivus. Electoral competition based on ethnic mobilisation and divide and
rule policies were precisely the causes of division and ethnic violence that
sent the Congo
spiralling into chaos in 1993. The mistakes of that decade should not be
To all the Congolese political forces and military elements,
including the current government, the RCD-Goma, the MLC, the RCD-ML, the RCD-N,
Mai Mai representatives, political parties and civil society leaders:
1. Make peace in the Kivus the first priority of the
transition, start to work towards creating a peace agenda, desist from
political manipulation of the nationality issue, and commit to reconciliation
between all Kivu communities.
2. Stop collaboration with foreign forces (especially the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda
(Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR), and work with all
forces present on the ground to achieve a sustainable local ceasefire.
3. Design a constructive DDRRR program (disarmament,
demilitarisation, repatriation, resettlement, and reintegration) for both
foreign and Congolese militia groups, and negotiate urgently with the Congolese
actors on the ground a peace and reconciliation agenda for the Kivus that includes
security, political, economic and humanitarian aspects and a border security
pact with Rwanda and Burundi
4. Condition elections in the Kivus to progress on resolving
the fundamental problems of nationality, land ownership, and fair sharing of
the revenues from exploitation of natural resources.
To the governments of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda:
5. Implement fully the Pretoria
and Luanda agreements, in
(a) withdraw all foreign troops from Congolese territory;
(b) cease supplying armed groups on Congolese territory and
desist from manipulating Kivutian proxies;
(c) immediately stop support for Kivutian autonomy; and
(d) cooperate bilaterally to support local peacemaking in the
Kivus and the policies of the transitional government of national unity.
6. Contribute to realisation of an international conference for
peace, security and sustainable development in the Great Lakes
by providing the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Ibrahima
Fall, with precise details of the security, political and economic demands they
consider must be met in order to achieve a regional security and development
To Mustapha Niasse, UN Special Envoy to the Congolese peace
process, Ketumile Masire, Facilitator of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue and the
South African government:
7. Include clear and credible procedures for a permanent
solution to the Kivu nationality, land and ethnic discrimination issues in the
constitution of transition and the final peace agreement that will be presented
at the last session of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue.
8. Equip the transition process with a strong mediation
mechanism designed to broker a peace and reconciliation agenda for the local
parties to the conflict in the Kivus that should:
(a) provide modalities for local ceasefires and power-sharing
formulas, re-establish legitimate state authority, and lead to an agreement on
transparent mechanisms for managing
the exploitation and marketing of natural resources and reconstruction of the
local economy; and
(b) culminate in the organisation of a Kivu conference, the
peace-building recommendations of which should be implemented as an immediate
To the wider international committee of guarantors of the Pretoria agreement:
9. Fund MONUC’s expansion program adequately, provide it with
the needed troops and logistics, and contribute to the UN’s consolidated appeal
for humanitarian relief in the Congo.
10. Support financially local and international NGOs involved in
conflict resolution and reconciliation in the Kivus.
11. Support politically and financially a Kivu mediation
mechanism and organisation of a Kivu conference as part of the transitional
12. Establish a contact group to produce a roadmap for physical
reconstruction of the Congo,
including clear good governance benchmarks for disbursement of foreign aid and
support the implementation of the recommendations of the UN panel on the
exploitation of natural resources.
13. Establish a Kivu Trust fund devoted to rebuilding health and
education facilities and financed by taxes raised on private companies
operating in the Kivus.
14. Condition support for the election process on successful
peacemaking in the Kivus.
To the UN Security Council, Secretary General Kofi Annan, and MONUC:
15. Update and strengthen MONUC’s mandate and concept of
operations to support the transition and endow it with the capacity to:
(a) deploy a peacekeeping force along the Congo-Burundi-Rwanda
border to forcefully restrain armed infiltration from the Congo
(b) isolate Kivu-based military groups targeted for DDRRR.
16. Establish a mediation structure within MONUC that will bring
the RCD, the Congo
government and Mai Mai leaders together to agree on a common strategy and joint
operations for Congolese disarmament in the Kivus, which must include a
humanitarian chapter with a framework for the immediate delivery of relief to
all internally displaced persons (IDPs) there.
17. Open negotiations with other African states for resettlement
of those who do not choose to return to Rwanda.
To the Government of South Africa:
18. Encourage Rwanda to establish a promising environment for DDRRR by liberalising its internal
political environment and to adopt an open-door policy towards exiled political
parties provided that those parties:
(a) reject all links with armed groups;
(b) contribute to the arrest and prosecution of known génocidaires by the International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda;
(c) clarify their stand on the genocide and their policies
regarding reconciliation in Rwanda.
19. Urge Rwanda
to accept a UN and/or Africa Union-led political and human rights monitoring
regime for demobilised FDLR soldiers inside the country.
Nairobi/Brussels, 24 January 2003