DRC: Summary of Lusaka Accord [19990722]

DRC: Summary of Lusaka Accord [19990722]

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Summary of Lusaka accord

NAIROBI, 21 JULY (IRIN) - Following are the main components of the DRC ceasefire agreement signed in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, on 10 July, by leaders of six countries involved in the conflict (the DRC, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Rwanda and Uganda), but not by the Congolese rebel groups:

Cessation of hostilities

Within 24 hours of the signing of the Lusaka agreement, all air, land and sea attacks are to cease and the military forces are to disengage. All acts of violence against the civilian population are also to cease, while the parties are to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance through the opening of aid corridors.

Joint Military Commission

A Joint Military Commission (JMC) - composed of two representatives from each belligerent party under a neutral chairman to be appointed by the OAU - is to be established within one week of the signing of the agreement to oversee its implementation until the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force. The duties of the JMC, which is to operate under the responsibility of a separate ministerial-level political committee, are to include, among other things, investigating reported ceasefire violations, working out mechanisms to disarm militia groups, verifying the disarmament of Congolese civilians, and monitoring the withdrawal of foreign forces.

Deployment of peacekeeping force

An "appropriate" force is to be subsequently deployed by the UN to ensure implementation of the agreement. Among other things, the force is to take necessary measures to ensure compliance, collect weapons from civilians, and schedule and supervise the withdrawal of all foreign forces, in collaboration with the JMC and the OAU. It would also be tasked with providing humanitarian assistance to displaced persons, refugees and other affected persons and ensuring their protection.

Disarmament of militia groups

The agreement envisages the tracking down and disarming of armed groups, the screening of mass killers and war criminals, and the handing over of suspected 'genocidaires' to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania. The countries of origin of members of armed groups are to take necessary measures to facilitate their repatriation, which could include the granting of amnesty to non-genocidaires.

The "armed groups" are identified as the Rwandan ex-FAR and Interahamwe, the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and West Nile Bank Front (WNBF), the Uganda National Rescue Front II (UNRF II), the Former Ugandan National Army (FUNA), the Burundian Forces de defense pour la democratie (FDD) and Angola's UNITA.

National reconciliation

Forty-five days after the signing of the Lusaka agreement, the DRC government, the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), the Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC), unarmed opposition groups and Congolese civil society are to begin up to six weeks of open political negotiations, to culminate in the setting up of a new political dispensation in the DRC.

The negotiations are to be held under the authority of a neutral facilitator acceptable to all Congolese parties, to be chosen within 15 days of the signing. The dialogue's agenda would include the organisation of democratic elections, among other topics. Following the negotiations, a restructured national army is to be formed, which would integrate the forces of the Congolese army, the RCD and the MLC.

Other issues

Other provisions of the agreement include: the release of hostages and exchange of prisoners of war; the reestablishment of state administration over DRC territory; and the need to protect the rights of ethnic groups and to address the security concerns of the DRC and its neighbours.


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Item: irin-english-1274

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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