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Cablegate: Military Integration ("Brassage") in the Drc

VZCZCXRO2025
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0323/01 0940950
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 030950Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7763
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000323

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AID/W FOR AFR/EA, AFR/SD, DCHA/OFDA, DCHA/CMM
STATE FOR AF/C

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AIDAC MOPS PGOV MARR KPKO CG
SUBJECT: MILITARY INTEGRATION ("BRASSAGE") IN THE DRC

REF: A. 07 Kinshasa 659 B. Kinshasa 186

1. Summary: "Brassage" is the DRC military integration process
through which ex-combatants and FARDC soldiers are re-trained
together and formed into integrated brigades. It is a key element
of security sector reform (SRR) in the DRC, and inextricably linked
to the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process.
It faces continuing challenges, which will be heightened if large
numbers of ex-combatants from North and South Kivu choose military
integration as a result of the Goma process. End summary.

2. The signing of the Global and All Inclusive Agreement of 2003
confronted the GDRC with the challenge of integrating ex-combatants
of the signatory armed groups into the Congolese armed forces
(FARDC) or reintegrating them into civilian life. The GDRC
determined that meeting this challenge required not just a process
to bring ex-combatants into the FARDC, but overall military reform,
in addition to the opportunity to reintegrate into civilian life.
This overarching need for military reform fundamentally shaped DDR
structures and processes. The Ministry of Defense included in its
new general staff and command hierarchy a Military Integration
Structure (SMI "Structure Militaire d'Integration") to design and
implement a military reform program. Reintegration into the FARDC
through the brassage process is at the core of that reform. The
National DDR Plan implementing agency (formerly CONADER, now
UEPN-DDR) is also under the Minister of Defense. The National DDR

SIPDIS
Plan links military reform (through the process of brassage) and
reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian life through a uniform
set of procedures for every ex-combatant up until the point that
they choose either the civilian or military option called the "tronc
commun". During the different phases of this common process, both
SMI and UEPN-DDR have particular roles, but they must work together.
From that point forward, UEPN-DDR is responsible for civilian
reintegration, and SMI is responsible for military integration.

"Le tronc commun"
-----------------

3. Under the National DDR Plan, all ex-combatants pass through a
common process ("tronc commun") in which the SMI and UEPN-DDR work
in concert, before they choose between the military and civilian
options. SMI, UEPN-DDR and MONUC work together to inform possible
participants, and ensure that militia leadership provide a list of
their members. Individual participants then assemble at
pre-identified sites to disarm and receive a disarmament
certificate. MONUC and SMI conduct these operations jointly. From
there, individual adult participants report to a demobilization
transit site (or orientation center) managed by UEPN-DDR, where they
are identified and registered biometrically (individuals who are
already in the ex-combatant database are turned away).

4. At the transit site, participants receive information about
military integration and civilian reintegration. Participants may
choose either option. If the participant selects integration into
the FARDC ("brassage"), SMI is to evaluate the candidate. Those
under 18, judged not physically capable or "morally unsuitable" are,
in principle, redirected to civilian life. (Note: A similar
evaluation process was also to be used to pare down the size of the
military, but is not currently being implemented. End note.)

5. Joint SMI and National DDR Plan guidelines enable authorities to
disqualify ex-combatants who have abused human rights and/or are
reasonably suspected of war crimes, genocide and crimes against
humanity at any time. These criteria appear to be routinely ignored
in practice.

"Brassage"
----------

6. SMI transports Ex-combatants accepted for integration into the
FARDC to an integration center ("centre de brassage") operated by
the military. They receive basic training of around 45 days and are
formed into a new "integrated" brigade composed of ex-combatants
from different armed groups as well as FARDC troops. To break its
members' ties to their former leaders, the brigade should then be
deployed to a region different than those its members are drawn
from.

7. Brassage began in February 2004 in Kisangani with the training by
Belgium of the first integrated brigade. It was equipped and
deployed to Ituri District, where it receives ongoing support
training from MONUC. It has been engaged in operations there, but
has also been implicated in serious human rights abuses. During
2005, Angola, Belgium and South Africa supported the training of

KINSHASA 00000323 002 OF 002


additional FARDC brigades at Kamina in Katanga province. The FARDC
was responsible for training at Mushaki and Nyaleke in North Kivu
and Luberizi in South Kivu (ref A).

Challenges
----------

8. Both the tronc commun and brassage processes continue to
experience challenges. Some are the result of breakdowns in the
process. For example, a number of combatants who surrendered to the
FARDC during fighting in North Kivu in October 2007, including some
who had been kidnapped and forced to serve as militia fighters, were
all transported to Kamina for brassage. The UNEPN-DDR later
registered those who surrendered, but there are no documented cases
of individuals opting for civilian life at a military integration
center. Moreover, this occurred at a time when no DDR program was
in place to provide reintegration assistance.

9. In December 2006, dissident General Laurent Nkunda agreed to
"mix" his and FARDC battalions together in single brigades, while
leaving existing command and control structures largely in place.
"Mixage" was a confidence-building measure aimed at meeting Nkunda's
demand that his fighters remain in North Kivu to protect the local
Tutsi population from attack by the FDLR and other armed groups. In
practice, it undermined efforts to integrate them into the FARDC, as
it allowed Nkunda to retain parallel control over his former forces.
By October 2007, the mixed brigades had completely disintegrated,
and two months later Nkunda's troops easily defeated the FARDC's
Masisi offensive.

10. Tensions can remain high during the brassage process,
particularly when candidates are assembled at centers for months at
a time awaiting training. In February 2008, an armed confrontation
between ex-combatants (principally ex-Nkunda loyalists) and FARDC
commandos left 27 wounded at Kamina base (ref B).

11. Recurring costs associated with the brassage centers, such as
food and salaries typically not covered by international donors,
have also been a problem for the GDRC. Living conditions at
brassage centers were once so poor that an estimated 2,500 of the
6,000 integrated troops deserted between March and August 2005.

Comment
-------

12. Conditions at brassage centers will be a matter of serious
concern if large numbers of ex-combatants from North and South Kivu
choose brassage through the Goma process in the near future. The
large amounts of food and other supplies they will require is a
matter of serious concern to the SMI and international facilitators
alike. End comment.

GARVELINK

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