Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara the Defence Attache at the Rwanda High CommissionUK gave a presentation at the African Agency in Peace, Conflict and Intervention one day seminar held at Birmingham University as part of the British International Studies Association (BISA) Africa and International Studies working group’s seminar series on African Agency in international politics.
The seminar explored the role of African agency in shaping both African and international responses to conflict and insecurity on the continent.
The Presentation: Military Integration – the Rwanda case study by Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara (Rwanda HighCommission, UK)
We are meeting on the 17th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide – a key example of the failure of the international community and Africa to act and a lesson which may well be informing today’s response to crises in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire.
The Rwandan process of military integration before, during and after the
conflict has lessons for peace-building processes. Of three models of military integration (consent model;complete demobilization model; and coercive model) Rwanda most closely followed the consent model with ex-combatants fully integrated into the post-conflict army, although in this case the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) began this process before the end of hostilities.
For Rwanda this was centred on the traditional concept of Ingando: emphasising national interests above sectional ones and providing a focus
for dialogue, emotional un-burdening of combatants on both sides and accepting collective responsibility for the tragedy.
A central aspect of this case was the local ownership and management of the process, with a limited role for international agencies. Ownership and management in this sense referred to: the need for home-grown peace-building processes; making peace a positive-sum game; the need for local capacity in order to be able to say no to a paternalistic and patronising international community; and that the process should not be one of scapegoating but of collective responsibility.
The following questions and responses were raised in the discussion:
– Whose responsibility is it to develop capacity – society, the state or external actors?
– The role of the military is (and needs) changing from the colonial conception of military as guards of power to a more collective understanding of security in society
– The extent to which civil society can be brought into peace-building processes and the critical need for stability as a prerequisite for broadening out such processes
– Critical need for leveraging agencies that are often excluded or marginalised, particularly women, who can make a major difference to the dynamics of conflict resolution
For details of the full presentation or to discuss the presentation, Please email Gen. Frank Rusagara at email@example.com