Cease Fire: Agreement on Ending Hostilities in the Republic of Congo

AGREEMENT ON ENDING HOSTILITIES IN THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Chapter I: Cease-Fire and End of Hostilities

The signatories of this agreement:

Convinced that without peace, our country, the Congo, cannot preserve and consolidate national unity nor promote democracy and development;

Convinced that only dialogue and the non-resort to weapons, without exception, can provide a lasting solution to our country's internal and external conflicts.

Convinced that peace can be restored and preserved through the establishment of a national dialogue, agree to:

Article 1: Put an end to hostilities throughout the national territory and particularly in the regions of Bouenza, Pool, Lekoumou, Niari, and Kouilou.

Chapter II: The Monitoring Commission for the Agreements on Cease-Fire and End of Hostilities

Article 2: The signatories of this agreement agree to the establishment of a mixed and equal Monitoring Commission for the Agreement on Ceasefire and Ending Hostilities, responsible for:
Monitoring and verifying stipulations for the implementation of cease- fires in conflict zones;

Article 3: The mixed and equal Monitoring Commission for the agreements on cease-fire and end of hostilities is placed under the auspices of His Excellency EL Hadj OMAR BONGO, President of the Gabonese Republic.

Article 4: The duties and composition of the aforementioned Committee are listed in the appendix.

Chapter III: General Stipulations

Article 5: The signatories agree to the following:
The free movement of persons and goods, as well as humanitarian personnel, in conflict zones;

Deed Supporting the Responsibilities and Composition of the Monitoring Commission for the Agreements on Cease-Fire and End of Hostilities in the Republic Of Congo (10 January 2000)

Article 6: Members of the Monitoring Commission for the agreements on cease-fire and end of hostilities are from:
the Security Forces;
the Self-Defence Forces of Resistance (FADR). Persons selected for their individual competence may also join.

Article 7: the Monitoring Commission for the agreements on cease-fire and end of hostilities is made up of thirty-one (31) members, including an office of six (06) members as follows:
- a Chairman;
- two Vice-Presidents;
- a Reporter;
- a Secretary;
- a Treasurer

Article 8: The Chairman of the Monitoring Commission for the agreements on cease-fire and end of hostilities is appointed by the International Mediator. The other members are appointed by the signatories of the agreement.

Article 9: The committee adopts its own policies and procedures and budget.

Article 10: The committee 's resources originate from grants, donations, and bequests.

Article 11: The headquarters of the Monitoring Commission for the agreements on cease-fire and end of hostilities is in Brazzaville.
However, it may be transferred to any other place within the national territory, should circumstances require.

Article 12: The committee ceases to exist upon the termination of its tasks.

Implementation History

2000

Full Implementation

The Agreement on Ending Hostilities in the Republic of Congo (29 December 1999) sought to end armed conflict throughout the Republic of Congo and particularly in the Bouenza, Pool, Lekoumou, Niari, and Kouilou regions. All parties to the accord, in this regard, agreed to give up their arms and establish a Monitoring Commission for the Agreements on Ceasefire and Ending Hostilities, responsible for monitoring and verifying stipulations for the implementation of the ceasefire in conflict zones. Parties to the conflict reached an agreement on the modality, function, and composition of the Monitoring Commission on 10 January 2000. On 14 February 2000, four different presidential decrees were announced on the creation, organization, and operation of the Monitoring Commission for the Agreements on Ceasefire and Ending Hostilities (decree 2000-4), for the organization and operation of the Coordination Committee General Secretariat of the Monitoring Commission (decree 2000-5), for the appointment of members of the executive committee of the Monitoring Commission (decree 2000-6), and for the appointment of members of the General Secretariat of the Monitoring Commission (decree 2000-7).1 The Monitoring Commission had a Coordination Committee and an Executive Committee (Article 3, Decree 2000-4); there was an international observer in the Executive Committee (Article 9, Decree 2000-4), which was organized into several specialized working committees, including committees for the collection of weapons and war ammunition (Article 10, Decree 2000-4). The decree also established regional committees throughout the national territory that also included international observers (Article 15 and 17, Decree 2000-4). The Executive Committee was chaired by General GilbertMokoki.2 Louis Gaston Matanghoye was the international observer in the Executive Committee.3

There was no report of violation of the ceasefire agreement.

  • 1. “Décrte Portant Création, Organisation et Fonctionnement du Comité de Suivi Des Accords de Cessez-le-Feu et de Cessation des Hostilités en République du Congo,” Presidence de La Republique (Decrét No 2000–4, 2000-5, 2000-6, 2000-7), February 14, 2000.
  • 2. “International Meeting on the Republic of the Congo: A Country in Transition,” ReliefWeb, accessed February 23, 2012, http://reliefweb.int/node/66683.
  • 3. “Agreement on Ending Hostilities in the Republic of Congo,” Public International Law & Policy Group, accessed February 17, 2012, http://publicinternationallawandpolicygroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/....
2001

Minimum Implementation

Clashes were reported in 2001. There were some clashes on 19 and 20 May 2001 between the army and armed men identified as ex-militia loyal to former Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas. In an incident, two civilians and one soldier died and an estimated 30,000 inhabitants were internally displaced. The Congo Armed Force (FAC) was dispatched to the conflict site to beef up the security.4

2002

Full Implementation

Rebel forces were still in control of the town of Vindza in the Pool region in 2002, but the government recaptured the town of Kimba from the rebel groups.5 In April 2002, the rebels had captured and took an army general hostage, which preluded a distinctive conflict beginning in June 2002.6 The Ntsiloulous faction was fighting for their role in the army and in political decisions. As tensions grew, the rebels attacked the capital city, Brazzaville, which was the first such attack in the capital since the conflict restarted.7 The attack on Brazzaville was dubbed a terrorist act by President Denis Sassou-Nguesso.8 In November 2002, the President gave a month for rebels to surrender.9 Along with the Ntsiloulou group, their leader, Ntoumi, maintained hold of the Pool region with some 1,500 combatants. In late March 2002, fighting re-erupted between Ntsiloulou fighters and the government troops.

  • 5. “Government forces recapture southern Republic of Congo town, reports say,” Associated Press, May 23, 2002.

  • 6. “Republic of Congo's 'Ninja' rebels take general hostage; Catholic priest missing,” Associated Press, April 6, 2002.
  • 7. “Gunfire breaks out in capital of Republic of Congo,” Associated Press, June 14, 2002.
  • 8. “President says rebel attack on the Republic of Congo's capital was terrorist act.” Associated Press, June 19, 2002.
  • 9. “Republic of Congo president gives Ninja rebels one month to lay down arms.” Associated Press, November 19, 2002.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

Ceasefire violations continued in early 2003. The Ntsiloulou rebels attacked a series of villages in the southern Republic of Congo in the regions of Pool and Bouenza. This group was led by renegade pastor Frederic Bitsangou, who had signed the 1999 ceasefire agreements but had taken up arms again. In the attacks more than 15 villagers were killed and the rebels looted and torched homes.10 The Nsiloulous rebels attacked a military train in February, killing one civilian and one soldier.11

There was no report of a violation of the ceasefire after the first three months. This could be attributed to secret negotiations between the government and the Ntsiloulous. Both sides reached an agreement in March 2003 in which the Ntsiloulous reaffirmed their commitment to the 1999 accords and, in return, the government offered amnesty and integration of Ntsiloulous into the national armed forces.12

  • 10. “Rebels attack villages in Republic of Congo, killing more than 15,” Associated Press, January 5, 2003.
  • 11. “Republic of Congo rebels attack military train, killing 2,” Associated Press, February 7, 2003.
  • 12. “UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia,” Uppsala Conflict Data Program, accessed February 23, 2012, www.ucdp.uu.se/database.
2004

Intermediate Implementation

Low-intensity violence was reported during this year. A rail service between the Republic of Congo’s main port of Pointe-Noire and the capital city, Brazzaville, was disrupted by Ninja/Nsiloulous rebels.13

2005

Intermediate Implementation

A few violent incidents involving ex-rebels were reported in October. In one incident, ex-rebels detonated bombs in the capital of Brazzaville several times in one week. It was also reported that the government security forces had launched an operation to uproot former rebels who did not disarm after the 2003 agreement.14 In April, ex-rebels looted UN convoys on their way to a humanitarian mission to assess needs in the poverty-stricken region of the country.15

  • 14. “Government forces battle ex-rebels in Republic of Congo capital,” Associated Press, October 19, 2005.
  • 15. “Rebels stop, loot U.N. convoy in Republic of Congo,” Associated Press, April 24, 2005.
2006

Intermediate Implementation

It was reported that the International Red Cross had halted its operations in the south of the Republic of Congo in January 2006. The halt came after a threat was made against its staff.16 This constituted a violation of the ceasefire agreement. Nevertheless, no clash was reported.

  • 16. “Red Cross suspends operations in southern Republic of Congo for security concerns,” Associated Press, January 16, 2006.
2007

Intermediate Implementation

Ntsoulous rebels blocked key railway lines in September 2007 and the army and ex-rebels exchanged gun-fire. The incident was related to the failure of Frederic Bitsangou to take up his new post as Peace Minister in Brazzaville as planned.17

  • 17. “Republic of Congo's former rebels block key railway line,” Associated Press, 12 September 2007.
2008

Full Implementation

No violation of the ceasefire was reported since 2007.

2009

Full Implementation

No violation of the ceasefire was reported.