Military Reform: Arusha Accord - 4 August 1993

Protocol of Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front on the Integration of the Armed Forces of the Two Parties (9 June 1993

The Government of the Republic of Rwanda on the one hand, and the Rwandese Patriotic Front on the other;

Agree on the following provisions on the integration of the Armed Forces of the two parties:

Chapter 1: The National Army: Section 1: Missions and Principles

Article 1

Subject to modalities and principles mutually agreed upon between the two parties in the present Protocol of Agreement, for the formation of the National Army, the latter shall fulfil the following missions and shall be guided by the principles below:

A. Missions

1. Defend the national territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the country;

2. Participate, within the framework established by laws and regulations and in consultation with relevant authorities, in operations of maintenance and restoration of law and order as well as in the execution of laws;

3. Participate in relief operations in the event of natural calamities;

4. Contribute to the development of the country, especially through reconstruction and production activities.

B. Principles

1. As an institution, the National Army shall be governed by the laws and regulations of the country;

2. The National Army shall be at the disposal of the Government and shall be subordinated to its
authority, the two institutions abiding by the Fundamental Law as defined in the Peace Agreement, laws, democratic principles and the Rule of Law;

3. The National Army shall be non-partisan;

4. The National Army shall be a regular Army, composed solely of volunteer Rwandese citizens
recruited on the basis of their competence. It shall be open to any Rwandese Nationals, irrespective of their ethnic group, region, sex, religion or language;

5. Members of the National Army shall have the right to be informed about the socio-political life of the country. They shall benefit from civic and political education. To that effect, the Government shall set up a programme for the civic and political education of servicemen;

6. Members of the National Army shall not be affiliated to political parties or to any other association of a political nature. They shall neither take part in activities or demonstrations of political parties or associations. They shall not portray their political allegiances in public;

7. Members of the National Army shall exercise their right to vote. Given the type of the current organization of the Army, however, its members cannot participate in local elections;

8. Members of the National Army may present their candidature for political elective posts, on condition that they resign from the Army.

Section 2: Size, Structure and Organization

Article 2

The strength of the National Army (Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, Corporals and Privates) shall be thirteen thousand (13,000) men.

The ratio between the various categories with respect to the whole size of the Army, shall be 6% for Officers, 22% for Non-Commissioned Officers and 72% for men.

Sub-Section 2: Structure

Article 3

The National Army shall comprise:

1. An Army Command High Council;

2. The Army Headquarters;

3. Four (4) Territorial Brigades;

4. Specialised Units under the Army Headquarters;

5. Support and Service Units under the Army Headquarters.

The Organizational Chart indicating the structure of the National Army is reproduced as Annex I of the present Protocol and is an integral part of it.

Sub-Section 3: Organization

Paragraph 1: The Army Command High Council

Article 4

An Army Command High Council (ACHC) is hereby established and shall, in line with the policy set by the

Government, be the highest military organ of consultation and decision-making for matters related to defence and the organization of the Army. It shall be accountable to the Government through the Minister of Defence.

Article 5: Composition

The Army Command High Council shall be composed of:

The Chief of Staff of the National Army: Chairman

The Deputy Chief of Staff of the National Army: Vice-Chairman

Brigade Commanders (4): Members

Second in Command of Brigades (4): Members

Article 6: Functions

The Army Command High Council shall exercise the following functions:

1. Study modalities of implementing the Government policy in matters of defence.

2. Ensure the execution of the defence policy of the country.

3. Set up, in line with the Government general policy, a doctrine of utilization of the Army by establishing mechanisms and strategies for the defence of the national territory as well as the maximum utilization of resources.

4. Approve plans for the utilization of the Army.

5. Draw guidelines for the organization of the supply of logistics.

6. Provide advice, either on its own initiative or upon the request of the Minister of Defence, on defence policy plans, the overall organization of the Army, the state of military service and on any military issue of general concern.

7. Ensure the implementation of the organisation plan of the Army.

8. Study major issues confronting the Units and take decisions to be implemented by the Army headquarters or make recommendations to the Minister of Defence for appropriate action.

9. Supervise the process of formation of the National Army.

Article 7: Meetings

The Army Command High Council shall meet once a month in an ordinary session upon convocation by its Chairman.

The Chairman may call for an extraordinary session when and as needed, and especially 6n instruction from the Minister of Defence, or at the request of anyone of its members.

The agenda of the meeting shall be specified upon notification to attend.

Article 8: Mode of Decision-Taking

Decisions shall be taken by consensus and communicated to the Minister of Defence.

Decisions or recommendations by the Army Command High Council shall be conveyed to the echelons concerned through the Army Chief of Staff.

Article 9: Rules of Procedure

The Army Command High Council shall establish its own rules of procedure.

Paragraph 4: Integration Operations

Article 73: Criteria for the Selection of Servicemen in the National Army

The selection of servicemen to constitute the National Army by each party and those to be demobilized shall be carried out in the Assembly points. Servicemen to constitute the National Army should meet the following criteria:

1. Officers

They should:

- be volunteers;

- be serving as Officers;

- be Rwandese Nationals.

-be physically fit, i.e. they should obtain a certificate of physical fitness from a registered physician.

-The war-wounded and handicapped shall, however, remain eligible for Army service, according to their specializations, unlike the disabled servicemen who shall be demobilized but assisted. This shall apply to all categories of servicemen.

- be at least 21 years of age.

2. Non-Commissioned Officers

They should:

- be volunteers;

- be serving as Non-Commissioned Officers;

- be Rwandese Nationals;

- be physically fit;

- be at least 18 years old.

3. Troops

They should:

- be volunteers;

- be serving in the Army;

-be Rwandese Nationals;

- be physically fit;

- be at least 18 years old.

For all 3 categories of servicemen, a cross-check shall be made out in case of any doubt concerning personal particulars, as per criteria spelled out above.

Each party shall determine independently the rank and seniority of each member of its force.

Article 74: Proportions and Distribution of Command Posts

During the establishment of the National Army, the proportions and distribution of Command posts between the two parties shall abide by the following principles:

1. The Government forces shall contribute 60% of the forces and the RPF 40% of the forces for all levels apart from the posts of Command described below.

2. In the chain of Command, from the Army Headquarters to the Battalion, each party shall have a 50% representation for the following posts:

Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Heads of Departments at the Army General Headquarters (G1, G2, G3, G4), Brigade Commanders, Seconds in Command of Brigades, Heads of Sections at Brigade Headquarters (S1, S2, 53, S4), Battalion Commanders and Seconds in Command of Battalions, Commanders and Seconds in Command of Specialized Units, namely: Paracommando, Reconnaissance, Military Police Battalions, and of Support Units, Engineering, Field Artillery, Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalions and the Logistics Center; Commanders and Seconds in Command of the Schools -ESM and ESO -and Commanders and Seconds in Command of the Training Centres in BIGOGWE and BUGESERA.

3. All top posts described above shall be distributed among the Officers of the Rwandese Government and those of the RPF in accordance with the principle of alternation.

Thus, the Rwandese Government forces and the RPF forces shall supply an equal number of Brigade and Battalion Commanders, of Seconds in Command of Brigade and Battalion, of Heads of Department at the Army Headquarters, of Heads of Section at Brigade Headquarters; of Commanders and Seconds in Command of Specialized and Support Units, of Schools and Training Centers described above. However, neither force can hold at the same time the posts of Commander and Second in Command within the same Unit.

4. Without prejudice to Article 73, the proportions of the two forces in all the structures of the National Army shall be affected by no prerequisite condition in terms of accessibility. Thus, adequate training shall be given to the servicemen retained without fulfilling all the necessary requirements in accordance with the modalities determined by the Army Command High Council.

5. The post of Chief of Staff of the National Army shall be held to the Government party and the one of Deputy Chief of Staff to the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF).

Article 75: Specific Case of Officer Trainees in ESM and Non-Commissioned Officer Trainees in ESO

The Trainees still following their studies in the Schools of the Armed Forces as well as servicemen undergoing short term training abroad shall be considered as active members of the Armed Forces.

The recruitment within the Armed Forces shall be frozen until the end of the Transition Period. The Broad-Based Transitional Government may, however, decide, after seeking advice from the Army Command High Council and the Command Council of the National Gendarmerie to resume admission to the School of Armed Forces before the end of the Transition Period.

Paragraph 5: Training of the National Army

Article 76

Elements of each Force selected to constitute the National Army shall undergo training for purposes of harmonizing techniques and achieving harmonious integration of servicemen.

Article 77: Training Phases

The training shall be carried out in two phases:

Phase 1: The separate training of servicemen of the Rwandese Armed Forces and the Rwandese Patriotic Army shall be conducted in their respective zones. This phase shall be aimed at preparing servicemen of both parties to live together in their future Units so as to constitute a single Army and do away with the spirit of antagonism nurtured by the war. The duration of the separate training shall be one month.

Phase 2: The joint training of the Units to constitute the National Army shall be dispensed to servicemen from the two Forces, in the same training centres.

That training shall be dispensed to servicemen to constitute the National Army and selected by each party, in accordance with the criteria spelled out under Article 73 of the present Protocol.

It shall, as much as possible, begin after the designation of servicemen within their Units.

This phase shall be aimed at harmonizing techniques of the two armies, nurturing the team spirit, enhancing the patriotic spirit and that of reconciliation. Such training shall be organized in training centres in three (3) batches composed of more or less than four thousand and four hundred (4,400) men. Each batch shall undergo a two-month training in the centres.

The duration of the joint training shall be 7 months, i.e. two (2) months training for each batch, and 2 x 15 days of preparation between the batches. Servicemen who will not be selected for the first batch shall be waiting in the Assembly points for their turn.

The Army Command High Council shall decide on the overall training programme as well as on the sequence of rotations in training centres.

The programme and calendar of training are attached of the present Protocol as Annex II and are an integral part of this Protocol.

Article 78: Instructors

For all the training phases, recourse shall be made to Rwandese instructors provided by the two parties and foreign instructors. The latter shall be provided by countries to be agreed upon by the two parties as well as the Neutral International Force. The number of instructors shall amount to 10% of the number of servicemen to be trained in each batch.

The joint training of Rwandese instructors shall be undertaken, as much as possible, before the separate training of servicemen from both parties.

Article 79: Joint Commission of Programmes

An Ad Hoc Joint Commission of Programmes is hereby set up and shall be responsible for the elaboration of syllabuses relating to all subjects to be taught during the separate and joint training periods. Those syllabuses should be made available before the disengagement of the forces of the two parties.

The said Commission shall start its work before 15th August, 1993 and shall be expected to be through by 31st August, 1993.

The draft syllabuses elaborated by each party shall constitute the basis for the work of the Commission.

The Commission shall work under the Chairmanship of the Neutral Military Observer Group Commander or a person appointed by him. The latter shall come into touch with the two parties so as to set up the calendar of work.

Implementation History


No Implementation

No military reforms took place in 1993. 


No Implementation

Rwanda’s armed forces were an estimated 30,000 strong when genocidal violence erupted in 1994. The military strength increased to 70,000 in 2002 and dropped to 33,000 as of 2007.1

The Arusha accord of 1993 contained several provisions for military reform including the composition of the armed forces. According to the accord, government forces were to comprise 60% of the new force and the RPF were to comprise 40%. The proposed armed force was said to be 13,000 strong. After the genocide of 1994, most of the members of Armed Force of Rwanda fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The victorious rebel group Rwandan Patriotic Front’s armed wing Rwandan Patriotic Army became the Rwandan Defense Forces on July 19, 1994. This was formally institutionalized in the law N° 19/2002 of 17/05/2002.2


No Implementation

No developments observed this year. 


No Implementation

No developments observed this year. 


Intermediate Implementation

Although the military reform started in Rwanda with the signing of Arusha Accord in 1993, the actual reform was not in line with the Arusha Accord. Reform was, for the most part, domestically driven as tensions arose between the Government of National Unity and international actors i.e. France, U.N. Peacekeeping, who had previously failed to respond to the genocide. The Rwandan government started to reduce the size of the military in response to pressure from international donor agencies in 1997.3 This phase began in September 1997 and continued until February 2001 and involved the demobilization of 18,692 soldiers from the Rwandan army (RPA), 2,364 of whom were child soldiers. In this phase, some 15,000 ex-FAR combatants were integrated into the RPA and approximately 15,000 settled in Rwanda. Even if the overall objective of the RDRP Stage I was to reduce the size of the armed force to an economically sustainable level, the integration of the ex-FRA made the change economically insignificant.4

  • 3. "Rwanda Starts Demobilization," Saint Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota), September 30, 1997.
  • 4. "The Second Stage of Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Programme (RDRP Stage II)," RDRC, 2002.

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.


Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.


Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.


Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.


Intermediate Implementation

In an effort to reform the military, the government enacted a law (no. 19/2002) on 17 May 2002 that called for the demobilization of members of Rwandan Defense Force, Former Armed Force of Rwanda, and other formerly armed groups. When the law was enacted in 2002, the RDA controlled 51,000 armed personnel. Through the RDRP Stage II, 22,000 Rwandan Defense Force members were expected to be demobilized resulting in a smaller and more professionalized armed force. As of June 2008, 22,362 RDF soldiers were demobilized exceeding their target.5 This reform initiative was supported by World Bank, DFID, GTZ and Multi Donor Trust Fund, African Union and the government of Rwanda.6

The Rwandan armed force is now an integrated and reformed armed force. Yet, it did not meet the 13,000 personnel goal as agreed to in the Arusha Accord of 1993.