Police Reform: Ouagadougou Political Agreement (OPA)

OUAGADOUGOU POLITICAL AGREEMENT 

III. Defence and Security Forces of Côte d'Ivoire

The Parties to this Agreement, recognizing that the national army must be the symbol of the unity and cohesion of the nation and the guarantor of the stability of the institutions of the Republic, have undertaken to restructure and reorganize their two armed forces with a view to the creation of new defence and security forces that are committed to the values of integrity and republican morality.

A special mechanism for the restructuring and reorganization of the army shall be created by law to establish the general framework for the organization, composition and operation of the new defence and security forces. The two Parties have therefore decided to merge their two forces by creating an integrated operational structure.

6.2.3. Joint units comprised of equal numbers of FAFN and FDS members and with responsibility for conducting police and security missions shall be deployed in the zone of confidence. These units shall be abolished when the process of reform and restructuring of the army is complete.

Implementation History

2007

Minimum Implementation

The Ouagadougou Political Agreement had a provision for restructuring and reorganizing two armed forces into one Defence and Security Forces. The accord calls for reform in the security sector including in the police force. Article 6.2.3 of the accord calls for the creation of joint units comprised of equal numbers of FAFN and FDS members with the responsibility for conducting police and security missions in the zone of confidence.

The United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) was responsible for maintaining law and order in the zone of confidence, which was supposed to be dismantled. UNOCI’s involvement was replaced by the deployment of mixed police units comprised of combatants from both sides. The Integrated Command Centre, comprised of combatants from both sides, was established with a presidential decree on 16 March 2007.1 After the establishment of CCI, six joint police units comprised of personnel from Forces nouvelles and Defence and Security Forces (FDS) were deployed in six different places by 15 September.2

When two chiefs of staff met on 14 and 17 December 2007 in the presence of the Force Commanders of UNOCI, the French Licorne force, and the coordinator of the National Programme for Reintegration and Community Rehabilitation (NPRRC), it was agreed that 4,000 Forces nouvelles combatants would be integrated into the national police and gendarmerie.3 However, no Forces nouvelles combatants were absorbed or integrated in the police force as of December 2007.

  • 1. "Ivory Coast Takes Step to Unify Military Forces," New York Times, March 17, 2007; also see "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2007/593), October 1, 2007).
  • 2. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2007/593), October 1, 2007.
  • 3. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2008/1), January 2, 2008.
2008

Minimum Implementation

A facilitator presented a proposal on 5 January 2008 to integrate 600 Forces Nouvelles security auxiliaries, trained by UNOCI in 2006, and 3,400 additional Forces nouvelles combatants into the police and gendarmerie forces after meeting the national recruitment criteria.4  The process of integrating Forces Nouvelles personnel into the police and military stalled; however, parties reached an agreement on 22 December that called for the immediate, albeit temporary, integration of the Ivorian police and gendarmerie.5 This, however, did not take place in 2008.

  • 4. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2008/250), April 15, 2008.
  • 5. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2009/21), January 8, 2009.
2009

Intermediate Implementation

Significant progress was made towards integrating Forces nouvelles combatants into the police force and deploying them into joint integrated units. As reported to the United Nations Security Council, 3,400 Forces nouvelles personnel were integrated and deployed as police and gendarmerie elements under the Integrated Command Center.6 The 4,000 integrated Forces nouvelles combatants were deployed by the Integrated Command Centers with an equal number of police and gendarmerie from the Ivorian police force. However, it was reported that the Forces nouvelles personnel serving in the joint units did not receive their salaries while those from the Ivorian police and gendarmerie did receive salaries. 7 This completes the police reform provision of the accord.

  • 6. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2009/196), April 13, 2009.
  • 7. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2009/495), September 29, 2009.
2010

Intermediate Implementation

The police reform took place in 2009 when 4,000 Forces nouvelles combatants joined the Ivorian police and gendarmerie force and were deployed in mixed units by the Integrated Command Centre. However, it was not clear whether the integration became permanent or not.

2011

Intermediate Implementation

After the contested presidential election, Defence and Security Forces, including the police and gendarmerie remained politicized and divided either as a loyal to the president or to the Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI). Forces nouvelles changed its name to Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) on 9 March 2011.8 It was uncertain whether the police and gendarmerie force would unite and be able to return to work.

However, the government made a decision to form the police, gendarmerie, and correction system based upon the old services. There were an estimated 30,000 police and gendarmes in Ivory Coast before the electoral dispute. As of June 2011, 85 percent of the forces registered to return to their work stations (Source: United Nations Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council, S/2011/387, 24 June 2011). By December 2011, over 90 percent of police and gendarmerie forces had returned to work (Source: United Nations Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council, S/2011/807, 30 December 2011).

  • 8. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2011/211), March 30, 2011.
2012

Intermediate Implementation

In early 2012, police and gendarmerie forces were redeployed all over the country butthey lacked infrastructural and logistical preparation.9 A steering committee with representatives from international community along with the UNOCI was formed in an effort to reform the national police. The Minister of the Interior chaired the committee.10 

  • 9. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2012/186), March 29, 2012.
  • 10. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2012/506), June 29, 2012.
2013

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2014

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2015

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.