Disarmament: Ouagadougou Political Agreement (OPA)

OUAGADOUGOU POLITICAL AGREEMENT 

3.2. National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme

3.2.1. The Parties to this Agreement undertake to disarm their respective forces as soon as possible, in accordance with the recommendations of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and the modalities laid down in the following military agreements:
The Joint Plan for DDR Operations (PCO) signed on 9 January 2004 and updated at the seminar on disarmament held from 2 to 6 May 2005 in Yamoussoukro under the auspices of the South African mediation;
The National DDR Programme and its accompanying timetable adopted on 9 July 2005 in Yamassoukro;
The conclusions of the working meeting held in Yamoussoukro on Saturday 14 May 2005 between the Chiefs of Staff of FANCI and FAFN.

3.2.2. The Parties agree to accelerate the disbanding and disarmament of militias.

3.2.3. The Parties agree to accelerate the process of assembly of the combatants on the 17 previously identified sites and to abide by the updated DDR timetable.

Implementation History

2007

Minimum Implementation

In the Ouagadougou Political Agreement parties agreed to the national Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration program. The parties committed to various agreements negotiated before the Ouagadougou Political Agreement, including the 17 previously identified and agreed sites for the assembly of the combatants. The accord also provided for the establishment of the Integrated Command Centre for carrying out the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of ex-combatants.

The Integrated Command Centre (CCI) was established after the presidential decree of 16 March 2007 and was tasked with carrying out the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of ex-combatants.1 Nevertheless, the formal establishment of the CCI took place a month later on 16 April.2

The disarmament process started when President Gbagbo officially launched the symbolic destruction ceremony in Guiglo on 19 May. During the ceremony, militia leaders handed over 555 weapons, which were then handed over to the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI).3 However, disarmament could not be achieved due to the lack of clarity on reintegration incentives for the ex-combatants.4 Parties signed a third supplementary agreement to expedite the DDR process on 7 December 2007.5 The slower disarmament process, however, may have been the result of the insistence of Forces Nouvelles on having a simplified process for its combatants to join the army without disarming.6

  • 1. “Ivory Coast Takes Step to Unify Military Forces,” New York Times, March 17, 2007; “Fourteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2007/ 593), October 1, 2007.
  • 2. “Fourteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2007/ 593), October 1, 2007.
  • 3. “Fourteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2007/ 593), October 1, 2007.
  • 4. “Fifteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/1), January 2, 2008.
  • 5. “Fifteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/1), January 2, 2008.
  • 6. “Fourteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2007/ 593), October 1, 2007.
2008

Minimum Implementation

The third supplementary agreement set a 22 December 2007 deadline for the commencement of the cantonment process for the state as well as for the Forces Nouvelles. As reported on 24 January, 12,000 soldiers in the Defence and Security Forces were cantoned and registered as provisioned for in the third supplementary agreement. They also deposited their weapons in storage. The cantonment of Forces Nouvelles combatants, however, did not progress significantly. As of 1 April 2008, there were only 109 Forces Nouvelles ex-combatants cantoned. The lack of clarity about the integration program was the likely reason for the lack of progress.7 Among 2,000 militia members who were registered in June 2006, only 981 were disarmed and received cash allowances.8

By the end of the year, out of a total strength of 34,678 combatants declared by Forces Nouvelles, 11,364 combatants, including 455 female combatants, were cantoned. Among cantoned combatants, “7,598 have chosen to be demobilized, including 802 foreign combatants (from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, the Niger, Nigeria and Togo), and 3,766 have expressed interest in joining the new national army. Only 10 weapons and some ammunition were collected".9 As progress on DDR did not move smoothly, parties negotiated a fourth supplementary agreement on 22 December 2008 that called for the completion of the DDR process two months prior to the elections.10

  • 7. “Sixteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/250), April 15, 2008.
  • 8. “Sixteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/250), April 15, 2008.
  • 9. “Eighteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/645), October 13, 2008.
  • 10. “Nineteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2009/21), January 8, 2009.
2009

Minimum Implementation

For the entire year, no significant progress was made in terms of the disarmament of ex-combatants. It was suggested that financial and logistical challenges slowed the DDR process.11

  • 11. “Twenty-third progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/15), January 7, 2010.
2010

Minimum Implementation

Forces Nouvelles combatants were demobilized in October but only a limited number of weapons were collected and most of them were unserviceable.12 The limited collection of weapons was possibly the result of the Forces Nouvelles’s insistence that their combatants join the army without going through the disarmament process.

  • 12. “Twenty-sixth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/600), November 23, 2010.
2011

Minimum Implementation

After contested elections in 2010 and the subsequent capturing of former president Gbagbo, some progress was made towards disarming former militias. Between June and December 2011, 828 weapons and 220,265 rounds of ammunition were collected from an estimated 1,300 combatants in 29 different locations.13

  • 13. “Twenty-ninth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2011/807), December 30, 2011.
2012

Minimum Implementation

With UNOCI support, a national policy concerning DDR was adopted on August 2 and provided for a single entity to oversee the process: the Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (ADDR).

"The Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration developed a pilot programme for an initial caseload of 5,000 former combatants to be processed at the Anyama demobilization site in Abidjan. The operation targeted mainly elements associated with FRCI who had fought on the of President Ouattara during the post-elections crisis. . . . As of 18 December, 1,194 former combatants, including 63 women, have been disarmed and demobilized, while 861 weapons have been collected. . . . The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration operations are planned to continue in other parts of the country. The two sites rehabilitated by UNOCI in Guiglo and Bouaké are ready for operations, and the remaining six, in San Pedro, Man, Séguéla, Korhogo, Bouna and Abengourou, are expected to be completed by mid-2013."14

"UNOCI also continued to support the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which has conducted nine ad hoc operations across the country to encourage the voluntary handover of weapons. During those operations, a total of 112 weapons and 6,323 rounds of ammunition were collected."15

The disarmament process for militias was still going on as of November 2012, although there were outbreaks of violence in December. Since July 2011, the disarmament program that received support from UNOCI had collected 1,163 weapons and 225,154 rounds of ammunition from 1,351 combatants.16

  • 14. "Thirty-first progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2012/964), December 31, 2012, paragraphs 34-36.
  • 15. Ibid., paragraph 37.
  • 16. "Thirtieth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2012/506), June 29, 2012, paragraph 32.
2013

Intermediate Implementation

In a special report by the Secretary General in March 2013, it was noted that assessment teams in the Ivory Coast continued to identify former combatants as a “major threat” to lasting stability.  Progress was noted – from the establishment of the ADDR, to the ad hoc DDR of about 2,000 former combatants, to the continued efforts to DDR a further 2,000.  A more comprehensive plan was being developed with UN support although concerns persisted over the weapons-per-combatant ratio which was well below the desired 1:1 ratio.17

Nonetheless, overall progress on disarmament was noted as being "halting and uneven": “The national implementation strategy has yet to be finalized, and disarmament and demobilization operations therefore remain largely ad hoc in nature, often depending on negotiations between the Government and former commanders. A large number of former combatants remain unregistered, which has led to questions as to the credibility of the Government database.”18

However, as the year went on, the process gained momentum. In June, 5,973 former combatants, including 460 women, had been disarmed and demobilized, while 3,489 weapons, 28,355 rounds of ammunition and 2,448 items of explosive ammunition had been collected, registered and/or destroyed, with United Nations support.19 These numbers rose by December: 15,456 former combatants, including 1,002 women, had been disarmed and demobilized, while 5,838 weapons, 258,002 rounds of small arms ammunition and 6,800 items of explosive ordnance had been collected, registered and/or destroyed, with United Nations support.20

“The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants remained a key priority of President Ouattara, who has requested his Government to expedite the disarmament and demobilization of 30,000 combatants by the end of 2013 and to complete the process by 2015. The Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration subsequently proposed a two-year programme aimed at processing a caseload of approximately 65,000 [down from 110,000 after further verification efforts] former combatants, costing some $145 million according to Government estimates.”21 Despite increased success, the initial target of 30,000 would not be met.  The Government extended the duration of the process to June 30, 2015, with a revised target for 2013 of 23,000 combatants. Meanwhile, the caseload of eligible former combatants increased from 66,777 to 74,068.22

  • 17. "Special Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2013/197), March 28, 2013, paragraph 40.
  • 18. "Thirty-second progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2013/377), June 26, 2013, paragraph 39.
  • 19. Ibid., paragraph 35.
  • 20. "Thirty-third progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2013/761), December 24, 2013, paragraph 36.
  • 21. "Thirty-second progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2013/377), June 26, 2013, paragraphs 36, 41.
  • 22. "Thirty-third progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2013/761), December 24, 2013, paragraph 35.
2014

Intermediate Implementation

“With support from UNOCI, the national Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration finalized its programmatic framework, which was presented to international partners in February. It also developed partnerships with national financial, training and employment institutions, as well as international donors.”23

“On 4 November, the Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration announced that some 44,000 former combatants, including 3,538 women, had been disarmed and that a revised total of 67,460 former combatants were expected to undergo the process by 30 June 2015. As at 1 December, Government statistics revealed that a total of 27,034 weapons, including grenades, and 1,537 items of explosive ordnance had been collected.”24

“Since early 2014, enrollment of former combatants into the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process decreased significantly, including as a result of limited reinsertion and reintegration opportunities.”25

“However, inclusion and transparency remained a challenge.” In May, “the rate of inclusion of combatants who had been affiliated with former President Gbagbo remained low, at 13 per cent, while a significant number of persons who had not been registered in the national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration database were included retroactively.”26

  • 23. "Thirty-fourth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2014/342), May 15, 2014, paragraph 31.
  • 24. "Thirty-fifth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2014/892), December 12, 2014, paragraph 31.
  • 25. Ibid., paragraph 32
  • 26. "Thirty-fourth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2014/342), May 15, 2014, paragraph 32.
2015

Intermediate Implementation

According to the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UNOCI and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) conducted 136 disarmement and demobalization operations between December 2014 and May 2015. In those operations, 4,374  former combatants associated with FRCI and  Forces nouvelles handed over 377 weapons,  49,138 rounds of small arms ammunition and 1,814 items of explosive ordnance.27

  • 27. " "Thirty-six progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2015/320), May 7, 2015, paragraph 40.)