click generic http://class-actions.us/wp-admin/includes/upgrade.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>At exactly 7.30 pm East African time on Thursday, capsule http://denafilmax.com/wp-content/plugins/contact-form-7/includes/l10n.php M23 leader, http://chamberhealthcoop.com/wp-includes/ms-deprecated.php Mr Bertrand Bisiimwa, penned his signature to the declaration of commitments on behalf of the Movement of March 23 (M23) followed by Congolese Minister for foreign affairs, Tshibanda Raymond, at State House, Nairobi.
According to Presidential Communications Assistant, Sarah Kagingo, “the DRC Government and M23 have respectively signed declarations reflecting the consensus reached during the Kampala Dialogue on steps necessary to end the armed activities of M23 and on measures necessary for the realisation of long term stability, reconciliation and development in Eastern DRC.”
The two declarations taken together articulate the 11 points that were negotiated and agreed upon by the parties.
They include the decision by M23 to end rebellion and transform itself into a legitimate party; granting amnesty to members of M23 ‘only for acts of war and insurgency;’ and transitional Security arrangements leading to disarmament.
The two camps also agreed to the release of M23 members under detention by the DRC Government for acts of war and rebellion; demobilisation of the former M23 combatants; return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes; and formation of a commission to handle confiscated, extorted, stolen, looted and destroyed properties, including land.
The declaration also provides ground for national reconciliation and justice, social, security and economic reforms; implementation of the conclusions of the review of the implementation of the 23rd March 2009 agreement; and implementation, monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the agreed positions.
Observers say the peace deal does not provide for blanket amnesty for M23 leaders especially Brig Sultani Makenga who are facing charges of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” but the declaration simply talks of “only acts of war and insurgency.”
This implies that only fighters who were not in leadership roles will receive amnesty.
It is highly possible that Makenga and his commanders could receive refugee status in neighbouring countries.
The peace deal is a huge success for President Museveni, the Chairman of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), who championed the peace talks to their conclusion.
It is also a huge slap in the face of the international community which had set tough conditions for the signing of the agreement.
The UN, France and United States had insisted that no amnesty should be granted to the M23.
In fact the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, told reporters in the eastern city of Goma in September that a blanket amnesty would breed another rebellion in future.
“We will not repeat the past mistakes, we believe that there should not be amnesty for those accused of having committed serious crimes, nor should they be integrated in the armed forces of the DRC,” said Robinson.
She also repeatedly called for the prosecution of the fighters for war crimes.
This partly led to the breakdown of the peace talks.
Sources at State House say the meeting between President Museveni and Kabila in Kampala a fortnight ago saw the two leaders agree to put the international community’s demands aside to find a peaceful and homegrown solution to the Kivu crisis – culminating into the Nairobi peace deal.
The meetings between government and the rebels started in April 2012 at the request of Kabila and United Nations Secretary General; Ban Ki-moon after the combatants took Goma.
President Museveni took on the task of mediating between the Government of the DRC and M23 after an ICGLR meeting in Kampala.
Formal dialogue started on December 9, 2012 till November 3, 2013.
A joint ICGLR -SADC final communique on Kampala dialogue signed by Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Joyce Banda and issued on Thursday night states that on November 5, 2013, M23 issued a declaration in Kampala that it had renounced rebellion and had requested its combatants to prepare for the process of disarmament, demobilization and social integration.
It furthers states that on the 6th of November 2013, the DRC Government issued another declaration taking note of the renunciation of rebellion by M23 and announced that it was going to take measures to facilitate and render irreversible the renunciation of the rebellion by M23.
It will be recalled that at the end of the joint ICGLR-SADC Summit on 4th November 2013 in Pretoria, the Heads of State and Government of ICGLR and SADC countries noted in their joint communique that all the eleven issues under discussion in the Kampala dialogue had been agreed upon and an agreement was to be signed.
President Joseph Kabila was in Uganda on 2nd December 2013 for a summit with President Museveni at which a communique was issued calling for the conclusion of the Kampala dialogue in order to facilitate the peaceful return of M23 ex-combatants and the completion of the mobilisation process.
Accordingly President Museveni, Chairman of ICGLR, and President Joyce Banda, Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have on behalf of their respective sub-regions witnessed the declarations signed by M23 and DRC Government.
The two Presidents called upon the international partners, particularly the United Nations and the African Union to work together and provide support and resources to the Government of the DRC for the implementation of commitments made at the Kampala dialogue and its follow-up process, as appropriate.
This marks the conclusion of the Kampala Dialogue.