Congo, Democratic Republic of

Congo, Democratic Republic of

Case Studies

DRC: Transforming the Congolese Armed Forces

The Democratic Republic of Congo has seen the deadliest conflict since World War II. Following the overthrow of former President Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, the country was plunged into several civil and regional wars, involving dozens of non-state armed groups battling with remnants of the Congolese army. The result was a death toll reaching 6 million, the destruction of rule of law, and a complete breakdown in the role of the Congolese Armed Forces in their obligation to protect Congolese civilians. The conflict led to the DRC being labelled the “rape capital of the world”59 due to the frequency and intensity of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) inflicted by soldiers, non-state armed actors, bandits, criminals and even community members against women and men.

International civil society organisations responded to these extreme abuses largely through condemnation or seeking to use the UN or other international channels to pressure the government to discipline its soldiers. However, this had little effect on the abusive behaviour of the soldiers, and resulted rather in polarizing relationships between the civil society organisations and the Congolese Armed Forces, who felt attacked and not supported by these groups.

In 2006, faced with this situation, Search for Common Ground took another approach, building buy-in from the Congolese Armed Forces themselves for a programme that would use the military’s own in-house capacity to sensitise their own units and build bridges of cooperation with the communities they were meant to protect.

“We began another type of conversation with them. One about enabling them to become protectors, not perpetrators,” explained Lena Slachmuijlder, SFCG’s Country Director atthe time. “We listened, and heard that deep down, they also wanted to change. They knew that if the communities didn’t trust them, but feared them, that their own security was in danger. And they weren’t proud of their record of abuses. We created educational tools to resonate with the soldiers’ sense of self-esteem.” [1]

SFCG also recognized that part of the obstacle was deep trauma and resulting prejudice and stereotypes by the communities, particularly in eastern DRC. These attitudes prevented the type of information sharing and collaboration that the soldiers depended upon to be able to effectively combat the armed groups and protect the communities under attack. The programme was thus designed to seek to change the perceptions by these communities, and have them participate in the overall reform process of the security sector in the DRC.

The first iteration of the program, entitled “Tomorrow is a New Day: Transforming Security Forces from Perpetrators to Protectors” began in 2006 with a pilot in the South Kivu province. Since 2006, SFCG has expanded the programmenationwide, reaching more than 40,000 Congolese soldiers of all ranks across the country in a programmethat is “about them” and “not against them.”

The project aimed to shift perceptions and attitudes around civil-military relations. It aimed to raise general awareness about the Congolese Armed Forces’ responsibility to respect human and protect civilians and build bridges of trust and collaboration among soldiers and civilians, particularly in the war-affected communities.

A key factor of success was the internal support the project was able to secure. The ‘Armed Forces Pastors’ (“Aumoniers”, in French), which occupied hierarchical ranks within the Congolese Armed Forces, and the Programme of Civic and Patriotic Education, a unit which had been legally mandated by the Congolese Armed Forces Headquarters to train soldiers and that was headed by an experienced and respected General, were in favour of the project. The collaboration with the Education Unit permitted the pilot project to scale to a national level and maintain official buy-in at all stages of the project over the last 10 years.

Some of the program’s key elements were:

Interactive Training Materials for Soldiers

SFCG designed innovative training materials, which the soldiers themselves were able to understand and then deliver to their peers. This included translating human rights, civilian protection, SGBV and conflict transformation training into accessible ‘image boxes’ with simple training manuals, supported by pre-recorded audio sketches in local languages and comic books. The soldiers were trained in how to shift from one-directional communication to participatory methods in their trainings. The soldiers were even trained in how to build improvised participatory theatre sketches to translate the human rights and protection principles into accessible real-life examples in front of their units. SFCG worked with a documentary filmmaking team to produce a curriculum-driven educational film with a focus on sexual violence and masculinity, with a discussion guide, for outreach to the units. SFCG trained soldiers to be able to use this film and facilitate discussions, which included discussions about their role as soldiers, their own trauma, their own sense of strength and masculinity. [2] 

Community Outreach

After the project had gained traction by training thousands of soldiers within the various brigades and battalions, the Armed Forces committees then were coached as to how to design solidarity activities to build bridges of trust with the communities they were meant to protect. The criteria for these events relied on the soldiers and the local civil society organisations’ joint assessment of the most damaged relationships. This meant that, for example, the Congolese Navy initiated actions with the local fishermen; the Military Police initiated collaboration with University Students, and Units in Bukavu worked closely with local women’s organisations. These activities included soccer matches, clean-up activities, town hall meetings, marathons, and longer-term collaborations including joint farming projects.

Changing Social Norms

SFCG also used its expertise in communication for conflict transformation to reach a mass audience through radio and television programmes and comic books. A radio drama series in Lingala and Swahili was broadcast nationwide, featuring a dynamic cast of military and civilian characters whose daily lives reflected the drama, crises and collaborative solutions that were gradually coming to be a reality through the project. The programmes clarified key issues around the Security Sector Reform process, including how civilians and the army could best collaborate to ensure civilian protection. Other magazine format radio programmes reported on efforts to combat impunity by the mobile courts (“audiences foraines”), which were moving around communities to sentence military perpetrators of serious crimes. Hundreds of thousands of comic books were distributed around the country, portraying the negative and positive roles of soldiers and civilians, reinforcing and popularizing the social acceptability of the changes that were underway. Billboards were put up in specific communities, as well as murals painted on the regional military headquarters with powerful imagery demonstrating the protective role of the Congolese Armed Forces working hand in hand with civilians.

These various forms of media also reinforced each other. The main character in the comic book and radio drama was a certain ‘Captain Janvier’; his name became so popular amongst military and civilians as the ‘bad guy’ that it became a frequent reference in every day conversations and discussions within the military units and amongst the general public. SFCG also launched complementary media initiatives, including one called ‘the Real Man’ (“Vrai Djo”), which highlighted examples of men, including soldiers, doing the ‘right thing’ faced with a temptation to abuse or harass a woman. This was also used in outreach and discussions with soldiers and the communities.

Measuring Impact

Within the highly fragile context of DRC, traditional monitoring was often challenging. A major measure of change however was the shift in perception of protection by the civilians before and after the project worked with soldiers deployed in their community. For example, in one evaluation, 54% of the populations of the areas of intervention reported relationships with the military as being good to very good, compared to only 32% in control areas. There were also powerful qualitative measures of change, such as the ability of a military unit that had participated in the programme to undertake an important, high-risk military operation in Katanga, without committing any human rights abuses. And the relationship building between communities and the soldiers led to numerous examples of collaborative problem solving and a de-stigmatization of the relationships.

Overall this programme has inspired multiple projects within Search for Common Ground in Tanzania, Nigeria and Nepal. These experiences continue to reinforce the value of the Common Ground approach to the security sector, grounded in strengthening relationships of collaboration and enabling people to drive forward their own transformation.

Excerpt from the book Local Ownership in Security: Case Studies of Peacebuilding Approaches edited by Lisa Schirch with Deborah Mancini-Griffoli and published by The Alliance for Peacebuilding, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.


[1] See (Accessed on 28 August 2014)
[2] See A Soldiers Story: Ending Military Abuses. Found at: (Accessed 28 August 2014).

case study

DRC: Peacebuilding-based DDR

Following the DRC’s Lusaka peace agreement in 1999, the World Bank organized funding for a Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Programme (MDRP). Beginning in 2004, a programme to demobilize, disarm and reintegrate 150,000 ex-combatants, mainly militia members, continued to function alongside active warfare. In North Kivu in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a small local Congolese NGO with fifteen years of local peacebuilding experience began a DDR program.

Drawing on peacebuilding skills, a DDR programmes run by the Centre for Resolution of Conflicts (CRC) emphasized building an infrastructure of support for sustainable reintegration[1]. CRC viewed reintegration as the cornerstone of successful DDR, and as such advocated calling the efforts RDD to emphasize the need to think about reintegration from the very beginning of any DDR program. From CRC’s point of view, the donor-supported DDR programmes neglected to consider how ex-combatants would cope with reintegration. Money was available for “sensitizing” armed groups on the need to disarm and demobilize, but money was not available for reintegration or for considering how to prepare communities where they were to be reintegrated. DDR programmes assumed ex-combatants would be integrated into the state’s armed forces, even though these units also were to be demobilized.

CRC designed a programme for reintegration where it became an opportunity for community development. Creating a preventive infrastructure to handle land conflicts was a key component of the CRC approach. Together, there was a coherent plan for livelihood creation through seeds and agriculture kit. This paired with the development of a community-based conflict resolution system that addressed issues of IDPs and combatants returning and settling on land.

Six task forces worked on the reintegration process, each with approximately 12 people made up of community and religious leaders, former child soldiers, and former militia commanders. CRC trained the task forces on human rights and conflict resolution. The task forces play a variety of roles through CRC partnerships with other agencies such as FAO, UNDP, UNHCR and Save the Children/UNICEF.

First, CRC advertises their DDR programme in a variety of ways. Radio programmes encouraged combatants to leave armed groups individually. Negotiations with militia leaders encouraged demobilization and reintegration for entire militia groups. MONUSCO (and before that MONUC) dropped leaflets from helicopters inviting combatants to call the CRC director to discuss reintegration. 

CRC staff would then travel without protection into the bush – sometimes waiting for several days - to negotiate with militia commanders, to return with all of their men or to release child soldiers. CRC provided accompaniment for 4,276 ex-combatants (3532 men, 270 women, and 474 children). This accompaniment ensured the safe passage of ex-combatants to MONUSCO or FARD camps where they are demobilized by removing their weapons, military-style clothing or other symbols of their combatant status and recording their names. CRC then accompanied them to the communities where they were reintegrated. This helped make sure that militia members made it all the way into CRC reintegration programs, which CRC viewed as pivotal to successful DDR.

Simultaneously with advertising the programme to militia members, CRC prepared communities for receiving militia members. CRC persuaded communities through incentives such as reparation programmes where militia members would do community service, such as building roads. CRC also provided a range of livelihood options, some available to non-combatant community members. For example, CRC began joint civilian and ex-combatant co-operatives for 1334 ex-combatants. Inclusion of civilians in the cooperatives ensured that ex-combatants alone did not receive the bulk of assistance, since this would create an unfortunate incentive for others to join militias. Cooperatives begin with 30 members and small grants of $2000 as start up. Cooperatives often grew quickly, some with 200 members, as they extend inclusion of others. Ex-combatants may provide community service by rehabilitating local infrastructure of roads and markets. This increases their acceptance by local communities and enables further community development.

CRC found that civilian communities provided a socializing model of civilian values and provided a new social network for militia members that affirmed acceptable civilian behaviours. In addition, CRC supported the creation of voluntary social networks to attend to reintegrated militia members and the community. This includes community conflict resolution task forces that help to ease social tensions. The CRC set up an early warning system and provided mediation for local disputes. The local conflict resolution task forces were created to warn of impending conflicts over land, for example, as IDPs return to an area. The task forces supported mediation to take place between key stakeholders so that an agreement can be made without resort to violence.

CRC supported 119 communities in the reintegration process by hosting call-in radio clubs for two-way dialogue on weekly CRC radio programs. Listeners could text or call into the radio show with their concerns or ideas. Some villages used these radio clubs as a way of fostering participatory planning and development on projects such as bicycle repair, hairdressing, hydroelectric power and propagating seedlings for reforestation. There is also a synergy between these programs. The radio clubs foster trust with local communities, that then makes the other stages of reintegration work more smoothly.

PeaceDirect, the London-based funder of CRC, is carrying out on-going monitoring and evaluation of CRC’s DDR effort. Ex-combatants who went to communities with CRC’s intervention are compared both with ex-combatants who went through other, non-CRC DDR programs, and with ex-combatants who did not receive CRC or other DDR support. Researchers also interviewed CRC-assisted communities and non-CRC assisted communities to evaluate their view of the program. Researchers found that 81% of ex-combatants who did not receive assistance would consider re-recruiting to an armed group compared to 58% of those receiving non-CRC assistance and only 10% of those ex-combatants that CRC did assist. An evaluation of CRC’s work found that its identity as a local organization with a long history of working with local communities enables it to be credible and trustworthy for armed groups, many of whom have become wary of FARDC, UN and MONUSCO. “CRC’s long term commitment, visibility, local knowledge, first hand awareness of the impacts of conflict at a personal and community level, networks of contacts and strong staff commitment and work ethic have given CRC great credibility with armed groups, with communities and with partners.”[2] 

Peace Direct also compares the cost for CRC’s DDR program, a small fraction of the costs of large scale, government or contractor-run programs. For example, the cost for these task forces was $1500 to start up each Task Force with $500 per year for travel funds. Task Force members volunteered 44000 hours of time per year. In contrast, some DDR programmes easily cost $1500 per armed individual.

Excerpt from the book Local Ownership in Security: Case Studies of Peacebuilding Approaches edited by Lisa Schirch with Deborah Mancini-Griffoli and published by The Alliance for Peacebuilding, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.


[1] This case is drawn from Coming Home: A Case Study of Community Led Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration in D.R. Congo. London: Peace Direct, 2011.

[2] Peace Direct Evaluation Report cited in Coming Home, p. 11.

case study

Policy and Research Papers

The Charisma of Authenticity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The purpose of this paper is to propose an analysis which discloses the various interdependencies that may exist between modes of objectifying the nation and the legitimacy of discursive strategies of nation-building in the context of a grave social conflict. The paper advances two interrelated arguments. Firstly, it argues that the order of conflict in the Congo is contingent on the strictly symbolic efficacy of myths of identity. Secondly it argues that the “charisma” of some of the country’s “Big Men” is a related to what I call the democratization of sovereignty, and neither to their supposedly exceptional individual qualities nor to a specifically African “Big Man”-syndrome. I propose that while one must be critical of the Weberian notion of “charisma” as a sociological theory of prophecy, one can nonetheless use the notion of “charisma” as a tool to analyse symbolic properties that accrue to a specific individual and his followers, to the extent that they embody a subjectivity which is held as absolute by his, or their, proper discourse.


Completing the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration process of armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the link to security s...

An ISS analysis on the difficulties and challenges in implementing DDR and SSR processes in the DRC.


Security Sector Reform in the Democratic Republic of The Congo: Strategic Issues

The aim of this issue paper is to provide some ideas regarding how best to create suitable conditions for security sector reform (SSR) in DRC. Throughout the last decade, SSR has become a key component of the international agenda in states affected by conflict. There is a growing consensus amongst donors regarding the necessity of implementing SSR for effective stabilization and reconstruction. Since 2003, this has resulted in DRC in several donor-supported initiatives to strengthen the police, military, and justice sectors. Although some of these efforts may have initially shown must promise, progress on SSR in DRC remains very limited.


Congo: pas de stabilite au Kivu malgre le rapprochement avec le Rwanda

Le plan de résolution du conflit au Kivu consistant à privilégier la solution militaire s’avère être un échec. Deux années après le début du rapprochement entre le président Congolais Joseph Kabila et son homologue rwandais Paul Kagame, les soldats gouvernementaux sont encore aux prises avec des miliciens pour le contrôle des terres et des zones minières. Bien qu’aucune des deux parties n’ait réellement les capacités de prendre un ascendant définitif, elles ont toutes deux les ressources suffisantes pour prolonger la lutte. Dans le même temps, les civils subissent des violences extrêmes et la situation humanitaire se détériore. Les tensions ethniques se sont aggravées à l’annonce des plans de rapatriement de dizaines de milliers de réfugiés congolais qui ont fui au Rwanda durant les années 1990. Le Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies a observé la situation se dégrader à l’est du Congo sans s’opposer aux décisions de Kagame et Kabila.


Supporting SSR in the DRC: between a Rock and a Hard Place. An Analysis of the Donor Approach to Supporting Security Sector Reform in the Democrati...

This paper is the result of a collaborative effort of researchers and former practitioners with experience in the DRC currently working for Clingendael – the Netherlands Institute for International Relations based in The Hague, the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, the Institut français des relations internationales based in Paris, France, and the Institute for Security Studies, South Africa. Hans Hoebeke, Senior Researcher at Egmont, The Royal Institute for International Relations, Belgium was extensively consulted during the preparation of this paper.

The authors of this paper have drawn upon their professional experience in the DRC and/or ongoing analysis of developments there. This has included interviews, conducted both in country and at donor headquarter level, of political representatives and working-level practitioners of donor country and multilateral institutions, independent experts, Congolese civil servants across the justice, police and defence sectors as well as non-governmental organisation and civil society representatives.


The Security Sector in Southern Africa

The Security Sector Governance (SSG) Programme of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) conducted baseline studies of the security sector in six Southern African countries, namely Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, as well as the Southern African Development Community’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security (SADC Organ). The results of this research are reflected in this monograph.


The Democratic Republic of Congo Military justice and human rights – An urgent need to complete reforms

This discussion paper will review some of those issues, which are analysed in greater detail in the main report: Democratic Republic of Congo: Military justice and human rights – An urgent need to complete reforms. By examining Congolese military justice within its historical and institutional contexts, the main report outlines its strengths and weaknesses and defines the necessary conditions for its reform. The present paper focuses on the points that warrant urgent and specific attention by the authorities in charge of conducting military justice reforms. It picks out the issues analysed in the main report that seem to be most urgently in need of reform. It also proposes directions for such reforms. The objective of the proposed reforms is to ensure that military justice complies as closely as possible with the principles laid down by the constitution and international standards regarding the independence of the justice system and the right to a fair trial.
In particular, the report highlights three areas of urgent reform. First, the jurisdiction of military courts should be restricted to members of the military, and not extend to civilians. Secondly, the independence of military judges should be guaranteed and political interference in the conduct of trials cease. Thirdly, much stronger protections should be given to ensure the right to a fair trial in the military courts, in particular by limiting the discretionary power of the military judges. These reforms will need to be paired, of course, with parallel reforms in the ordinary court system, to ensure that civilians accused of serious crimes can be brought to justice with respect for due process.


Connaissances, perceptions, attitudes et pratiques des membres de la Police Nationale Congolaise en matière de violences sexuelles dans trois provinces de la République Démocratique du Congo

This study (in French only) on the knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and practices of members of the Congolese National Police regarding sexual violence in three provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is the first phase of a project run jointly by the International Centre for Migration Health and Development, and the Congolese National Police, tackling the issue of sexual violence.


Policing the Context: Principles and Guidance to Inform International Policing Assistance

This document draws lessons on what it means to uphold and promote core policing principles in our overseas assistance, providing a crucial insight into both ‘what works’ and the many challenges that we must navigate to achieve success. It is based on the collective UK international policing experience over recent years including Afghanistan, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and most recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Libya.


Etude sur l’aide légale en République démocratique du Congo

Cette étude a été réalisée par Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) à la demande du Programme d’Appui à la Réforme de la Justice (PARJ). Au niveau d’ASF, elle s’inscrit dans la continuité de travaux similaires menés au Burundi et plus récemment en Tunisie. Son objectif premier est de contribuer à la réflexion et à l’action des acteurs étatiques et non étatiques sur les mécanismes d’aide légale en République démocratique du Congo (RDC). 

Menée du 6 octobre au 6 décembre 2013, l’étude s’appuie sur des entretiens qualitatifs, individuels et collectifs, auprès de 145 professionnels (magistrats, avocats, défenseurs judiciaires et militaires, représentants associatifs, d’ONG et d’organisations internationales, responsables d’administrations publiques, et professionnels sociaux, etc.); une enquête qualitative auprès de 1571 justiciables; une étude documentaire et des observations d’audiences. Elle porte sur 6 provinces du pays (Kinshasa, Bas-Congo, Kasaï-Occidental, Province Orientale, Nord-Kivu et Sud-Kivu) toutes concernées par les entretiens; l’enquête quantitative cible les provinces de Kinshasa, du Bas-Congo et du Kasaï-Occidental, et réexploite des données collectées à l’Est (Nord et Sud-Kivu, Ituri en Province Orientale) dansle cadre de l’étude de base du projet Uhaki Safi (Programme d’Appui au Renforcement du Système Judiciaire à l’Est, PARJ-E), notamment 786 entretiens réalisés auprès de justiciables.

Le présent rapport est conçu avant tout comme un document ressource, un outil de travail et un support à la réflexion et au débat. Il s’efforce, dans une large mesure, de rendre compte d’expériences et de propositions des justiciables et des acteurs concernés.


République démocratique du Congo - Le secteur de la justice et l’Etat de droit

Le rapport sur le Secteur de la justice et l’Etat de droit s’interroge sur la capacité du secteur de la justice congolais à promouvoir, respecter et faire respecter la règle de droit, ainsi que les défis inhérents à ce secteur. Il dresse en outre un tableau éloquent des écueils qui affectent la gouvernance du secteur de la justice au Congo et sa capacité de répondre aux standards démocratiques, ainsi qu’aux besoins d’accès à la justice de la population du Congo. Il dresse enfin un ableau critique sur l’efficacité de l’aide dans ce secteur et plaide pour une meilleure coordination des partenaires echniques et financiers de la RDC, ainsi que pour un leadership du Gouvernement congolais dans la programmation et l’exécution des reformes dans le secteur  de la justice.


Limits to Supporting Security Sector Interventions in the DRC

Since 2003, the international community has invested considerable resources in keeping the peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Many interventions were focused on supporting security sector reform (SSR) and on the stabilisation of the volatile ‘militia belt’ in the eastern DRC, but these only achieved limited impact and the security context remains volatile. To explain why international efforts did not bring about the expected changes, the authors examine issues such as the peculiar relationship between the armed forces and local communities, and the neopatrimonial incentives of the Congolese elite. A largely technical approach that ignored the bigger political picture underscores the failure to fundamentally change the DRC’s security context. The defeat of the M23 rebellion in 2013 was a rare success, but it now threatens to take away the necessary pressure for meaningful reform.


La République démocratique du Congo vit-elle un scénario à la burkinabé?

La situation s'est brutalement tendue en République démocratique du Congo, où les manoeuvres du gouvernement en vue des prochaines élections présidentielles faisaient débat depuis plusieurs mois. Joseph Kabila, au pouvoir en RDC depuis l'assassinat de son père en 2001, a été élu en 2006 et 2011. Tandis que les élections de 2006 avaient mobilisé une très forte attention internationale et avaient notamment reçu un soutien très actif, financier et humain, de la part de l'Union européenne, les élections de 2011 avaient été entachées de davantage d'irrégularités.

Le second mandat du président Kabila arrivant au terme que lui fixe la Constitution l'année prochaine, des élections présidentielles devraient avoir lieu, auxquelles il ne devrait pas pouvoir se présenter. La Constitution établit en effet une limite de deux mandats présidentiels consécutifs. Les spéculations vont donc bon train depuis plusieurs mois autour d'une potentielle réforme de la Constitution par la majorité u
président Kabila afin de permettre le maintien au pouvoir de ce dernier.


DFID - Security and Justice Sector Reform Programming in Africa

This document is a review of security and justice sector reform (SJSR) programmes and lessons learned from 2001 to 2005 that were part of DFID's Africa Conflict Prevent Pool (ACPP). The programmes were reviewed based on the criteria of coherence, effectiveness, and impact.


Caron End of assignment report MONUC

End of assignment of LGen (Ret) Marc Caron as the SSR advisor to the SRSG of MONUC.


Placing everyday police life at the heart of reform in Bukavu

Security sector reform has been a central component of post-conflict reconstruction and development programmes, and the restoration of state authority since the 1990s. However, these reforms have rarely been successful in the long run. In the DRC, police reform has been a staple of statebuilding and governance strengthening efforts. Despite some reform successes, however, the Congolese National Police largely remains a reflection of the state. It is mostly unaccountable to those it is meant to serve, and used as a tool by some to extract resources and protect elite interests.

As a key state institution, sustainable reform of the police is impossible without a considerable overhaul of the larger governance framework of which it is part. While acknowledging this major systemic challenge, this briefing suggests that there may nevertheless be some more modest, yet impactful, gains to be made through police reform. By focusing on the everyday work and life of police personnel, future reforms could contribute to changing police behaviour on the streets and in police stations, at the interface between the police and the population where it may arguably matter most.

Based on seven months of qualitative research on the PNC conducted in Bukavu between 2016 and 2017, this briefing argues that targeted police reforms, informed and driven by local actors, can affect change, and often in a more sustainable—and financially viable—fashion than past large-scale donor-driven reform support programmes.


Rebuilding Courts and Trust: An Assessment of the Needs of the Justice System in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) organised an international delegation of jurists to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in February 2009. The IBAHRI and ILAC mission was aimed at conducting a needs assessment of the Congolese judicial system in order to assess where expertise can be most constructively applied – both geographically and thematically – to assist the reconstruction of the justice system.

The aim of the report is not to present a full-scale analysis of the situation in the justice sector of the DRC. Instead, the report aims to assess the key areas where expertise and assistance can be most helpful to assist in reforming the Congolese justice system, based on what is planned and what is already being done regarding the DRC’s judiciary. The full conclusions and recommendations of the mission are set out in Chapter 7 of this report.



Les forces armées de la RDC: Une armée irréformable ?

Cet ouvrage, consacré à l’évolution récente de l’armée loyaliste congolaise, les FARDC, est une étude descriptive, analytique et synthétique des réformes entreprises depuis leur création en 2003 jusqu’en 2014. L’ouvrage met en lumière les avancées et les dysfonctionnements constatés dans la mise en œuvre de la réforme des FARDC. Une réforme – dévoyée – qui a dérivé du cadre conceptuel initial défini lors d’élaboration et dont l’objectif consistait en la formation d’une armée nationale, restructurée et intégrée.

L’ouvrage aborde également, témoignages et références bibliographiques à l’appui, la mise en cause de la hiérarchie militaire congolaise dans les revers subis par les FARDC en 2012, notamment lors de la prise de Goma par le M23. Avec une remarquable contribution de Jerôme ZiambiKengawe, diplômé de l’Ecole royale militaire de Belgique, l’ouvrage analyse en profondeur les étapes importantes de la guerre menée par les FARDC contre le M23. Dans cette partie, l’accent est mis sur les conséquences de la prise de Goma par le M23 en novembre 2012 et les facteurs (politiques, stratégiques, militaires, géopolitiques et diplomatiques) qui ont concouru à la défaite du M23 ou à la victoire des FARDC en novembre 2013.

L’auteur identifie en outre une série de personnes qui exercent une influence dans le secteur de la sécurité en République démocratique du Congo autour du président Kabila, en mettant notamment en exergue le poids atypique de deux réseaux composés de Katangais et de l’axe « Banyamulenge-Tutsi-rwandais ». L’ouvrage se termine en proposant quelques axes prospectifs devant permettre une bonne réforme pragmatique des FARDC.


Other Documents

Decentralisation of Security Governance: Facilitator of a Human Rights-based Approach (HRBA) to SSR?

The UN Common Understanding of a HRBA among UN Agencies (2003) was designed to provide guidance to UN mandates on incorporating human rights standards, norms and principles into all programming support components. The third paper from the HRBA Working Group from ISSAT’s Methodology Cell highlights the need for further study on Decentralisation of Security Governance (DSG) by providing brief examples of how Local Security Councils (LSCs), mechanisms of DSG, can help turn the principles of inclusivity, local ownership, accountability and participation into actionable outcomes in line with a HRBA.

Read Paper 1: Rethinking a Human Rights-based Approach to SSR

 & Paper 2: Interpreting International Norms for a More Impactful Human Rights-based Approach (HRBA) in SSR

For further information on the Working Group's research, please refer to the Rethinking a Human Rights-based Approach (HRBA) in Security Sector Reform blog

Other Document

Police Reform: Lessons from donor programming on accountability, demilitarization and representativeness of police institutions

In a Security Sector Reform (SSR) context, police reform aims to transform the values, culture, policies and practices of police organizations so that police can perform their duties with respect human rights and the Rule of Law. Given the police’s direct interaction with the community and the powers typically conferred to them, it is vital to ensure that police officers adhere to high standards of professionalism and accountability in their work. A lack of effective democratic governance and accountability mechanisms over the police forces can have triggering effects on social unrest.
The wide protests across the US and Europe against excessive police use of force focused popular attention on running debates over policing and reform. The COVID-19 pandemic has sharpened this focus further. As State of Emergency measures have been a critical part of the global response to the pandemic, the discretionary powers granted to law enforcement institutions to prevent public gatherings have enabled to abusive behaviours in certain cases.

The wide protests across the US and Europe against excessive police use of force focused popular attention on running debates over policing and reform. The COVID-19 pandemic has sharpened this focus further. As State of Emergency measures have been a critical part of the global response to the pandemic, the discretionary powers granted to law enforcement institutions to prevent public gatherings have enabled to abusive behaviours in certain cases.

For more resources on Police Reform, visit out dedicated Thematic in Practice Page on Police Reform

Other Document

Evaluation finale conjointe des programmes d’appui à la Justice en République Démocratique du Congo mis en oeuvre par le PNUD entre 2015 et 2020

Ce rapport détaille les résultats de l’évaluation du Portefeuille de Projets Justice mené par le PNUD entre 2015 et 2020. L’évaluation a été mandatée par le Bureau du PNUD en République Démocratique du Congo.

L’évaluation a été conduite par l’Equipe internationale de conseil au secteur de la sécurité (ISSAT) du DCAF. La collecte des données auprès des acteurs du Secteur de la Justice en République Démocratique du Congo (Sud-Kivu, Nord Kivu et Kasai Central) a été réalisée par Justin Sheria Nfundiko (Expert en évaluation- membre du Roster de ISSAT). Une collecte de données additionnelle, à distance, auprès des partenaires Techniques et Financier, des responsables d’ONG internationales et des acteurs du Système des Nations Unies a été réalisée par Jean-Philippe Kot (Conseiller Justice ISSAT/DCAF) et Julien Moriceau (Expert Justice et Gouvernance, Managing Partner de, membre du Roster de ISSAT).

Other Document