Council Common Position
of 21 October 2002
on Rwanda and repealing Common Position 2001/799/CFSP
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
Having regard to the Treaty on European Union, and in particular Article 15 thereof,
(1) By Common Positions 2000/558/CFSP(1) and 2001/799/CFSP(2), the Council defined the objectives and priorities of the European Union vis-à-vis Rwanda.
(2) By Joint Action 96/250/CFSP(3) the Council nominated a Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes Region.
(3) Article 8 of the partnership agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000(4), makes provision for the establishment of a political dialogue between the European Union and all States signatory to the Agreement with a view to achieving the goals of the Agreement, in particular with regard to peace, security and the promotion of a stable and democratic political environment.
(4) In the light of developments in Rwanda since November 2001, a new Common Position on Rwanda should be adopted and Common Position 2001/799/CFSP should be repealed,
HAS ADOPTED THIS COMMON POSITION:
The objectives and priorities of the European Union in its relations with Rwanda are to encourage, stimulate and support the process of:
(a) recovery from genocide and the promotion of national reconciliation,
(b) reconstruction, poverty reduction and development,
(c) protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
(d) transition to democracy.
Noting that regional instability may play a part in jeopardising the achievement of these goals, the European Union shall encourage the Government of Rwanda to work, in particular through its foreign policy, towards the achievement of regional stability, as it does with all other parties to conflicts in the region.
The European Union affirms that progress in the areas referred to in Article 1 is primarily the responsibility of the Government of Rwanda.
In order to support and encourage its efforts, the European Union shall pursue a constructive and critical political dialogue with the Government of Rwanda, including through the offices of its Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes Region, on the basis of the provisions in this Common Position.
With regard to the Government of Rwanda's regional foreign and security policy, the European Union:
(a) while welcoming the conclusion of the agreement between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) signed in Pretoria on 30 July 2002, shall encourage the Government of Rwanda to complete the withdrawal of Rwandan troops from the DRC and to continue to adhere to the Pretoria Agreement;
(b) shall urge the Government of Rwanda to keep the commitments it made, inter alia, in Lusaka (July 1999), Kampala (April 2000) and Harare (December 2000) in favour of a negotiated, peaceful and rapid settlement of the crisis in the DRC, and to comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular Resolutions 1304 (2000), 1341 (2001), 1355 (2001), 1376 (2001), 1399 (2002) and 1417 (2002);
(c) shall encourage the Government of Rwanda to use its influence to secure the respect of human rights and the security of civilians in the eastern part of the DRC;
(d) shall invite the Government of Rwanda to promote dialogue and the systematic search for every peaceful solution with the competent authorities of the neighbouring states involved in the crises in the DRC and Burundi;
(e) shall ask the Rwandan authorities, as it asks all parties to the conflict, to take due account of the recommendations and measures that the United Nations could adopt regarding the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the DRC.
With regard to the situation within Rwanda, the efforts of the European Union shall be based on the following principles:
(a) concerning reconciliation and power-sharing, the European Union shall encourage and support reconciliation among all Rwandans within and outside Rwanda, through dialogue between all groups which reject violence and genocide. Such dialogue must be inclusive and seek improved power-sharing, the democratisation of the country, national reconstruction and the protection of minorities. While having regard to the Government's own responsibility in this matter, the European Union shall stress the importance it attaches to the independence and the representativeness of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, whose activities it supports;
(b) concerning democratisation, the European Union:
(i) shall stress the importance of respecting the political balance laid down in Rwanda's basic law. It shall strongly encourage the Government of Rwanda and the Legal and Constitutional Commission to finalise, in close consultation with the population, the drafting of a new constitution, designed to create a new institutional framework for the country, to guarantee effective protection of the civil and political rights of Rwandans, including the free creation of political parties, preservation of social cohesion and the safeguarding of fundamental rights and freedoms;
(ii) shall stress the need for all inclusive participation in the elections and shall urge the Government of Rwanda to establish a voting mechanism that will ensure free and fair elections, guaranteeing rights for all Rwandans and for all sectors of society (including political parties) to express their views, freedom of expression, including safeguards for free media, and the participation of civil society in public debate and transparency with regard to the whole electoral process and electoral legislation;
(iii) shall welcome the announcement of the National Electoral Commission that parliamentary and presidential elections will take place in the second half of 2003 as well as the invitation issued to the international community to monitor the elections;
(iv) shall stress its attachment to the independence that that Commission should possess for the credibility of the electoral processes and asks the authorities to guarantee the real independence of the Electoral Commission;
(v) shall encourage the Government of Rwanda to continue to extend the responsibilities, powers and means of the elected local authorities so as to ensure the participation of the local population in the political and development process, and remains prepared to support this process by appropriate means as well as to continue to support the move towards decentralisation initiated by the Government in May 2000;
(c) concerning the judicial system and the "Gacaca" method of administering justice (participatory justice based on traditional courts), the European Union will express that it:
(i) welcomes the official launch of Gacaca tribunals and encourages the Government of Rwanda to monitor the forthcoming procedures in close cooperation with national and international non-governmental organisations;
(ii) acknowledges the constructive role that Gacaca may play in resolving the consequences of the 1994 genocide, in particular by speeding up the trial of persons still in prison on suspicion of having taken part in the genocide;
(iii) stresses the need to continue to implement the Gacaca system and to introduce community service, while taking into account the fundamental rights of all concerned;
(iv) in this respect encourages the Government of Rwanda and the Supreme Court to ensure that Gacaca justice is administered in line with international human rights standards;
(v) also encourages the Gacaca courts to establish clemency in general as a basic working principle and to safeguard rights guaranteed by law both to those accused, particularly as regards defence and appeals, and to civil parties;
(vi) further encourages the Government of Rwanda to make certain that all measures relating to the proper administration of Gacaca justice are implemented, in particular with regard to judicial procedure before such courts;
(vii) will continue, with other partners of the Government of Rwanda, to provide coordinated support to the Gacaca system as implemented in accordance with the aforementioned principles;
(viii) encourages the Rwandan authorities to continue raising awareness, among the population in general and genocide survivors in particular, of the need to accept these principles, in order to deal simultaneously with the problem of impunity and to reach a pragmatic solution to the alarming problem of a large prison population awaiting trial under precarious conditions of detention;
(ix) urges the Government of Rwanda to pursue its efforts to reduce the prison population (in particular vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the sick and infirm, those who are currently under age or who were so at the time of the act for which they have been arrested);
(x) in this connection, welcomes the fact that preliminary, examining Gacaca have taken place and led to the release of a number of prisoners against whom no case could be brought.
The European Union shall:
(i) support the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), located in Arusha, and in particular renew its efforts to ensure that all States surrender to the ICTR all those indicted by it for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. It shall seek continued improvement of the tribunal's administrative effectiveness;
(ii) urge the Government of Rwanda to comply fully with its obligation to cooperate with the ICTR and to deliver all information asked by the ICTR regardless of the persons or institutions concerned. The European Union shall encourage the Government of Rwanda to comply with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to observe other international safeguards concerning the death penalty and actively encourages it to envisage the abolition of the death penalty.
The European Union shall also encourage the Government of Rwanda to accede to the Statute of Rome of the International Criminal Court;
(d) concerning villagisation policy, the European Union shall welcome the priority given to its poverty-reduction strategy by the Government of Rwanda and its consideration of voluntary villagisation in that framework;
(e) concerning human rights, the European Union shall:
(i) encourage the Government of Rwanda to continue its cooperation with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights;
(ii) urge the Government of Rwanda to promote and take concrete steps to protect the human rights of all Rwandans, including through ensuring the independent and effective functioning of the National Human Rights Commission and by facilitating the activities of human rights organisations working in Rwanda;
(iii) encourage the National Human Rights Commission to continue working with the non-governmental organisations concerned, to step up its activities and to speed up the implementation of its programme of action, to which the Union is contributing;
(f) concerning economic and social development and cooperation, the European Union shall stress the close links between proper implementation of the poverty-reduction strategy paper and continued efforts by the Government of Rwanda to contribute to the achievement of a return to peace and security in the region, especially in the DRC, and to consolidate the process of reconciliation and democratisation in Rwanda.
Welcoming the withdrawal of Rwandan troops from the DRC, the European Union shall reiterate that efforts with a view to a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the DRC will, subject to detailed examination by the competent bodies, influence the cooperation links between the European Union and Rwanda;
(g) concerning the reintegration into Rwandan society of genocide survivors, demobilised soldiers and all other displaced people, the European Union shall encourage and support efforts by the Government of Rwanda to facilitate this process, including through cooperation with relevant international organisations.
In particular, the European Union in cooperation with other international institutions like the World Bank shall continue to express its readiness to support the demobilisation of the Rwandan army and a disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation and reintegration plan for the negative forces (ex-FAR and Interahamwe).
The European Union is convinced that the question of disarming Rwandan armed groups in the DRC, like that of disarming other armed groups, cannot be settled by force but must be solved voluntarily and using incentives in within the framework of political undertakings by the countries concerned.
Accordingly it shall demand that all States in the region refrain from giving military support to these groups. It shall welcome the programmes devised by the Government of Rwanda for reintegrating returning refugees and shall urge the Government of Rwanda to continue to admit in complete security all ex-combatants and refugees who are not implicated in the genocide or in war crimes, in particular as part of the disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation and reintegration operations provided for in the Lusaka and Pretoria Agreements.
The Council notes that the Commission intends to direct its action towards achieving the objectives and priorities of this Common Position, where appropriate by pertinent Community measures.
In implementing this Common Position, the European Union shall cooperate closely with the United Nations, the African Union and other interested organisations.
The implementation of this Common Position shall be monitored regularly. It shall be reviewed within 12 months.
Common Position 2001/799/CFSP is hereby repealed.
This Common Position shall take effect on the day of its adoption.
This Common Position shall be published in the Official Journal.
Done at Luxembourg, 21 October 2002.
For the Council
P. S. Møller
(1) OJ L 236, 20.9.2000, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 303, 20.11.2001, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 87, 4.4.1996, p. 1; as amended by Joint Action 2000/347/CFSP (OJ L 122, 24.5.2000, p. 6).
(4) OJ L 184, 13.7.2002, p. 24.