The adoption by the Congolese Parliament of the bill establishing the Army Defense Reserve worries the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC. While the government that initiated this project explains that this service will allow the country to better strengthen the protection of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Bintou Keita fears that this mechanism will be seen as a means of integrating negative forces within the ‘army.
“I am worried that this mechanism could be interpreted by armed groups as a means of integrating the FARDC”, indicated Bintou Keita during a press conference this Friday in Kinshasa.
She wants Kinshasa to remain in the logic of disarmament and demobilization of armed groups.
“I invite the Congolese authorities to ensure that the ordinances implementing this law ensure perfect consistency with the principles of the P/DDRCS, and with the government’s commitments in terms of transitional justice, the fight against impunity and respect for human rights by the defense and security forces,” she said.
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The bill establishing the Army Defense Reserve aims to:
• Provide temporary reinforcement to the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the protection of the national territory;
• Participate in a daily service of the units of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo;
• Provide expertise in the field of armies and others for specific needs.
According to this text defended by Gilbert Kabanda, former Minister of National Defence, the armed defense reserve is made up of: Retired career soldiers and various security services; Demobilized from compulsory military service; Demobilized from contractual military service and civilian volunteers engaged in the defense of the country and its territorial integrity in the face of an external threat or aggression in accordance with Articles 63 and 64 of the Constitution.
The above-mentioned categories of people form the Reserve Corps and benefit from specific training and training. For the duration of their service, they benefit from the pay and benefits provided for elements of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the text, the minister in charge of national defense keeps a register of members of the Army Reserve Corps of Defense, renewable every 5 years. To integrate this body, Minister Kabanda explained that it is necessary: to be of Congolese nationality; be at least 18 years old; be of good physical fitness and of good moral character; and not have been convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.