by Patrick Truffer. He graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and completes a Master of Arts program in International Relations at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Peace operations can include peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building. They comprise various conflict management/resolution tools such as quick impact projects, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), Security Sector Reform (SSR), reconciliation, elections, etc.  Given the increase in intra-state conflicts, DDR plays a prominent role as conflict resolution tool in peace operations. According to the UN, the demobilization of armed groups is “the single most important factor determining the success of peace operations”.  Between the late 1980s and 2008, more than 60 DDR programmes were initiated, with approximately two-thirds implemented in Africa. Overall, more than a million combatants went through DDR between 2000 and 2005 (Robert Muggah, “Security and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Dealing with Fighters in the Aftermath of War“, 1st edition, Routledge, 2009, p. 6f).
Nevertheless, DDR has not always been given the necessary priority, eventually leading to the failure of peace efforts as, in example in the Central African Republic (cf.: Patrick Truffer, “Conflict Management in the Central African Republic: A Need for New Approaches“, offiziere.ch, November 17, 2014). In contrast, DDR in Sierra Leone is considered exemplary (Ban Ki-Moon, “Transcript of the Secretary-General’s Remarks at Joint Press Conference with President of Sierra Leone“, United Nations, March 5, 2014). Given the importance of DDR in Africa and their widely divergent results, the following question arises: What key factors would enable the implementation of successful DDR programmes in Africa?
To answer the question, the theoretical part will discuss the theoretical foundations of DDR as a conflict resolution tool and potential factors for its successful implementation. Based on this, Central African Republic (CAR) and Sierra Leone will be tested as case studies. Each chapter will include a summary description of the conflict, an assessment of the DDR programme, and a preliminary conclusion. The question will finally be answered in the final conclusion.
Constructivism is well-suited as an explanation of inter- and intra-state conflicts because it can explain the formation of group identities based on values, ideas, beliefs, attitudes, etc. (Richard Jackson, “Constructivism and Conflict Resolution”, in The SAGE Handbook of Conflict Resolution, by Jacob Bercovitch, Victor Kremenyuk, and I. William Zartman, London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2014, p. 172f). Conflict is inherent to the interaction of groups with different identities, but it does not necessarily have to become violent. Only when polarizing factors, such as social, political or economic discrimination, conflicts over wealth or power, etc. emerge does the likelihood of violence increase (cf.: Joan Esteban, Laura Mayoral, and Debraj Ray, “Ethnicity and conflict: theory and facts“, Science 336, No. 6083, May 18, 2012, p. 858–65; Oliver Ramsbotham, Tom Woodhouse, and Hugh Miall, “Contemporary Conflict Resolution“, 3rd edition, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011, p. 10f, 13).A constructivist conflict resolution strategy requires a holistic approach to transform the discourse and structure of the conflict. As a result, the end of direct violence through a ceasefire or peace agreement is not sufficient for a long-term resolution to the conflict. Social, political and economic discrimination (structural violence) needs to be reduced and the sense of justice against cultural violence needs to be strengthened (see Johan Galtung’s triangle of violence; Jackson, p. 182; Ramsbotham, Woodhouse, and Miall, p. 10f).
DDR addresses all three corners of the triangle of violence. Disarmament reduces the likelihood of direct violence, demonstrates a fundamental will for peace and plays an important role as a confidence-building measure (“Operational Guide to the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards“, United Nations, 2014, p. 122). With demobilization, combatants are formally released from their command structures, often assembled into temporary camps, and prepared for reintegration. This is a first step towards reducing cultural violence, which can play a cohesive role within armed groups (cf.: Richard Bowd and Alpaslan Özerdem, “How to Assess Social Reintegration of Ex-Combatants“, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Vol. 7, No. 4, February 12, 2013, p. 460). Reintegration is the process by which ex-combatants acquire civilian status and gain sustainable income (“Operational Guide to the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards”, p. 25). Achieving this goal depends on minimizing the structural and cultural violence which is only possible if other conflict resolution tools can be implemented in coordination with DDR (cf.: Jackson, p. 183). The will for peace is dependent on various push and pull factors.
Push factors might include unpleasant intra-group issues such as poor leadership and discipline, appalling living conditions, lack of medical care, psychological pressure, lack of future prospects, etc. Pull factors include incentives to stop the violence and engage with the DDR, such as powersharing, amnesty, better living conditions, prospects for the future, etc. (cf.: Stina Torjesen, “Towards a Theory of Ex-Combatant Reintegration“, Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, Vol. 2, No. 3, December 11, 2013, p. 7f). Usually, the will for peace is high when ceasefire or peace agreements are made, but rewards, persuasion and coercion are necessary to sustain it (L. Lenisse Edloe, “Best Practices for Successful Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)“, 2007, p. 6).
1 – Central African Republic
Understanding the conflict
The political situation has been unstable since CAR’s independence. Several peacekeeping missions since 1997 have been unsuccessful at stabilizing the situation. François Bozizé seized power in a 2003 coup and held elections in 2005 to “confirm” his presidency.  Kleptocracy and nepotism resulted in the collapse of the state and the economy.  During Bozizés reign, the People’s Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD), Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) and Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC) from the structurally neglected north have tried to use force to gain a share in the political and economic power (Alexis Arieff, “Crisis in the Central African Republic“, Congressional Research Service, January 27, 2014, p. 3). It was only with the offer of political participation that the three rebel groups signed several ceasefire and peace agreements with the government between 2007 and 2012. These include the Global Peace Accord, signed by the APRD and UFDR in June 2008 and by FDPC in July 2009. This accord defined concrete measures designed to overcome the conflict: the initiation of an Inclusive Political Dialogue, an SSR with an opportunity for the reintegration of ex-combatants, and an amnesty for FACA-soldiers and combatants who complete DDR (cf.: Human Right Watch, “I Can Still Smell the Dead“, September 2013, p. 32; International Crisis Group, “Central African Republic: Untangling the Political Dialogue“, Africa Briefing, No. 55, December 9, 2008, p. 3; UN Peacebuilding Commission, “Country-Specific Configuration on Central African Republic“, October 22, 2008, p. 1).
Despite initial enthusiasm, little change resulted due to the uncompromising attitude of the government. The 2011 elections were “marred by many accusations of fraud” and did not result in any increased political participation (International Crisis Group, “Central African Republic: Priorities of the Transition“, Africa Report, No. 203, June 11, 2013, p. 1). This led, once again, to violent resistance against the government, but the autonomous rebel groups could not muster enough strength to topple the regime (cf.: US Embassy Bangui, “New CAR Coalition Government – Nothing New, And Not A Coalition“, January 23, 2009). Finally, in August 2012, the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace and the newly formed Convention Patriotique pour le Salut du Kodro joined forces, with the later addition of the UFDR, to create Séléka which plundered its way towards the capital Bangui, laying waste to villages in their path. After Bozizé was overthrown in March 2013, Séléka leader Michel Djotodia took the reins of government, but was unable to stay in power due to international pressure, the on-going violence and the formation of an armed counter-movement.
Assessing the DDR programme between 2007 and 2012
The Global Peace Accord provided the foundation for the international supported DDR programme of the government between 2007 and 2012. But the accord based only on few push and pull factors. Bozizé saw the agreement as a strategy to weaken the rebels, secure his re-election, and retain international support. He especially mistrusted the Inclusive Political Dialogue and showed himself quite unwilling to compromise with no intention of sharing power with “gangsters, presenting themselves as the opposition”.24 The rebels, meanwhile, saw the Inclusive Political Dialogue and their participation within the SSR as their chance to push Bozizé out of office and gain more political power. The rebel leaders were guided primarily by selfish interests, seeing themselves as future presidents, ministers or ambassadors, with the potential to become rich from the country’s diamond mines. This was confirmed after Séléka leader Djotodia seized power, when he continued his predecessor’s kleptocracy unabated. Given the regime’s lack of enforcement power outside of Bangui, the significance of amnesty after successful completion of the DDR was rather secondary. The catastrophic economic situation also resulted in no other convincing push and pull factors. Consequently, the will for peace was not strong. This was confirmed by the delays in disarmament, which only began to be implemented in the summer of 2010 in the country’s north-west (International Crisis Group, “Central African Republic: Keeping the Dialogue Alive“, Africa Briefing, No. 69, January 12, 2010, p. 3, 11f; IRIN news, “Briefing: DDR in CAR – hopes and hurdles“, April 19, 2012).
From the perspective of international donors, the SSR was the primary conflict resolution tool available to stabilize the situation. But the unwillingness to compromise and the concomitant delays resulted in the failure of the SSR to coordinate its implementation with DDR and to involve the rebels (International Crisis Group, “Central African Republic: Untangling the Political Dialogue“, p. 3; International Crisis Group, “Central African Republic: Keeping the Dialogue Alive“, p. 12; UN Peacebuilding Commission). In addition, Bozizé, fearing a military coup, refused to implement the recommendations of the SSR and prevented the integration of rebels into the FACA. As a result, the regime was unable to extend its influence outside Bangui, improve the security situation in the CAR, or offer the rebels jobs in the FACA as part of their reintegration.
The lack of funds, inadequate structural prerequisites and absent sources of income made the reintegration almost impossible (cf.: Human Right Watch, p. 32). In the long term, the economic, infrastructure and government conditions also failed to improve due to a lack of long-term rebuilding programmes. Furthermore, the north remained structurally disadvantaged. In fact, Séléka’s push to Bangui, the downfall of Bozizé and the formation of the anti-Balaka resulted in further polarization of society along ethnic lines with increased violence, plundering and destruction.
The lacking will for peace due to insufficient attention to push and pull factors and the lack of influence of rewards, persuasion and coercion, ultimately lead to the failure of the DDR programme. The resulting lack of willingness to compromise prevented an immediate disarmament, which was delayed until between the summer of 2010 and August 2012. During this time, it is estimated that only 1,400 (17.5%) of the estimated 8,000 combatants were disarmed, although it is unclear how many then bought a new weapon (“Country Profile 2012: Central African Republic“, The Africa Report, September 10, 2012). The implementation of the DDR was inadequate in every aspect and failed to include all regions and all of the armed groups.
Financial resources, coordination of the SSR, other complementary conflict resolution tools, economic, infrastructure and state reconstruction, and programmes for reducing structural and cultural violence were lacking, making reintegration almost non-existent. Without a long-term rebuilding programme, successful reintegration is impossible because, in addition to the ex-combatants, the country is occupied by more than 130,000 Internally Displaced Persons (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, “Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence“, April 2013).
Bozizé’s refusal to implement the recommendations of the SSR prevented his government’s ability to enforce its authority outside Bangui. As a result, the kind of security situation favorable to the DDR could not be created in the north-east and new weapons were able to flow into the CAR across the borders with Chad and Sudan. The excessive reimbursement for surrendered weapons also de facto enabled the rebels to rebuild their arsenals.
2 – Sierra Leone
Understanding the conflict
Since independence, Sierra Leone’s domestic politics have been dominated by authoritarian regimes, corruption and political violence. In March 1991, the civil war in neighbouring Liberia spilled over as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), supported by Charles Taylor, tried to topple the Sierra Leone government under Major General Joseph Momoh (Iris Irwin, “A Comparison of Post-Conflict Disarmament Programs in Sierra Leone and Liberia“, Spring 2013, p. 20f). Taylor was trying to weaken the rival United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy, which had been supported by Momoh and had initially operated from bases inside Sierra Leone. He also sought revenge against the ECOMOG peacekeepers who took action against Liberian rebels. A third objective was to secure control of the diamond mines in eastern Sierra Leone to continue to finance his battles in Liberia (cf.: International Crisis Group, “Sierra Leone Time for a New Military and Political Strategy“, Africa Report 28, April 11, 2001, p. 2; Nicolas Cook, “Sierra Leone: Transition to Peace“, Congressional Research Service, May 15, 2002, p. 3).
Sierra Leone, on the verge of bankruptcy, was hardly in any situation to finance troops to counter the civil war that ensued. In exchange for mining rights, the private military company “Executive Outcomes” pushed the RUF back to the eastern frontier (cf.: Simon Akam, “The vagabond king“, The New Statesman, February 2, 2012). New elections after another coup led to the presidency of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and the Abidjan Peace Accord between the government and the RUF in November 1996. This included the expulsion of “Executive Outcomes” and the restructuring and long-term reduction of the country’s armed forces (“Peace Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone“, November 30, 1996, article 9f, 12). A group of soldiers allied with the RUF, calling themselves Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), initiated another military coup in May 1997 (cf.: International Crisis Group, “Sierra Leone Time for a New Military and Political Strategy“, p. 2).
In February 1998, ECOMOG drove the AFRC and RUF from Newtown and the Kabbah government was restored to power. The intervention led to a resurgence of the civil war. Because of limited resources, ECOMOG was unable to safeguard Newtown, which led to an RUF attack in January 1999, seeking their revenge against the capital’s population (cf.: International Crisis Group, “Sierra Leone Time for a New Military and Political Strategy“, p. 2, 7). With the promise of power-sharing and amnesty, RUF signed the Lomé Peace Accord in July 1999, which included the transformation of the RUF into a political party. This was associated with disarmament in coordination with other conflict resolution tools to begin shortly at the beginning of 2000. Despite several setbacks, DDR was successfully completed in February 2004.
Assessing the DDR programme between 1999 and 2004
The disarmament under the leadership of the National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (NCDDR) started immediately after the arrival of 6,000 UNAMSIL soldiers.  On the one hand, the principles for the DDR had already been established in the Abidjan Peace Accord, and, on the other hand, the RUF initially had a strong will for peace. The RUF was militarily strong, but the living conditions within the territory under its control were devastating (cf.: “Sierra Leone Humanitarian Situation Report“, United Nations, March 7, 2000). Better living conditions, amnesty, political and economic participation were influential pull factors. Push factors included international pressure and the lack of leadership and discipline. Nevertheless, the initial will for peace had to be supported with rewards, persuasion and coercion. Locally, some RUF groups refused to disarm, which led to the same reaction from Civilian Defense Forces (CDF), fearing for its security. This led to a resumption of the conflict. After some 500 UNAMSIL soldiers were captured in May 2000, the peace mission appeared to be a failure. “Operation Khukri“, undertaken by the UNAMSIL to free its captured soldiers, the intervention of more than 800 British soldiers, and an internal change in the RUF leadership under pressure from other West African states finally broke the local resistance and allowed disarmament to continue in July 2000 (cf.: Anil Raman, “Operation Khukri: Joint Excellence“, USI Journal, Vol. CXXXII, No. 550, December 2002, p. 515–31; Cook, p. 11, 26).
In addition to the RUF, the CDF and the (old) Sierra Leone Army was dissolved, its soldiers being required to complete the DDR programme. Subsequently, the Sierra Leone armed forces were built up from scratch and trained by the British military. If they met the criteria for enlistment, former soldiers and ex-combatants were allowed to join. In addition to the SSR, the police, schools, water supply, and medical care were rebuilt, allowing the return of some 260,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). A truth and reconciliation commission and a special court for Sierra Leone were established and elections were held in 2002. Special emphasis was placed on rural, structurally weak areas. The government nationalized the exploitation of natural resources to fund the reconstruction (cf.: “Peace Agreement Between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Evolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone“, May 18, 1999; UNAMSIL, “Background“, January 14, 2008).
Until the NCDDR was dissolved in February 2004, more than 72,000 combatants were disarmed, approximately 71,000 combatants including some 6,800 child soldiers were demobilized (about 90%) and 63,500 ex-combatants were registered for reintegration (Jeremy M. Weinstein and Macartan Humphreys, “Disentangling the determinants of successful demobilization and reintegration“, Working Paper No. 69, Center for Global Development, September 2005). In particular, the ex-combatants of the CDF, who were mostly protecting their villages against attacks, did not require reintegration. The reintegration programme included a starter kit worth $200 and basic education, vocational training, or agricultural internships based on the ex-combatant’s background. In addition, ex-combatants were motivated to work on public projects. Main challenges were the limited availability of funds and allegations of preferred treatment being given to ex-combatants (Jeremy Ginifer, “Reintegration of Ex-combatants“, in Sierra Leone: Building the Road to Recovery, Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 2003, p. 39–52; IRIN news, “Sierra Leone: Disarmament and rehabilation completed after five years“, February 4, 2004; Cook, p. 13f).
Since the civil war was motivated by power politics, the power-sharing, amnesty and transformation of the RUF into a political party agreed in the Lomé Peace Accord played an important role. The key factor, however, was to maintain the initial will of the parties through rewards, persuasion and coercion.
A successful reintegration can only be guaranteed if the ex-combatants have a sustainable income. At the same time, ex-combatants cannot receive favorable treatment in the allocation of civilian jobs; otherwise new social conflicts would be fueled. Therefore, a coordinated SSR is important to absorb a part of the ex-combatants after demobilization and to exert a positive incentive to the entire DDR programme. At the same time, the coordinated use of additional conflict resolution tools and jobs created by long-term reconstruction can communicate improved prospects for the future of the entire society.
The prioritization of rural areas prevented accentuation of structural violence. The truth and reconciliation commission, the special court for Sierra Leone, campaigns and education regarding the importance of human rights helped counteract cultural violence. The reduction of structural and cultural violence is a long-term task needed to establish solid foundations for peace.
Both cases demonstrate the importance of DDR as a conflict resolution tool. Without disarmament, demobilization and the successful reintegration of combatants, sustainable peace is impossible. There are numerous factors that can cause DDR to fail, such as the lack of funding or international support, an unstable strategic environment, etc. There are, however, only a handful of necessary or even sufficient factors for a successful DDR.
The will for peace is the basis for the beginning of a DDR programme. Accordingly, the greater the will for peace, the more likely the DDR will be completed and the more successful the reintegration. But it is only through the influence of push and pull factors with rewards, persuasion and coercion that the will for peace can be maintained through the course of the entire DDR programme to ensure successful reintegration.
Reintegration represents the most demanding of the phases of DDR. In competition with unemployed civilians, returning refugees and IDP, generating enough jobs for successful reintegration is only possible with the coordinated use of every available conflict resolution tool. This applies especially to regions with weak infrastructure: only by minimizing structural and cultural violence can long-term reintegration be achieved in these regions without unleashing new rounds of conflict.
Therefore, the case studies support the theoretical foundations that the will for peace, a coordinated implementation with other conflict resolution tools, and minimizing structural and cultural violence are necessary key factors for the implementation of successful DDR programmes in Africa and thus for long-term peace. In addition, the influence of push and pull factors by rewards, persuasion and coercion is an additional necessary key factor because the initial will for peace can readily fizzle out after ceasefires and peace accords are signed.
 Lakhdar Brahimi, “Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects“, United Nations, August 21, 2000, p. 2, 7. Conflict management theorists consider definitive overcoming of conflicts unrealistic; at best, conflicts can be managed and contained. In contrast, conflict resolution theorists maintain that conflict and its underlying triggers can be influenced to such an extent that a definitive resolution of the conflict is possible. “Conflict resolution is about how parties can move from zero-sum, destructive patterns of conflict to positive-sum constructive outcomes” (Hugh Miall, “Conflict transformation: A multi-dimensional task“, Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management, August 2004, p 3f).
 “A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility“, Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, United Nations, December 2, 2004, paragraph 227. But there is no empirical evidence to back this hypothesis. Lars Waldorf, “Getting the Gunpowder Out of Their Heads: The Limits of Rights-Based DDR“, Human Rights Quarterly 35, No. 3, August 2013, p. 704.
 On the democratic legitimacy of the elections, see: Louisa Lombard, “Election Report: Central African Republic“, The Monkey Cage, January 25, 2011.
 US Embassy Bangui, “Leader Of A Failed State: How Bozize Maintains Power“, February 14, 2009; US Embassy Bangui, “The Weakest Link“, June 16, 2009; Guy Lamb, “Assessing the Reintegration of Ex-Combatants in the Context of Instability and Informal Economies: The cases of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan“, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank, December 2011, p. 21f; Center for Systemic Peace, “Authority Trends, 1960-2013: Central African Republic“, Polity IV, 2014.
 Thierry Vircoulon and Charlotte Arnaud, “Central African Republic: the flawed international response“, May 19, 2014. UNAMSIL’s troop strength was increased to 11,000 in February 2000, then to 13,000 in May 2001, and finally to 17,500 soldiers by March 2001 (UNAMSIL, “Facts and Figures“, January 24, 2008).