Rwanda – Uganda’s Bilateral Relations: Do Refugees Contribute?

Note on how to cite this journal:

Author, Date of the post, WMO Conflict Insight, Title of the post,  ISSN: 2628-6998, https://worldmediation.org/conflict-insight 

Disclaimer: The author works for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). However, the content herewith presented does not represent the position of the UNHCR or the United Nations. It is the sole responsibility of the author.

Background: Rwanda and Uganda are neighboring countries that have a long history of friendship, and recently a history of enmity. While the open conflict started three years ago, analysts surmise it started in the 1990s when interests diverged. After failed mediation attempts under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the paper notes that the recent visit of President Museveni’s son to President Kagame of Rwanda on the 22 of January 2022 seems to be a game-changer or a sign of game change, of the sick bilateral relationships. This paper sets out to analyze conflict and conflict management strategies.

Methodology: This paper triangulates documents analysis and historiography in the view of ascertaining the applicability of political realism to the understanding of bilateral relations between Rwanda and Uganda since the 1990s, with a particular emphasis on the refugee factor.

Conclusion: The paper concludes that the realist view applies to the competing nature of the analyzed bilateral relations. It observes that the refugee factor is not the core root cause of the conflict. It, however, observes that refugees become a factor in the conflict those neighboring countries may fall back on to threaten or destabilize the security of their neighbors.

Recommendation: The paper recommends that host states observe asylum’s humanitarian and civil character. The paper recommends that the democratic states’ bilateral relations should not hinge upon the whims of Presidents’ family members but institutions. However, parties must snatch this opportunity when changes of attitude facilitate conflict resolution. They should also engage in constructive conflict management practices instead of threatening the human rights of each other’s populations. If this fails, the paper reminds regional bodies to take bold steps to recall their members’ obligations under international law.

  1. Introduction

This paper sets out to analyse the bilateral relations between Rwanda and Uganda, focusing on the “refugee factor” in the conflict. It is divided into three major parts: the conflict context, methodological and theoretical considerations, factors and actors of the conflict, conflict resolution efforts, analysis of stakeholders, Museveni son’s visit to Rwanda, and final reflections.

  1. The Conflict Context

In this section, the paper outlines primary economic and demographic data. It also reviews the history of the two states and outlines elements of friendship between the neighbouring countries.

Rwanda is a small country with a territory of 26,338 square kilometres. She is also known for un pays de mille collines, a thousand hills, after her mountains and rivers that meander through them before filling lakes spread across the country. With a subtropical climate, she has one of the highest population densities in Africa, 525 per square kilometre, and is home to approximately 12,950,000 [1]. Rwanda borders: Uganda in the North, Tanzania in the East, the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West, and Burundi in the South. Rwanda’s economy is overwhelmingly rural and heavily dependent on agriculture[2]: agriculture (24.07 percent), the industry contributed (18 percent), and the services sector (49.27 percent)[3]. Rwanda depends on much of its imports on a trade route through the Northern Corridor (Uganda to Kenya’s Indian Ocean port of Mombasa). Uganda lies between Kenya in the west, South Sudan in the north, the west of the DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and the north of Rwanda and Tanzania. Uganda is home to around 45,741,007 people[4], with a population density of 229 square kilometres. Uganda’s economy depends on agriculture (24.2 percent), industry (25.5 percent), and services (50.3 percent)[5]. The two neighbours have historically depended on each other economically through imports/exports.

The two countries do not have the same colonization history; Germany colonized Rwanda in 1884 and was put under the Belgian protectorate in 1916 (after Germany had lost World War I). The colonial rule-governed in a manner that made the two main social classes (Tutsi and Hutu) enemies. It led to the so-called 1959 Revolution and the independence in 1962, favouring the Hutu and against the Tutsi, the majority of whom were forced to seek asylum in neighbouring countries, Uganda inclusive. Inside the country, ethnic competition culminated in the 1994 genocide committed against the Tutsi, which left Rwanda’s economy and social fabric in ashes[6]. In 1894. Uganda became a protectorate of the British Empire; became independent from the United Kingdom in 1962. After its independence, Idi Amin overthrew Milton Obote in 1971, and Obote was overthrown in 1979. Museveni was a chief of the rebellion that toppled Ugandan leaders Idi Amin (1971–79) and Milton Obote (1980–85) before becoming President in 1986[7].

Despite the difference in colonial heritage, Rwanda and Uganda had had relations since centuries ago when Banyarwanda immigrated in Uganda, as laborers pushed by the poor living conditions in the Belgian colonies and pulled by compounded effects of religion-inflected civil wars in Buganda, the wars of conquest in the East and North, and the collapse of pre-colonial medicine, along with the interruption of agriculture, which claimed lots of active lives. It contributed because the British needed more labour to help grow the cash crops. The Banyarwanda adopted new identities and names to integrate better [8]. Also, the Belgian colonizers engineered ethnic-based conflicts between the Hutu and Tutsi, leading to massive outfluxes to neighbouring countries, including Uganda, after the so-called 1959 Revolution [9].

One factor that goes silent is the effect of new borders imposed after the Berlin Conference (the 15 of November 1884 – the 26 of February 1885). Driven by their desire to regulate colonization and trade in Africa, the European imperial powers drew geometrical borders without considering social affinities on either side. As a result, the people of Rwandan descent found themselves at the other side of the border of all countries neighbouring Rwanda. Therefore, some Banyarwanda found themselves on the other side of the border. It is not surprising that the Constitution of Uganda mentions Banyarwanda as their 24th indigenous community as of the 1 of February 1926 (see article 10 (a)).

Above, the book hinted that some Rwandans sought asylum in Uganda due to the so-called 1959 Revolution and subsequent years. Faced with the hardships of refugeehood, they negotiated a peaceful return. In response, the then Rwandan government denied most of them a right to citizenship, while she imposed extreme conditions to those whose citizenship was accepted; returnees were not allowed to claim their properties. They would return after proving that they could sustain themselves. These sufferings played in favour of a young Yoweri Museveni; he recruited most of them in the rebellion, including Paul Kagame, and launched a war (1981 – 1986) to seize Uganda’s presidency [10]. After seizing power in 1986, Museveni worked with Rwandan refugees, including Kagame, who worked as his military intelligence chief. In 1994, Museveni supported the liberation war against Kigali, with Kagame as the Commander, to end the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Kagame and Museveni then battled on the same side during the First Congo War in 1996, helping to oust the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and backing his rival, Laurent Kabila[11]. The two countries are members of the East African Community (EAC) and members of the Commonwealth.

  1. Philosophical Considerations

The analysis in this paper draws from political realism. Its “ways of knowing” draws on documents analysis and reflective methods as outlined below:

3.1. Political Realism in International Relations

The realist view, another way of calling political realism, has its first roots arguably in the works of Thucydides (c. 460–c. 400 B.C.E.), where he asked whether states’ relations mind the norms of justice [12]. Machiavelli (1469–1527) also contributed to political realism in his De Principatibus (the prince). In his investigation of power, the balance of power, formation of alliances and counter alliances, and the causes of conflict between different city-states, he submitted that morality is irrelevant in politics and claimed that all means (moral and immoral) are justified to achieve certain political ends[13]. In other words, political realism stresses the competitive and conflictual side of international politics. Realists consider the principal actors in the international arena to be states concerned with their security, pursuing their national interests, and struggle for power[14]. This paper does not aim at discussing the evolution of political realism. It instead seeks to use this lens to examine the bilateral relations between Rwanda and Uganda.

3.2. Ways of Knowing

Studies aim to contribute to existing knowledge – knowledge being a true belief that can be justified by those who claim it [15]. To justify the knowledge shared in this paper, the researcher is a duty bearer who transparently outlines the process, including a theoretical underpinning above, data collection and analysis, and conclusions[16]. As such, this paper draws from documents analysis and historiography. It uses journal articles, relevant websites, international or municipal laws, public policies, strategic plans, official reports, newspaper articles, handbooks, and training materials[17]. The researcher intends to review them to get the background information, get normative evidence, seek corroboration, and breed credibility of findings and conclusions ( Bowen, 2009). This technique is helpful for its unobtrusiveness; availability does not necessarily require prior permissions, primarily when published in public domains [18]. It also uses historiography to recapture the complex nuances, the people, meanings, events, and ideas of the past that have influenced and shaped the present [19]. This method interprets past events or facts to understand current events better and foresee future perspectives.

  1. The Conflict: Factors and Actors

Under this section, the paper reviews the old alliance, possible factors for breaking the alliance, and interests pursued by each of these countries.

4.1. NRA and RPA fighting a common enemy

Back in history, Rwandan refugees in Uganda fought alongside the current President Museveni as members of the National Resistance Army (NRA), with Rwandan soldiers estimated at more than a third of the forces. However, their comrades from various ethnic backgrounds did not like the Banyarwanda. Similarly, Museveni, who seemed to appreciate their services, was labelled a Munyarwanda[20]. Simultaneously, Museveni had an uphill task of convincing President Habyarimana of Rwanda that no enemy would launch an attack from the Uganda territory. In his three-day state visit, he was recorded explaining that while he would not mind if he were Rwandan, it was a point of the fact that there was no blood in his lineage[21]. However, it is also a point that the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), a military wing of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), launched an attack from the soil of Uganda, reportedly against Museveni’s knowledge[22]. In any case, the role of Banyarwanda communities in Ugandan national politics has been remarkable, yet Banyarwanda has been scapegoats for Ugandan ills whenever tensions with Rwanda arose[23].

4.2. RPA and NRA pursuing their security agenda beyond their borders

After the liberation war, Rwanda and Uganda were allies in fighting armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Rwanda pursuing its ex-Forces Armées Rwandaises (ex-FAR) and Interahamwe, Uganda hunting its rebels, including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The countries also joined arms to overthrow Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (Mobutu) of the then Zaire. In the Second Congo War, Rwanda and Uganda became enemies. In Kisangani, two forces fought when the Rwandan army refused to obey orders from their fellow Ugandan military officers[24]. Reportedly, many Ugandan officials refer sardonically to their RPA former comrades as “juniors” and “boys” to underscore the fact that Museveni was once their Commander in Chief. It was an extension of Museveni’s attitude towards deciding what the post-genocide Rwanda should have been, a position that Rwandans vehemently rejected[25]. Since then, while the conflict did not escalate into armed violence, the relations experienced in recent years were not at their best, and mediation efforts did not attend to root causes[26].

4.3. Uganda allegedly supports Rwandan enemies

Despite the shared history, the United Nations Group of Experts report suggests that Uganda and other countries trained and armed the Rwandan armed rebellion under the umbrella of the “Platform Five – P5- including AMAHORO-PC, FDU-Inkingi, PDP-Imanzi, PS-Imberakuri and Rwanda National Congress[27]. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa is at the head of this platform that seeks to capture power from the hands of RPF[28]. Like his many compatriots, Kayumba was a refugee in Uganda and served in NRA and the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). He also joined hands with his compatriots in the war that stopped the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. After their return from exile, he served as the Rwandan Army Chief of Staff (1998 to 2002) and Ambassador of Rwanda to India. The Military High Court (MHC) sentenced him in absentia to 24 years in prison for various accounts, including forming a terrorist group[29], undermining public order[30], promoting ethnic divisions[31], and deserting the army[32]. He was also dismissed with disgrace by the Rwanda Defence Forces.

In July, December 2018, and April 2019, these armed elements carried out incursions into Rwanda’s territory and claimed the lives of civilians. Some rebel commanders were captured and faced trial in Rwanda, while escapes found a quiet haven on Uganda’s territory[33]. Besides, Rwanda repeatedly accused Uganda of abducting, illegally detaining, and torturing some Rwandans on Uganda’s territory, which prompted Rwanda’s travel advisory against going to Uganda[34]. On the other side, Kampala was distrustful about Rwanda’s connections with its security organs; in 2019, Kampala claimed that Rwandan elements entered the territory and killed civilians, a claim refuted by Rwanda, saying that it was pursuing a group of smugglers[35], and reshuffled its security apparatus to ensure that Kigali allies are checked[36].

Amidst these accusations and counteraccusations, the conflict escalated.

The security-related claims triggered economic wars; Rwanda accused Uganda of stopping its trucks from proceeding to Mombasa Port, resulting in heavy financial losses, without a sufficient explanation, which prompted Kigali to seek an alternative export destination[37]. In the same competition, Kampala accused Kigali of blocking cargos from Uganda and stopping its nationals from crossing into Uganda[38], allegations refuted by replicating that there were renovation works at the Gatuna / Katuna border, which resulted in redirecting the trucks to Gatuna / Katuna border, located in 100 km from the Gatuna / Katuna border[39]. These unhealthy relationships have had economic consequences; Uganda has lost more than $300m in exports to Rwanda[40], Rwanda has lost about USD 19m per annum in exports to Uganda[41]. Also, small-scale traders and laborers on both sides were negatively affected. Despite efforts to mediate these differences, the relationships have not improved; efforts did not address the root causes of the conflict, which called for constructive conflict management to harness its energy for creativity and development.

4.4. The Uganda – Rwandan refugee diplomacy

On the 31 of December 2017, Rwanda and UNHCR activated the Cessation Clause for Rwandan refugees who fled the country between 1959- 1998. Under Article 1C (5) and (6) of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, ceased circumstances are:

(5) He [she] can no longer because the circumstances in connexion with which she/he has been recognized as a refugee have ceased to exist, continue to refuse to avail [herself] himself of the protection of the country of [her] his nationality; Provided that this paragraph shall not apply to a refugee falling under section A(1) of this Article who is able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous persecution for refusing to avail [her] himself of the protection of the country of nationality;

(6) Being a person who has no nationality he is, because the circumstances in connexion with which [she] he has been recognized as a refugee have ceased to exist, able to return to the country of [her] his former habitual residence; Provided that this paragraph shall not apply to a refugee falling under section A(1) of this Article who is able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous persecution for refusing to return to the country of [her] his former habitual residence.

These two provisions may look alike, but they do not. Under Article 1C (5), cessation of reasons that had caused a person to free apply to those persons who had a known nationality, while under 1C (6), the cessation applies to the stateless persons. The phrase “circumstances in connection with which he has been recognized as a refugee” denotes the objective situation in the refugee’s country of origin. The application of the cessation clause presupposes fundamental, substantial, and substantial changes in the country of origin, which can be assumed to remove the basis of the fear of persecution, which may happen suddenly or gradually[42]. In a few words, the cessation clause recognizes that the circumstances that motivated the refugee status determination or those that may have happened after the RSD decision are of such a nature that refugees do no longer have a founded fear of persecution; they can voluntarily repatriate in dignity and safety.

After stopping the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, repatriation of refugees was one of the new government’s priorities. In July 2003, Uganda, Rwanda, and UNHCR signed a tripartite agreement (UNHCR, 2003a) that put a legal and operational framework for the voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees in Uganda[43]. In the same vein, the cessation clause activated on the 31 of December 2017 encouraged voluntary repatriation for Rwandan refugees, including those in Uganda. However, a report suggests that the cessation clause was meant to meet the actors’ interests, including the international community, regional geopolitics, Uganda, and Rwanda[44]. Nevertheless, there were concerns about the refusal of Uganda to enforce the clause, arguing that it would not deport the Rwandan refugees living in the country as some of them were asylum seekers[45]. As of the 31 of December 2021, Uganda hosted 25,772 Rwandan refugees[46]. In addition, reports were suggesting active recruitments from refugee settlements – such as Kiboga, Kibale, Nyakivara in Uganda, under the host state’s security apparatus’s supervision to destabilize Rwanda[47]. The same drive continued after Museveni’s swearing-in for another six years term[48], including issuing an official diplomatic passport to Mukankusi, a Rwandan member of the RNC, which is a stumbling block to the voluntary return. It was also reported that Museveni removed General Kale Kayihura from the headship of the police due to his alleged illegal deportation of Rwandan refugees to Rwanda (refoulement)[49], including Kagame’s former bodyguard, Lieutenant Joel Mutabazi who disappeared from a UN refugee camp in 2013 and is now serving a life prison sentence in Rwanda[50]. From this evidence, a refugee issue has been a stumbling block in bilateral relations. In other words, when countries – especially neighbours – have disagreements over their interests, they tend to use refugees as a security threat. Below, the paper carries on a discussion on interests at stake for both countries.

4.5. Interests at Stake 

The ongoing diatribe puts Rwanda’s economic and security interests at stake. First, it jeopardizes Rwanda’s economy: Rwanda’s size and location have a bearing on the economy. A small country with a territory of 26,338 square kilometres, with one of the highest population densities in Africa, 525 per square kilometre[51],  is home to more than 12,000,000[52]. Rwanda’s neighbours are Uganda in the North, Tanzania in the East, DRC in the West, and Burundi in the South. Rwanda’s economy hinges upon agriculture (24.07 percent), industry (18 percent), and services sector 49.27 percent[53]. Rwanda’s balance of trade has been chronically negative; while improving over the years, the trade deficit was 1.54 billion USD in 2019, it was 1.32 billion USD in 2018, 1.2 billion USD in 2017, and 1.52 billion USD in 2016[54]. Most imports and exports go through the Northern Corridor – Uganda to Kenya’s Indian Ocean port of Mombasa[55], located in 1,800km. This Corridor also serves Burundi, DRC, and South Sudan. Alternatively, Rwanda uses the Central Corridor via Tanzania (1,400 km long from Rwanda and about 1,500 km from Burundi). Its leading trade partners are DRC:32.1 percent, the UAE:29.6 percent, Uganda: 5.3 percent, and Switzerland: 4.6 percent; with imports coming primarily from China (19.9 percent) followed by India (8.8 percent), Kenya (8.7 percent), and Tanzania: 8.4 percent [56]. The current deadlock hinders the trade from in and from Rwanda through the Northern Corridor. For a landlocked country like Rwanda, this is an existential matter with the potential to put it on its knees, if there are no alternatives. Rwanda has expressed her concerns over sabotaging trade by frustrating goods transiting through Uganda and destined for Rwanda, which eventually occasioned losses. For some time, Uganda denied RwandAir to use the Entebbe route to London, which is another threat to Rwanda’s economic performance.

Secondly, the conflict has Rwanda’s security at stake in three ways. Uganda has illegally detained and tortured Rwandans on Uganda’s territory. Kigali provided a list of Rwandans detained in Uganda and Kampala committed to verifying the information to ensure due process[57]. Besides, Uganda has allegedly supported anti-Rwanda groups aimed at destabilizing the government in Kigali[58], such as including the Rwanda National Congress[59] and FDLR allied and other movements under the P5 (Amahoro People’s Congress (Amahoro-PC), the People’s Defence Pact-Imanzi (PDP-Imanzi), the Forces Démocratiques Unifiées-Inkingi (FDU Inkingi), and the Social Party-Imberakuri (PS Imberakuri)[60]. P5 elements carried out incursions in 2018 (July and December), April 2019 into Rwanda’s territory and claimed the lives of civilians. Some rebel commanders were captured and faced trial in Rwanda[61]. Finally, it seems Kigali is not amused with the belittling attitude of Uganda’s leadership towards Rwanda[62]. From reports, this unhealthy relationship has a history. One of the historical events occurred in the Kisangani tug of war: two forces fought when the Rwandan army refused to obey orders from their fellow Ugandan military officers[63]. Reportedly, many Ugandan officials refer sarcastically to their RPA former comrades as “juniors” and “boys” to underscore that Museveni was once their Commander in Chief. It was an extension of Museveni’s attitude towards the post-genocide Rwanda should have been, which was rejected by Rwandans[64]. Since then, while the conflict did not escalate into further violence, the current relations show that efforts did not attend to root causes[65]; these belittling and patronizing attitudes are likely to escalate conflicts since they tend to be ideology-driven[66]. Given security and economic interests at stake, Rwanda is facing an existential threat that warrants action in defense of the interests and safety of Rwandans.

Uganda, too, has economic and security interests. Uganda is between Kenya in the west, South Sudan in the north, the west of the DRC, and the north of Rwanda and Tanzania. Home to around 45,741,007 people[67], its population density is 229 square kilometres. Its economy depends on services: 50.3 percent, industry: 25.5 percent, and agriculture: 24.2 percent[68]. The two neighbours have historically depended on each other economically through imports and exports. Rwanda is the third export partner for Uganda, with 6.9 percent of all exports in 2018 after Kenya: 18.8 percent and UAE:18.2 percent[69]. While Uganda is landlocked, it enjoys a geographical location that can influence the flow of commodities in and from Rwanda. Reports suggest that Uganda has lost more than USD 300m in exports to Rwanda (The Chronicles, 2020), Rwanda has lost about 19m USD per annum in exports to Uganda[70]. Besides, small-scale traders and laborers on both sides were negatively affected and pushed to explore multiple coping mechanisms. These deplorable developments have also impeded the EAC’s dream to expand economic, political, social, and cultural integration to advance the standard of living for the people of East Africa through increased competitiveness, value-added production, trade, and investments[71]. Despite efforts to conciliate these differences, the relationships have not improved; efforts did not address the root causes of the conflict. There is a need for constructive conflict management to harness its energy for creativity and development. Uganda has security interests to chase; like Rwanda, she has security interests and imminent threats from rebel movements in DRC, including ADF, and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which operates in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the DRC. The state does therefore have an interest in ensuring its security is tight. However, one may germanely ask whether Rwanda is threatening Uganda’s legitimate interests.

  1. Conflict Resolution Efforts

Under auspices of International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Presidents João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço (Lourenço) and Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo (Tshisekedi) of DRC offered to facilitate the negotiation process. Two rounds happened under their leadership: Round one took place in Luanda, and two heads of states signed a Memorandum of Understanding; Round Two happened in Kigali as a meeting for the joint Adhoc committee; Round Three happened in Uganda as a meeting for the Joint Adhoc committee, and Round Four happened in Gatuna as a Summit.

On the 21 of August 2019, Kagame and Museveni met in Luanda and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to restore relationships. In addition to Lourenço and Tshisekedi, Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo – Brazza), under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region witnessed the ceremony[72]. The UN Secretary-General saluted the efforts in a press release, urging neighbours to restore friendly ties and cooperation for regional stability[73]. Kagame and Museveni committed to respecting each other’s sovereignty and that of the neighbouring countries. They also undertook to desist from financing and training, each other’s hostile forces. They finally agreed to uphold the rights and freedoms of their citizens residing or transiting, continue cross-border arrangements, including the movement of persons and goods, as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary hardships for their citizens.

On the 17 of September 2019, building on the MoU signed in Angola one month earlier, the Adhoc commission met in Kigali, Rwanda, to defuse tensions. The Rwandan Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Olivier Nduhungirehe, underscored the long history between the two countries as a factor that would make the process smooth towards restored relations. Kigali voiced her concerns about cases involving Rwandans who have been illegally detained or tortured on Ugandan soil. Kigali also voiced its concern for Uganda as it hosts and supports terror groups aimed at destabilizing the government in Kigali[74]. Kigali provided a list of Rwandans detained in Uganda and Kampala committed to verifying the information to ensure due process[75]. Regarding the allegations of supporting the anti- Rwanda forces, Minister Sam Kahamba Kutesa commented that Uganda did not stand to benefit anything in destabilizing Rwanda, just like Rwanda benefited nothing in destabilizing Uganda. In attendance, Manuel Domingos Augusto, the Angolan Minister of External Relations, voiced his optimism, saying the negotiation process testified how African countries could work together to resolve their issues[76].

On the 13 of December 2019, the Adhoc committee met after three postponements. The delegations included Foreign Ministers, Internal Affairs Ministers, Intelligence Chiefs, and High Commissioners. However, commentators suggested that Rwanda and Uganda failed to outline all issues at stake, such as Uganda’s sabotage of the railway project that would eventually have reached Rwanda’s border, which would have made a difference in the economy of Rwanda. However, the talks reached another deadlock[77].

On the 21 of February 2020, Kagame and Museveni, with mediation from Lourenço and Tshisekedi, held their summit at the Gatuna border. The only summit’s output was a bilateral signature for the Extradition Treaty by Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Any suspected criminal in either country would not be deported but extradited from that on. After the summit, the ball was put solely back on the Ugandan side. Uganda had to first deal with the dissidents and rebel forces on its territory fighting Rwanda and ensuring respect for international human rights and international humanitarian laws. Facilitators asked Uganda to finish the homework within a one-month deadline, report to the Adhoc commission, after which the state leaders would meet [78]. Below, the paper outlines the failure of mediation, shy stakeholders, and mediators who missed the opportunity.

5.1. The Solution: Could Mediation Contribute?

The previous sections have outlined the history of Rwanda – Uganda relationships, conflict dynamics, mediation efforts, and an evaluation of these efforts. The question remains: Were these differences irremediable? Below, the study analyses: (i) issues and players, (ii) negotiation tactics in practice (based on four rounds so far conducted).

  1. a) Issues and Players

Rwanda and Uganda are neighbouring states, both members of the East African Community (EAC) – This organization brings together Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, South Sudan, and recently, DRC. It seeks to expand economic, political, social, and cultural integration to advance the standard of living for the people through increased competitiveness, value-added production, trade, and investments. Despite a shared heritage, the recent developments suggest a fratricide conflict.

Table 1. List of Allegations

Rwanda accuses Uganda Uganda accuses Rwanda
Uganda provides training and arms to Kayumba’s Platform Five (P5). Rwanda has attempted to infiltrate Uganda’s security apparatus.
Uganda has illegally stopped goods from Rwanda to Mombasa without explanation Rwandan police murdered Ugandan civilians on Rwanda’s territory.
Uganda has been abducting, illegally detaining, and subjecting Rwandans on its territory to torture and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment. Rwanda closed its shared border with Uganda (Gatuna/Katuna). Rwanda activated an advisory against traveling to Uganda.

c)Negotiation in Practice

Under auspices of ICGLR, Presidents Lourenço of Angola and Tshisekedi of DRC offered to facilitate the negotiation four rounds: Round one took place in Luanda, and two heads of states signed a Memorandum of Understanding; Round Two happened in Kigali as a meeting for the joint Adhoc committee; Round Three happened in Uganda as a meeting for the Joint Adhoc committee, and Round Four happened in Gatuna as a Summit. Below, the study analyses four negotiations rounds. It utilizes the videos available in the public domain on these negotiation rounds.

Round I: Luanda Mini-Summit

On the 21 of August 2019, Kagame and Museveni met in Luanda over this challenge under the auspices of the ICGLR. Presidents João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço (Angola), Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo (DRC), and Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo – Brazza[79]. Rwanda and Uganda presented a list of complaints against each other, and each party responded. They included the interference in each other’s sovereignty; destabilization activities in each other’s territory; protection of each other’s citizens’ rights and freedoms in transit or living on the territory; border closure; promote comprehensive cooperation in security, defence, trade, and cultural exchange, investment, based on complementary and synergies. At the end of the summit, two heads of state signed an MoU to solve these hiccups. Uganda and Rwanda committed to activating an Ad Hoc Commission for the MoU operation, ensuring solutions to these issues, and keeping facilitators informed of developments[80]. The UN Secretary-General saluted the efforts in a press release, urging neighbours to restore friendly ties and cooperation for regional stability[81]. In analysis, this round was successful in many respects; Parties did not stick to their positions; they highlighted their interests, clearly articulated issues, and duly agreed on solutions. They also packaged their agreement in a Memorandum of Understanding and bilaterally signed it. It was evidence of commitment. There was an understanding that there were many technical issues that were involved. The practice is exemplary as it delineates solutions and delegates technical work to the Adhoc committee and details the committee’s membership: Ministers for Foreign Affairs as co-chairs, Ministers responsible for internal administration, and head of Intelligence as members.

Round II: Kigali Meeting

On the 16 of September 2019, building on the MoU signed in Angola one month previously, the Adhoc commission met in Kigali, Rwanda, to defuse tensions. The meeting reportedly proceeded in a cordial and frank manner. The Rwandan Minister of State of Foreign Affairs underscored the long history between the two countries as a factor that would make the process smooth towards restored relations. Kigali voiced her concerns about cases involving Rwandans who have been illegally detained or tortured on Ugandan soil. The Minister also voiced Uganda’s hosting and supporting terror groups aimed at destabilizing the government in Kigali[82]. Hearing both Ministers’ ponderous speeches, one senses a shared commitment to negotiate[83]. Regarding the allegations of Uganda supporting the anti- Rwanda forces, Minister Kutesa (Uganda’s MFA) commented that his country benefits nothing in destabilizing Rwanda, just like Rwanda benefits nothing in destabilizing Uganda[84]. It was promising to hear parties define the problem[85]. The following table summarises the allegations, evidence, and explanation from the “defending” party:

Table 2. List of Allegations, Evidence, and Response

Allegation Evidence & Response
Uganda provides training and arms to anti- Rwanda “terrorists.” Evidence: The independent experts (UN Report) corroborates this allegation [86]; Anti-Rwanda elements carried out incursions into Rwanda’s territory, some of them were captured. Their statements before the investigators and their confessions in court public hearings corroborate the UN report.

Response: Uganda says it has no interest in destabilizing Rwanda’s security.

Uganda has arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained, and subjected to degrading and inhuman treatment of some Rwandans on its territory. Evidence: There are testimonies of Rwandans who survived torture and Uganda dumped at the border post. Besides, Rwanda shared a list of those detained.

Response: Rwanda has attempted to infiltrate Uganda’s security; that is why Uganda arrests Rwandans.

Uganda has illegally stopped goods from Rwanda to Mombasa without explanation Evidence: factual. No explanation. However, Uganda insists it supports regional economic integration.
Rwanda has closed its shared border with Uganda Evidence: factual. However, Rwanda suggests that Uganda misinterpreted border renovation for closure.

Response: Gatuna border post was closed for rehabilitation purposes. Rwanda redirected Uganda’s cargo trucks to the other Kagitumba border post [87].

Rwanda has advised citizens against traveling to Uganda Evidence: Factual

Response: Because Rwanda cannot guarantee safety and security while on Uganda’s territory

Rwandan police have murdered Ugandan nationals in Rwanda’s territory. Evidence: factual – exchange of corps happened

Response: These were smugglers of illicit commodities. They attacked the police, who shot them dead in self-defence.

 

The two delegations agreed on some issues by the end of the day: First, Rwanda provided a list of Rwandans detained in Uganda, while Uganda committed to verifying each name through due process and releasing those with no evidence of criminal conduct. Second, parties’ delegations agreed they would follow due process in dealing with each other’s citizens suspected of any criminal offense. Third, parties reiterated a commitment to refraining from any act of destabilization against each other. Fourth, parties agreed to finalize the extradition treaty to provide a legal framework for the future exchange of criminal fugitives. Fifth, parties agreed to cease all forms of hostilities in mainstream and social media. Sixth, parties agreed that the movement of goods and services across the shared border and other outstanding issues should be in the next meeting. Finally, the parties agreed that the subsequent meeting would be held in Kampala after 30 days to review the implementation of the Luanda MoU[88]. Manuel Domingos Augusto, the Angolan MFA in attendance, voiced his optimism, saying it testifies how African countries can work together to resolve their issues[89]. In analysis, this round recorded some success; parties were able to delineate issues of common interest, focussed on leading issues, allowed sub-issues to emerge and articulate solution[90], and were pragmatic to mention that there were issues not covered in the meeting, and the following meeting would discuss them[91]. It was also commendable to suggest alternating meeting venues between Kampala and Uganda, a concession and division of labor between negotiating states.

 Round II: Kampala Meeting

On the 13 of December 2019, the Adhoc committee met after three postponements.

Table 3. Summary of issues and outcomes from Kampala Meeting

Issue Evaluation
Uganda supports anti- Rwanda terrorists and hostile propaganda in mainstream and social media. Uganda proposes a Joint Verification Mechanism as a basis of good faith. Rwanda objected to this.
Arbitrary arrest and illegal detention of Rwandans Drafting of the extradition treaty in progress
Ugandans killed on Rwanda’s territory Drafting of the extradition treaty in progress
Border closure by Rwanda Rwanda suggests it is a misinterpretation; Ugandans can come to Rwanda. Only Rwandans cannot travel to Uganda due to safety and security concerns for Rwandans traveling to or transiting.
Rwanda’s attempts for infiltrating Uganda’s security organs Refuted by Rwanda

 

Uganda and Rwanda MFAs, briefing the media after the meeting, were glad that the talks were cordial. On a positive note, parties noted progress regarding the drafting of the extradition treaty. On the other hand, there is a standoff. Rwanda reiterated its threefold interests: anti-Rwanda armed groups operating in Uganda, illegal arrest and arbitrary detention of Rwandans, and hostile propaganda. Rwanda complained that Uganda had arrested more than 1000 Rwandans since January 2019. Minister Olivier highlighted a need for good faith and goodwill from Uganda to implement the Luanda MoU and the Kigali Communiqué. On Uganda’s side, Minister Kutesa highlighted two issues: attempts for infiltration of security of organs by Rwanda and border closure. He also highlighted that Uganda had no interest in destabilizing neighbouring countries’ security[92]. Minister Kuteesa suggested a joint verification mechanism, to which Rwanda replied that no number of commissions would supplant the need for goodwill and good faith. After failing to achieve a substantive agreement on raised issues, both parties agreed they would brief their principals and seek guidance on the way forward. In analysis, these talks were prone to a standoff. Parties agree to engage in cordial conversations, but the outcome does not show cordiality and good faith. More than 1,000 Rwandans were arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained in Uganda. Minister Kuteesa alleges that these were suspects of attempted infiltration of Uganda’s security apparatus. Does this arbitrary warrant detention and illegal detention? Why are they dumped at the border will irrefutable signs of torture?

Moreover, there is room to suggest that parties were shy about catching the bull by its hones: Why would Rwanda seek to infiltrate Uganda’s security organs? Why does Uganda support anti-Rwanda terrorists? This issue has a history; Rwanda and Uganda fought a fratricide war in Kisangani, and subsequent investigations revealed that Uganda was to blame. Uganda has been sabotaging some trade-related efforts, including the railway project[93]. It would have reached Rwanda’s border, making a difference in Rwanda’s economy[94]. After the project was redirected to South Sudan, Uganda clarified that economics guided them in this decision. While economics may have contributed, states do not always calculate their interests through economic formulae. In any case, the second Ad hoc meeting reached another stalemate [95], warranting the intervention of principals.

Round IV: Gatuna Summit

On the 21 of February 2020, Presidents Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, with lubrication from Lourenço and Tshisekedi, held a summit at Gatuna / Katuna border. As usual, facilitators ingratiate parties and urge them to negotiate in good faith. On the Uganda side, the people in the NRM yellow colours stood by the road, waving to the delegation near the Katuna border. Museveni took time to speak to them and hinted at why he was in the area. There is no doubt the people of Rwanda and Uganda alike were respectively awaiting changes in cross-border movements and concrete outcomes. After talks in-camera, officials briefed the media thereafter. Below, the table summarises the Summit’s outcomes:

Table 4. Summary of issues and evaluation from Gatuna Summit

SN Issue Description Progress
1 Respect for the sovereignty of each other’s and the neighbouring state’s territory. Uganda proposes a Joint Verification Mechanism. Rwanda replies that there is only a need for goodwill and good faith from Uganda. The Extradition Treaty bilaterally signed by Ministries of Foreign Affairs provides a legal framework of handling nationals of each other suspected of disturbing the sovereignty of a neighbouring state.
2 Acts of destabilization or subversion in the territory of the other party Rwanda shares a list of rebels with a haven in Uganda. Extradition Treaty bilaterally signed by Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Uganda withdrew the passport from Charlotte Mukankusi[96], who enjoyed a Ugandan Passport and free movement worldwide.
3 Resuming cross-border activities between both countries, including a free movement of goods and persons, for the development and improvement of populations’ lives. Rwanda maintains that the free movement of goods and persons depends on whether Rwandans would be safe and secure on Uganda’s territory.
4 Protecting and respecting rights of freedoms for each other’s nationals 24 Rwandans released from Uganda, 20 Ugandans released from Rwanda, three had consumed their sentences. The extradition Treaty partly addresses this. Rwanda shared a long list of Rwandans still languishing in Uganda’s illegal detention facilities.
5 Comprehensive cooperation in the fields of security, defense, trade and cultural exchange, investment, based on complementarity and synergies It depends on other issues presented above. It is the desired outcome.

 

At the end of the Summit, MFAs bilaterally signed an Extradition Treaty. It is a positive development; the countries would henceforth extradite any suspected criminal. However, the four negotiations did not assuage Rwanda’s concerns over three issues: Uganda’s support to rebel organizations, safety and security of its progeny, and hostile campaigns against Rwanda in the mainstream and social media. Facilitators’ recommendations tasked Uganda to suppress hostile activities against Rwanda and observe the international human rights and international humanitarian laws. Facilitators asked Uganda to finish the homework within a one-month deadline report to the Adhoc commission, after which the state leaders would meet [97]. President Kagame commented that there could be as many lectures about integration as possible, but the integration of regions and communities would result from action and good faith. Since the Gatuna/Katuna Summit, fourteen months have elapsed, yet nothing happened until Muhoozi visited Kagame. Let us elaborate a bit on the treaty.

5.2. The Treaty: Is it a treaty by the meaning of article 2 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT)?

Rwanda and Uganda concluded a bilateral agreement, each represented by the MFAs (article 102 of UN Charter). Minister Kutesa and Biruta had full powers to discharge their task[98]. Therefore, the two parties signed a bilateral agreement[99]. One question remains: is the agreement signed in Gatuna is a treaty in the meaning of art 2 of the VCLT? A priori, the agreement is not a treaty. Here are the arguments: First, by article 2 of the VCLT, by signing a treaty, parties intend to submit to international law; that is why they register the agreement with the UNSG to avoid secret alliances. In this context, there is doubt about whether the agreement signed was indeed a treaty; to the best of available knowledge, Rwanda and Uganda did not register the document with the United Nations Treaty Series[100] probably because the obligations and rights of each party would cease as soon as the other party performs its side. Second, a treaty creates a pacta sunt servanda expectation. In other words, such a treaty would be binding between the two States, and they would perform it in good faith (VCLT, Article 26). In other words, once Rwanda and Uganda’s MFAs signed the agreement, they were expected to perform in good faith their obligations. However, the paper argues that there is no good faith between the parties. Their parties possibly signed the treaty to dodge horny issues.

Assuming good faith, they would have considered other critical issues of the negotiations outlined since the Luanda Mini-Summit. Third, any such agreement would abide by the principle of reciprocity. This principle requires that states return favors, benefits, penalties, and other forms of treatment that the state grants to legal subjects of a foreign state in kind [101]. Currently, Ugandans doing business in Rwanda or transiting through Rwanda enjoy their rights as nationals of the East African Community. There is a need for Uganda to do the same for Rwandan nationals transiting through Uganda or doing business in Uganda. Fourth, if the agreement were a treaty duly registered with the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), Rwanda would have invoked it before the UN organs. Unfortunately, about three years had elapsed since the facilitators asked Uganda to clean its obligations; not enough resulted from the agreement without any repercussions. Finally, considering the four arguments, the agreement Rwanda signed in Gatuna on the 21 of February 2020, does not qualify to be called a treaty by the definition of article 2 of the VCLT because it does not have a legal force. The prevention of further conflicts does not depend on the agreement’s provisions. It did not implement the extradition with any mechanism to hold it accountable. Finally, and considering the four arguments, the agreement Rwanda signed in Gatuna on the 21 of February, 2020, does not qualify to be called a treaty by the definition of article 2 of the VCLT because it does not have a legal force. The “treaty” failed to prevent further conflicts between Rwanda and Uganda; it only covers extradition, and it failed to carry this out. Other issues outlined in the Luanda agreement were left to the whims of Uganda to implement, and nothing followed Uganda’s inaction since February 2020.

It is also paramount to ask whether some changes did or did not happen. When Kagame and Museveni met in Gatuna, there was more on the table than witnessing the signature of the extradition treaty. In the previous meeting, parties had noted the progress in drafting the extradition letter. There was also a host of other issues that Uganda had to report on: anti-Rwanda propaganda, supporting anti-Rwanda forces, and illegal arrest and arbitrary detention of Rwandans. The treaty, therefore, addresses only the last element in the list. The media captured the pictures of MFAs, Kutesa, and Biruta, signing the treaty with the presence of their principals. The treaty, however, is not available in public domains. The Rwanda MFA website reports that the treaty requires both countries to extradite criminals from each other to face justice instead of deporting them. In practice, two States would communicate regarding criminals arrested on each other’s territory and arrange for an exchange, which is good progress. Since the treaty’s signature, not much has taken place. The media reported sporadic events, including (1) Uganda released 12 Rwandans after a teleconference meeting between MFAs in May 2020 whereby Minister Kutesa said that Uganda would release 130 Rwandans while another 310 would remain in Uganda to face charges in courts of law. Meanwhile, Rwanda lamented that hundreds of more Rwandans are still detained in Uganda without due process of law while being tortured by security organs[102]. (2) Rwanda released 20 Ugandans who were in its prisons after Rwandan courts convicted them of common law crimes. Three of them had finished their sentence. (3) Four men, one woman, and a one-year-old child were deported and dumped at the Ugandan border after undergoing torture in the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) prison. They report they have been eating once a day. They had nails extracted[103]. (4) Uganda released 79 Rwandans in Uganda’s detention facilities on allegations of infiltration and espionage. These are part of the 130 Rwandans that Uganda committed to releasing. Some of these reports lose their property in an illegal process, such as houses and other personal belongings[104]. (5) Ugandan military subjected Rwandans to beatings on allegations of spreading COVID-19. Their property was snatched away from them. They call upon the government to help Rwandans in Ugandan detention centers[105]. (6) Uganda officials dropped a university student who was among 17 Rwandans at the Nyagatare border after being abducted by the CMI when visiting her parents in Uganda. She was jailed in a loo for one and a half weeks and tortured on allegations of espionage [106], and some other sporadic events, small enough to warrant the effectiveness of the “treaty.”

From these releases and deportations, the paper argues that there are still challenges of implementing the bilateral treaty on extradition and other issues highlighted. The conflict has been stubborn partly because Rwanda and Uganda have a shared history; Rwandans were fighting alongside Museveni, and both countries were fighting in DR Congo, where analysts trace back the root causes of the conflict. Furthermore, both states did not change Presidents since then. The realist view best explains the Rwanda-Uganda relationship. All sovereign States need and seek power; it is what matters. Rwanda and Uganda are struggling for each one to influence regional matters in the region and protect its sovereignty and interests[107]. In other words, the realist view emphasizes the role of the nation-state and assumes that all nation-states are motivated by national interests and therefore need the power to influence other actors.

  1. Which Stakeholders shied Away?

Each of these countries had interests and stakes in the conflict. Both seemed to have security and economic interests. Nevertheless, it did not mean that pursuing interests were mutually exclusive. Besides these actors, other stakeholder organizations could have been interested in the situation.

First, the ICGLR: The organization comprises twelve member states: Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia. The ICGLR coordinates, monitors, and ensures the implementation of the pact to reach political stability, security, peace, and development in the Great Lakes region[108]. The creation of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) goes back to the year 2000 when the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed resolutions 1291 and 1304, calling for an international conference on security peace, democracy, and development in the Great Lakes region [109]. The recognition of ICGLR as a mechanism for combating impunity and promoting justice and human rights requires a critical reflection and understanding of the mechanism’s past, present, and future. In the quest to transform the region into a cosmos of peace, security, and sustainable human development, in 2000, the UN Security Council called for an International Conference on peace, security, democracy, and development in the Great Lakes Region (see resolutions 1291 and 1304). In November 2004, the eleven Heads of State and Government of the member states unanimously adopted the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Peace, Security, and Development in the Great Lakes region in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. They convened once again in Nairobi in 2006 to sign the Pact on Security, Stability, and Development in the Great Lakes Region. Later the Secretariat of the ICGLR was established in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Among the relevant protocols, one can cite the Protocol of non-aggression and mutual defense in the region, on democracy and good governance, Protocol on judicial cooperation, and the Protocol for the Prevention preventing and punishment of punishing the crime of genocide, war crimes, and Crimes against Humanity and all forms of discrimination, as well as the Protocol on the Prevention and Punishment of Sexual Violence Against Women and Children (SGBV). For example, the implementation of the Protocol on Non-aggression and Mutual Defence results from the commitment of Member states to eradicate the hostile forces in the region minimize interstate conflict by forging a common destiny around security issues. The main achievements here have been the neutralization of FDLR and M23, the main actors in eastern DRC and the neighbouring countries. In the same vein, the Protocol on Judicial Cooperation is worth comment. A meeting of the Ministers of Justice of the ICGLR Member States convened in Livingstone, Zambia, in August 2015 and made firm commitments to accelerate the domestication of the Protocols, including the one on Judicial Cooperation. On the one hand, the meeting pledged to ensure the domestication of four priority Protocols in 2015 and 2016, namely the Protocol for Non-Aggression and Mutual Defence, the Protocol on Judicial Cooperation, and the Protocol on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Violence against Women and Children.

On the other hand, they committed to complete the domestication of the other six remaining Protocols by 2018. The Network for Judicial Cooperation of the Central Judicial Authorities and Prosecutors of the Great Lakes Region of Africa, usually referred to as “the Great Lakes Judicial Cooperation Network” or “GLJC Network,” was set up during a meeting organized by ICGLR and the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the UN in the Great Lakes Region on 10th and 11th August 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. It seeks to strengthen central judicial authorities, prosecutors, and other actors in the region to combat all forms of cross-border crime and impunity. It is supposed to facilitate investigations within member countries, the extradition of suspects and arrested persons, and letters rogatory when investigations are held in a country (see Article 2 of the Statute). However, the ICGLR failed to make negotiators committed to the agreed-upon duties and responsibilities. From experience, the first and second Congo Wars had originated from unsolved issues in individual states. In addition, the efforts of Lourenço and Tshisekedi were futile. It might suggest that the organization has challenges ensuring that member states abode by their dream for sustainable peace, security, and development in the region.

Secondly, the East African Community should be concerned about and act on the ongoing conflict. Article 52 of the UN Charter recommends regional arrangements for international peace and security in line with the UN’s purposes and principles[110]. As such, the UN members entering regional arrangements shall settle their disputes in a pacific manner through such arrangements before referring them to the Security Council. The East African Community (EAC) could have played a role in the context at hand. On the 30 of November 1999, member states signed the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, and it entered into force on the 7 of July 2000, amended on the 14 of December 2006, and on the 20 of August 2007[111]. Article 5, para 1 of the EAC treaty articulates that the community seeks to expand economic, political, social, and cultural integration to advance the standard of living for the people through increased competitiveness, value-added production, trade, and investments. It also commits to ensuring peace, security, stability within, and good neighbourliness among the Partner States (Article 5, para 1 (f)). The community’s governing principles include peaceful co-existence and good neighbourliness and peaceful settlement of disputes (Article 6, para 1 (b)). From these provisions, Uganda and Rwanda have a platform that they could have used to settle the ongoing conflict. Besides, the Treaty provides for the East African Court of Justice (Article 6, para 1 (c)). The Legal and Institutional framework governing the East African Court of Justice operations is primarily drawn from the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. It is the Treaty that establishes the court as one of its organs (Article 9); provides for its structures/ composition (article 24); mandate (article 23 and 27). And other incidental issues thereto. Under Article 23(2) and (3) of the Treaty, the EACJ shall consist of the first instance division and an Appellate division. The first instance division is competent to hear and determine, at first instance, any matter before the court under the Treaty, subject to appeal. The EAC Treaty imposes some obligations upon the member states ranging from trade liberalization, financial cooperation, cooperation in transport and communication, energy, industrial development, science, and technology through health and environmental matters (Chapter 2), which are bound to bring to the fore much litigation before the court. Like other courts, the EACJ requires parties to meet the locus standi, the capacity to bring actions or appear in court. The Treaty provides that cases can only be instituted at the EACJ in the following manner: 16 Article 28 17 Article 29 18 Article 30 19 Article 34 20 Article 37 21 Article 37 and Rule 17 (1) 22 Rule 17 (2) 23 Rule 17 (3) 24 Rule 17 (4)[112]. A Partner State may seize the court if it considers that another Partner State/organ/institution of the Community has not fulfilled an obligation or has infringed a provision of the Treaty. A State may also seek the court to determine the legality of an Act/ regulation/ directive decision/ action on the ground that it is ultra vires or unlawful or infringes the provisions of the Treaty. It is moreover worth a reflection to discuss the exhaustion of remedies. Under International law, the doctrine of exhaustion of local remedies states that “a State must have the opportunity to redress a supposed wrong within the framework of its domestic legal system before the international responsibility can be called into question at [the] international level. Unlike the African Court of Human and People’s Rights, there is no requirement that applications exhaust domestic remedies as a condition before bringing an application to the court (Article 28), in line with the principle of a “people-centered and market-driven cooperation” as enshrined in Article 7(1) of the EAC – Treaty [113]. In line with a mission to widen and deepen economic, political, social, and cultural integration to advance the standard of living for the people of East Africa through increased competitiveness, value-added production, trade, and investments[114], the organization was in the best position to act if the countries were not able to act. Peace and security are prerequisites to the common market, common currency, and political integration. EAC does not seem to have a muscle to mediate the conflict. First, there are issues between some member states; for example, Rwanda accuses Burundi of harbouring the militia that attacked the southern province and vanished into Burundi, leaving behind enough evidence to track their base (including uniforms, weapons, and prisoners). Moreover, the experience of Burundi in 2015 does not inspire my confidence in the body. After the election-related violence claimed the lives of some citizens and drove thousands out to exile, these bodies could have done better.

Third, the Civil Society in the East African Community: This includes patterns of civic engagement and representation: political parties, professional organizations, labour unions, and religious institutions). These represent the populace, or they ought to represent them in governance, legal, economic, and social structures; maintain communal structures, and avail humanitarian aid[115]. They are interested in ensuring security, bilateral and multilateral relationships as a prerequisite to human development. Fourth, the African Union should be interested: The organization chases an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa, driven by its citizens and on behalf of a dynamic force in the global arena. It is interested in peace and security between neighboring countries and in different continent regions.

Fourth, the African Union has the potential to attend to African problems.  Besides political mediation, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (hereinafter called the African Charter) can help. It assumed its place in history in 1981. Before adopting its constitutive act of the African Union[116], human rights were not recognized officially as a preoccupation objective of the African Union (AU)[117]. The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (African Charter) has reflected efforts by the African continent to grabble with concerns over human rights. The African Charter envisages scrutiny by treaty organs over state conduct that violates human rights. The primary organs for monitoring and protecting human rights under this Charter were the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (Commission), a quasi-judicial body that monitors the Charter and African Court of Human Rights implementation in 2004. With its Protocol establishing the African court on human and people’s rights (African Court), the African Charter is a meaningful contribution to the human rights domain, and no doubt that there is a demand for respect for the promotion and protection of human rights the continent. However, with the realization of the fact that there is a need for a robust apparatus for protecting and promoting human rights, unlike African Commission for human and people’s rights (African Commission), whose recommendations were never binding, the African heads of state signed the Protocol to establish the African Court[118].

During their functions, the Commission and the Court scrutinize incidents and situations within the domestic legal order of state members to the Charter. The commission has even admitted and affirmed the principle that human rights are not the preserve of the domestic jurisdiction of States[119]. However, the African Charter recognizes that the commission may not receive communications related to claims that have not been brought first before organs of the defending state. It is found in article 56 (5) of the African Charter. In today’s human rights domain, individual complaints procedures are the most successful ways of human rights[120]. Like other international and regional human rights mechanisms, the African continental human rights bodies generally require complainants to exhaust domestic remedies before submitting a claim[121]. It means that a person must attempt to use the available national legal protections to seek accountability or reparation for the violation, appealing as necessary until the claim can be pursued no further at the national level. If a person does not receive an adequate remedy from a national body, then he or she may submit a complaint against the state for consideration by a supranational human rights body. The rationale of the local remedies rule embodied in article 56 (5) of the African Charter is to permit a State to deal with a claim brought against it using the judicial and administrative venue within its domestic legal order before it is summoned by an international body to answer for the claim[122]. In the World Organization against Torture and Others v Zaire case, the African Commission stated the raison d’être of the rule: “the requirement of exhaustion of local remedies is based on the principle that a government should be made aware of human rights violation to have the opportunity to address such violations before being called before an international body[123].” Although complaints submitted to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights or the African Court on Human Peoples’ Rights must meet all of the admissibility requirements set out in Article 56 of the African Charter, the African Commission has stated that exhaustion of domestic remedies is one of the most critical conditions for admissibility[124]. More significantly, the commission has had to reflect upon the wording “if any” in article 56 (5) of the Charter, that remedies must be in existence or available within the domestic legal order.

Furthermore, the commission emphasized that the remedies must be available and practical[125]. From what is stated above, the rule of exhaustion of local remedies is not considered if those remedies are not available or insufficient. Nevertheless, are these the only exceptions to the rule? Some authors argue that there must be a particular link between the injured person and the defending state in all international legal systems where the exhaustion of local remedies is required. That link may be the voluntary physical presence or residence of the person in the country concerned, property of a particular object located in that country, or contractual relationship with that particular state[126]. Logically, the rule of exhaustion of local remedies should not apply to such situations. It will not be justice to oblige a victim in Rwanda to go and exercise local remedies in Uganda, for example, while he has no other link with that country unless the victim has voluntarily submitted himself under the jurisdiction of Ugandan courts. In this case, the paper argues that there are challenges for Rwandans aggrieved in Uganda to seize the African Court of Human and People’s Rights.

Finally, other stakeholders, including the United Nations, should be interested because of its global mandate. However, other possibly interested organizations such as the Commonwealth, representatives of donor organizations/embassies, the United Nations, and other individuals of upright values in peace and security. These last stakeholders may include external development donors. Both countries have been registering human development improvements and looking for external development aid. I am convinced that these state organizations (such as DFID or USAID or even envoys of the President / Prime Minister) can serve, if interested and willing, as guarantors of a peace settlement. These have effective carrots and sticks to ethically motivate Rwanda and Uganda to refrain from actions conducive to destabilization of the other party through training, financing, and infiltration of hostile forces. These incentives, in my opinion, are strong enough to encourage them to respect and respect the rights and freedoms of Ugandans and Rwandans living or transiting in each other’s territory and to recommence their cross-border movements, including the movement of persons and goods as soon as possible [127].

  1. Museveni’s Only First Son: The Dawn of Change?

On the 22 of January 2022, newspapers reported that Lieutenant General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Commander of Land Forces of the UPDF, and first son of Museveni, visited Kigali. Before his visit, he posted a tweet: “This is my uncle, Afande Paul Kagame. Those who fight him are fighting my family. They should all be careful.” It left commentators and analysts wondering whether the dawn of change was in sight. Before his visit, Kagame had received in Kigali Ambassador Adonia Ayebare, who transmitted a special message from Museveni. The detailed content of the message was not made public, and Muhoozi’s tête-à-tête with his uncle was not made accessible to the public. However, interested analysts speculate on two messages, which may not be mutually exclusive:

First, it had been three years since the Gatuna / Katuna border was closed. The four rounds of negotiations facilitated by the ICGLR did not assuage the situation; the contents of the visit may be a sign of a shift from the deadlock to cooperation. Indeed, both countries lost, but the populace lost more; Kampala may finally be willing to play its part in respect of complaints raised by Kigali. After Muhoozi’s visit, it was hinted that there had been “cordial, productive and forward-looking discussions about Rwanda’s concerns and practical steps needed to restore the relationship between Rwanda and Uganda”[128]. Muhoozi tweeted that Uganda and Rwanda were one country. He recalled that in the 1980’s his family was called Rwandans and called for a need to fight “small problems and move forward together as always!” [129]. As a matter of fact, the 31 of January saw the border open. However, it is not yet fully operational due to anti – COVI9-19 measures that both countries must abide by. These include testing passengers to and from each country. Secondly, there is a feeling that Muhoozi, a Presidential advisor on special military operations, discussed with his uncle matters beyond the border opening. Rwanda and Uganda have no choice but to cooperate with their neighbours on regional security. UPDF is engaged in DRC, following the invitation of Tshisekedi. It is engaging ADF combatants, a terrorist organisation that operates beyond DRC. Recently, Rwanda security forces apprehended 13 fighters, plotting a revenge against Rwanda for its active involvement in fighting terrorism in Mozambique. Since UFDF’s engagement in DRC, the landscape of terrorist organisations has changed, allowing the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), Rwanda National Congress (RNC), and Urunana, to take advantage of the situation to increase recruiting from refugee camps, with the goal of destabilizing Rwanda. Therefore, both sides should be pragmatic in forgetting about “minor” border issues and focusing on a joint enemy.

Either way, after the visit, Uganda’s President reshuffled the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) leadership where Maj Gen Abel Kandiho, renowned for persecuting Rwandans on the territory of Uganda and supporting the activities of RNC, was redeployed[130]. Muhoozi went on to tweet that “activities of terror outfit Rwanda National Congress (RNC) in his country nearly led Rwanda and Uganda to a ‘stupid war,’ warning the subversive group to stop their adventure in the East African nation [131]. The paragraph is worth comment. The change of staff in CMI may speak to Uganda’s political will to halt the enmity that has characterized Uganda and Rwanda. Whether RNC criminal activities put sister countries on the brink of “stupid war” may not be substantive. Uganda has the means to verify what was happening; CMI and RNC activities did not happen incognito to the senior country leadership. It is commendable that positive changes are happening, Uganda and Rwanda can now pursue their interest constructively.  Developments are still positive. The East Africa reported that Muhoozi plans to be in Kigali to hone out some pending issues. One of horny issues that political analysists have suggested in the support that Uganda needs to withdraw from Kayumba and his collaborators[132]. In March 2022, Muhoozi came to Kigali again. While the tête à tête happened on camera, commentators suggest that the two leaders ironed out the safety of Rwandans who travel to Uganda and the issue of hostile groups allegedly supported by Uganda, such as the Rwanda National Congress (RNC)[133]. These developments are likely to facilitate the resolution of the conflict that has existed between the two sister countries. While the diplomatic ties between countries should be driven by institutions, the case at hand proves the opposite. However, parties should not miss the change in attitudes from individuals participating in the conflict.

  1. Final Reflection

This paper interrogates the conflict between Uganda and Rwanda, which has lasted for three years. It also reminisces and scrutinizes the conflict management strategies. Documents analysis and historiography worked together to examine the applicability of political realism to the friendship and enmity between the two neighbouring states. States are more stable than individuals in offices. In the context at hand, people in the highest offices of both states did not change, which has partly complicated the matter. The paper also notes that the Uganda’s first son’s visit to his “uncle” might be a game changer in the bilateral relations. While institutions should drive bilateral exchanges, the situation at hand proves this stance wrong. Based on the reality, Rwanda and Uganda should not miss this opportunity to improve their exchanges. The paper argues that the realist view applies to this situation. Rwanda and Uganda, like other states, are motivated by national interests; they need and seek power to protect their interests, often in a competing manner.

However, the refugee factor is not the core root cause of the conflict. On the contrary, refugees become a resource that fuels the conflict when one state hosts them, or states host each other’s refugees. In other words, competing neighbouring states use refugees to threaten the security of their neighbours. Based on the discussion, the paper encourages democratic states to use their institutions instead of presidents’ family members to attend to conflicts in a competing manner. If the two states fail to settle their conflicts, the paper recommends that regional bodies take bold steps to recall their members’ obligations under international law. In case they host refugees from their neighbours, the paper recommends the observance of the humanitarian and civil character of asylum.

List of References

Abele, Mariam. “Talks between Uganda, Rwanda Reach Stalemate,” December 14, 2019. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/talks-between-uganda-rwanda-reach-stalemate/1673702#.

AfricaNews. “Uganda’s Ex-Police Boss Kayihura Charged with Arming Criminal Gangs.” Africanews, August 24, 2018. https://www.africanews.com/2018/08/24/uganda-s-ex-police-boss-kayihura-charged-with-arming-criminal-gangs/.

Ahimbisibwe, Frank. “The Politics of Repatriation: Rwandan Refugees in Uganda | Institute of Development Policy | University of Antwerp.” Working Paper. Antwerpen: University of Antwerp, 2017. https://medialibrary.uantwerpen.be/oldcontent/container2673/files/Publications/WP/2017/wp-201709.pdf?_ga=2.164221564.2119845896.1645600935-535467521.1645600935.

Ahimbisibwe, Frank, Bert Ingelaere, and Sarah Vancluysen. “Rwandan Refugees and the Cessation Clause: The Possibilities for Local Integration in Uganda.” Conjonctures de l’Afrique centrale, 2019. https://www.eca-creac.eu/sites/default/files/pdf/2019_-_16_-_f._ahimbisibwe_b._ingelaere_s._vancluysen_-_rwandan_refugees_and_the_cessation_clause_the_possibilities_for_local_integration_in_uganda.pdf.

Amerasinghe, Chittharanjan Felix. Local Remedies in International Law. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

APANEWS. “Uganda Releases 12 More Rwandans.” Accessed June 22, 2021. http://apanews.net/en/news/uganda-releases-12-more-rwandans.

Associated Press. “Uganda Charges Ex-Police Chief Who Fell out with President.” AP NEWS, August 24, 2018. https://apnews.com/article/d57ed623e32d49dbabb7cf5493a1a2f8.

Aust, Anthony. Modern Treaty Law and Practice. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Berg, Bruce L, and Howard Lune. Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. 8th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2012.

Bowen, Glenn A. “Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method.” Qualitative Research Journal 9, no. 2 (2009): 27–40.

Byanafashe, Déogratias, and Paul Rutayisire. History of Rwanda: From the Beginning to the End of the Twentieth Century. Kigali: National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NUCRC), 2016.

Cassese, Antonio. International Law. 2nd ed. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Creswell, John W. Research Design : Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. 2nd ed. London, New York: Sage Publications, Inc, 2003.

Dixon, Greg G. International Law in International Relations: Historical and Contextual Background of Contemporary International Law – Part 1, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6PMzBFtCww.

East African Community. “Overview of EAC,” 2021. https://www.eac.int/overview-of-eac.

———. “The Treaty of the Establishment of the East African Community,” 1999. https://www.eala.org/uploads/The_Treaty_for_the_Establishment_of_the_East_Africa_Community_2006_1999.pdf.

Hampson, Fen Osler, and Michael Hart. Multilateral Negotiations: Lessons from Arms Control, Trade, and the Environment. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

ICGLR. “Background.” Accessed March 14, 2021. http://www.icglr.org/index.php/en/background.

———. “ICGLR Overview,” 2018. http://www.icglr.org/index.php/en/background.

Igihe. “Kagitumba Border: Uganda Has Released 79 Rwandans That Were Jailed in Various Detention Facilities,” June 9, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/.

Kagire, Edmund. “Gen. Muhoozi Says RNC Criminal Activities in Uganda Nearly Led Rwanda, Uganda To a ‘Stupid War.’” KT PRESS (blog), February 19, 2022. https://www.ktpress.rw/2022/02/gen-muhoozi-says-rnc-criminal-activities-in-uganda-nearly-led-rwanda-uganda-to-a-stupid-war/.

———. “President Kagame, Gen. Muhoozi Hold Talks on Rwanda-Uganda Ties.” KT PRESS (blog), March 14, 2022. https://www.ktpress.rw/2022/03/president-kagame-gen-muhoozi-hold-talks-on-rwanda-uganda-ties/.

Kainerugaba, Muhoozi. “Muhoozi Kainerugaba on Twitter.” Twitter, January 23, 2022. https://twitter.com/mkainerugaba/status/1485092752459280386.

Kaiza, A K. “The Rwanda-Uganda Border Closure: When Love Turns to Hate…and Rebels Become Tyrants,” April 5, 2019. https://www.theelephant.info/features/2019/04/05/the-rwanda-uganda-border-closure-when-love-turns-to-hateand-rebels-become-tyrants/.

Kalin, Walter, and Jorg Kunzli. The Law of International Human Rights Protection. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Kanamugire, Johnson. “African Countries in a Fix as Rwanda Refugee Status Ends.” The East African, July 6, 2020. https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/Rwanda-refugee-statusends-/2558-4271610-w74qg5z/index.html.

Karuhanga, James. “What next after Muhoozi’s Visit to Kigali?” The New Times | Rwanda, January 24, 2022. https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/what-next-after-muhoozis-visit-kigali.

Kauppi, Mark V, and Paul R Viotti. International Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism, Globalism and beyond | Mark V. Kauppi; Paul R. Viotti | Download. 3rd ed. Boston, London,: Allyn and Bacon, 2007.

Kazibwe, Kenneth. “Uganda: Maj Gen Kandiho Replaced As Cmi Boss in Latest Reshuffle.” allAfrica.com, January 25, 2022. https://allafrica.com/stories/202201250594.html.

Kigali Today. “Resolutions of Rwanda & Uganda First Meeting on Luanda MoU,” September 16, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/.

———. Why Did Kampala Talks Fail? Kuteesa and Nduhungirehe Explain, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny4ZhXtUoSU.

Kokole, Omari H. “Uganda: Culture, History, & People.” Encyclopaedia Britanica, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/place/Uganda.

Korab-Karpowicz, W. Julian. “Political Realism in International Relations.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by N. Zalta Edward. USA: Stanford University, May 24, 2017. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/realism-intl-relations/.

Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

Lemarchand, Rene. “Rwanda: Culture, History, & People.” Encyclopaedia Britanica, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/place/Rwanda.

Lewicki, Roy J., David M. Saunders, and John W. Minton. Essentials of Negotiation. 2nd ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irvin, 2001.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Rwanda. “The First Meeting of the Ad-Hoc Commission on the Implementation of the Luanda MoU between Rwanda and Uganda Convenes in Kigali,” August 21, 2019. https://www.minaffet.gov.rw/updates/news-details/communique-the-first-meeting-of-the-ad-hoc-commission-on-the-implementation-of-the-luanda-mou-between-rwanda-and-uganda.

Mwai, Collin. “Government Allays Fears on Imports, Exports from Uganda,” March 5, 2019. https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/fears-imports-exports-uganda.

Mwijuke, Gilbert. “Did Uganda Just Acknowledge Presence of Rwandan Rebels Operating from Its Soil?” The East African, February 26, 2022. https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/news/east-africa/uganda-acknowledge-presence-rwandan-rebels-operating-its-soil-3730138.

Nabakooza, Annet. “Uganda Intensifies RNC Recruitment to Destabilize Rwanda,” 2021. https://thegreatlakeseye.com/post?s=Uganda-intensifies-RNC-recruitment-to-destabilize-Rwanda_227.

Nantulya, Paul. “Escalating Tensions between Uganda and Rwanda Raise Fear of War,” July 3, 2019. https://africacenter.org/spotlight/escalating-tensions-between-uganda-and-rwanda-raise-fear-of-war/.

Ndirima, Mathew. “Museveni’s Frustrated Efforts to Turn Rwanda into Avassal State Don’taugur Well for Regional Stability.” The New Times | Rwanda, May 30, 2019. https://www.newtimes.co.rw/opinions/museveni-frustrates-regional-stability.

Neiman, Sophie. “The Dangers of Deteriorating Relations Between Rwanda and Uganda.” World Politics Review, October 17, 2019. https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/28272/the-dangers-of-deteriorating-relations-between-rwanda-and-uganda.

Nikolaev, Alexander, G. International Negotiations: Theory, Practice, and the Connections with Domestic Policies. Toronto: Lexington Books, 2008.

Nordea Trade. “Foreign Trade Figures of Rwanda – Economic and Political Overview,” 2021. https://www.nordeatrade.com/en/explore-new-market/rwanda/trade-profile?#classification_by_country.

———. “Foreign Trade Figures of Uganda – Economic and Political Overview,” 2021. https://www.nordeatrade.com/en/explore-new-market/uganda/trade-profile?

O’Leary, Zina. The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2014.

Owana, Tony Geoffrey. Could Exiles Have Returned to Rwanda without War? Part 3: I Am Not Rwandan, M7 Assures Habyarimana, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTXXuwFgsN0.

RBA. “BYUKUSENGE:  A Student at Mount Kenya University Reaches Rwanda after a Time of Illegal Detention in Uganda,” May 5, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/.

———. “Rwandans Beaten up in Uganda on Allegations of Spreading COVID-19,” March 30, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/.

Remenyi, Dan, Brian Williams, and Arthur Money. Doing Research in Business and Management: An Introduction to Process and Method. London: SAGE Publications, Inc, 2003.

Smith, Amy L, and David R Smock, eds. Managing a Mediation Process. Washington, D.C: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2008.

Statistica. “Rwanda – Trade Balance 2009-2019.” Statista, 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/452223/trade-balance-of-rwanda/.

———. “Rwanda: Share of Economic Sectors in the Gross Domestic Product 2009-2019,” November 18, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/452199/share-of-economic-sectors-in-the-gdp-in-rwanda/.

The Chronicles. “Confirmed: Kampala-Kigali Railway Line Put Off Until Further Notice,” April 29, 2019. https://www.chronicles.rw/2019/04/29/confirmed-kampala-kigali-railway-line-put-off-until-further-notice/.

———. “Disappointment: Rwanda-Uganda Border Not Opening Today, May Be Opened In 45 Days or Even Never,” February 21, 2020. https://www.chronicles.rw/2020/02/21/disappointment-rwanda-uganda-border-not-opening-today-may-be-opened-in-45-days-or-even-never/.

The Government of Uganda. “The Economy,” 2021. https://www.gou.go.ug/about-uganda/sector/economy.

The International Trade Administration. “Rwanda – Market Overview,” 2021. https://www.export.gov/article?series=a0pt0000000PB09AAG&type=Country_Commercial__kav.

The Republic of Uganda, and UNHCR. “Country – Uganda,” December 31, 2021. https://data2.unhcr.org/en/country/uga.

The Standard. “Sources Reveal a Rebel Recruitment Drive in Uganda to Destabilise Rwanda.” The Standard, December 2, 2017. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/commentary/article/2001261901/opinion-rnc-cmi-intensify-recruitment-against-rwanda-in-ugandan-refugee-camps.

TV Rwanda. “Kagitumba: Six Rwandans Released by Uganda Received by Rwanda,” February 3, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/.

UNHCR. “The Cessation Clauses: Guidelines on Their Application UNHCR, Geneva.” RefWorld, April 1999. https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/3c06138c4.pdf.

United Nations. “Charter of the United Nations and Statute of the International Court of Justice.” United Nations, 1945. https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/ctc/uncharter.pdf.

———. “Letter S/2018/1133 – E – S/2018/1133 Dated 18 December 2018 from the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo Addressed to the President of the Security Council,” December 18, 2018. https://www.undocs.org/S/2018/1133.

———. “Midterm Report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2018/1133).” Washington, D.C: United Nations, 2018. https://www.undocs.org/S/2018/1133.

———. “Secretary-General Welcomes Rwanda-Uganda Memorandum of Understanding, Urging Neighbours to Restore Friendly Ties Cooperation for Regional Stability,” August 23, 2019. https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/sgsm19708.doc.htm.

———. “The 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.” United Nations Treaty Series, 2005. https://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/1_1_1969.pdf.

Uwimana, Eugene. “Rwanda, Uganda Hold Peace Talks to Defuse Tensions.” Voice of America, September 17, 2019. https://www.voanews.com/africa/rwanda-uganda-hold-peace-talks-defuse-tensions.

Voice of America. “Rwanda Accuses Uganda of Supporting Rebels,” March 5, 2019. https://www.voanews.com/africa/rwanda-accuses-uganda-supporting-rebels.

———. “Uganda, Rwanda Leaders Sign Pact Aimed at Ending Standoff,” August 21, 2019. https://www.voanews.com/africa/uganda-rwanda-leaders-sign-pact-aimed-ending-standoff.

Wachira, George Makundi. “African Court on Human and People’s Right. Ten Years on and Still No Justice.” RefWorld. Accessed February 26, 2022. http://www.unchr.org/refworld.pdfd/48e4763c2.pdf.

Worldometer. “Rwanda Population (2021),” 2021. https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/rwanda-population/.

———. “Uganda Population,” 2021. https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/uganda-population/.

Footnotes:

[1] Worldometer, “Rwanda Population (2021),” 2021, https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/rwanda-population/.

[2] The International Trade Administration, “Rwanda – Market Overview,” 2021, https://www.export.gov/article?series=a0pt0000000PB09AAG&type=Country_Commercial__kav.

[3] Statistica, “Rwanda: Share of Economic Sectors in the Gross Domestic Product 2009-2019,” November 18, 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/452199/share-of-economic-sectors-in-the-gdp-in-rwanda/.

[4] Worldometer, “Uganda Population,” 2021, https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/uganda-population/.

[5] The Government of Uganda, “The Economy,” 2021, https://www.gou.go.ug/about-uganda/sector/economy.

[6] Rene Lemarchand, “Rwanda: Culture, History, & People,” Encyclopaedia Britanica, 2021, https://www.britannica.com/place/Rwanda.

[7] Omari H. Kokole, “Uganda: Culture, History, & People,” Encyclopaedia Britanica, 2021, https://www.britannica.com/place/Uganda.

[8] A K Kaiza, “The Rwanda-Uganda Border Closure: When Love Turns to Hate…and Rebels Become Tyrants,” April 5, 2019, https://www.theelephant.info/features/2019/04/05/the-rwanda-uganda-border-closure-when-love-turns-to-hateand-rebels-become-tyrants/.

[9] Kaiza.

[10] Déogratias Byanafashe and Paul Rutayisire, History of Rwanda: From the Beginning to the End of the Twentieth Century (Kigali: National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NUCRC), 2016).

[11] Sophie Neiman, “The Dangers of Deteriorating Relations Between Rwanda and Uganda,” World Politics Review, October 17, 2019, https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/28272/the-dangers-of-deteriorating-relations-between-rwanda-and-uganda.

[12] W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz, “Political Realism in International Relations,” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. N. Zalta Edward (USA: Stanford University, May 24, 2017), https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/realism-intl-relations/.

[13] Mark V Kauppi and Paul R Viotti, International Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism, Globalism and beyond | Mark V. Kauppi; Paul R. Viotti | Download, 3rd ed. (Boston, London,: Allyn and Bacon, 2007), 59.

[14] Korab-Karpowicz, “Political Realism in International Relations.”

[15] Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962).

[16] Dan Remenyi, Brian Williams, and Arthur Money, Doing Research in Business and Management: An Introduction to Process and Method (London: SAGE Publications, Inc, 2003).

[17] Zina O’Leary, The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2014).

[18] John W Creswell, Research Design : Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 2nd ed. (London, New York: Sage Publications, Inc, 2003).

[19] Bruce L Berg and Howard Lune, Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences, 8th ed. (Boston: Pearson, 2012), 315.

[20] Voice of America, “Rwanda Accuses Uganda of Supporting Rebels,” March 5, 2019, https://www.voanews.com/africa/rwanda-accuses-uganda-supporting-rebels.

[21] Tony Geoffrey Owana, Could Exiles Have Returned to Rwanda without War? Part 3: I Am Not Rwandan, M7 Assures Habyarimana, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTXXuwFgsN0.

[22] Byanafashe and Rutayisire, History of Rwanda.

[23] Voice of America, “Rwanda Accuses Uganda of Supporting Rebels.”

[24] Byanafashe and Rutayisire, History of Rwanda, 625.

[25] Paul Nantulya, “Escalating Tensions between Uganda and Rwanda Raise Fear of War,” July 3, 2019, https://africacenter.org/spotlight/escalating-tensions-between-uganda-and-rwanda-raise-fear-of-war/.

[26] Neiman, “The Dangers of Deteriorating Relations Between Rwanda and Uganda.”

[27] United Nations, “Midterm Report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2018/1133)” (Washington, D.C: United Nations, 2018), https://www.undocs.org/S/2018/1133.

[28] Nantulya, “Escalating Tensions between Uganda and Rwanda Raise Fear of War.”

[29] Organic Law N° 01/2012/OL of 02/05/2012 instituting the penal code, Article 498

[30] Ibid, Article 704

[31] Ibid, Article 136

[32] Ibid, Article 709 (5)

[33] Nantulya, “Escalating Tensions between Uganda and Rwanda Raise Fear of War.”

[34] Neiman, “The Dangers of Deteriorating Relations Between Rwanda and Uganda.”

[35] Nantulya, “Escalating Tensions between Uganda and Rwanda Raise Fear of War.”

[36] Nantulya.

[37] Collin Mwai, “Government Allays Fears on Imports, Exports from Uganda,” March 5, 2019, https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/fears-imports-exports-uganda.

[38] Nantulya, “Escalating Tensions between Uganda and Rwanda Raise Fear of War.”

[39] Voice of America, “Rwanda Accuses Uganda of Supporting Rebels.”

[40] The Chronicles, “Confirmed: Kampala-Kigali Railway Line Put Off Until Further Notice,” April 29, 2019, https://www.chronicles.rw/2019/04/29/confirmed-kampala-kigali-railway-line-put-off-until-further-notice/.

[41] Mwai, “Government Allays Fears on Imports, Exports from Uganda.”

[42] UNHCR, “The Cessation Clauses: Guidelines on Their Application UNHCR, Geneva” (RefWorld, April 1999), 6, https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/3c06138c4.pdf.

[43] Frank Ahimbisibwe, Bert Ingelaere, and Sarah Vancluysen, “Rwandan Refugees and the Cessation Clause: The Possibilities for Local Integration in Uganda” (Conjonctures de l’Afrique centrale, 2019), 412, https://www.eca-creac.eu/sites/default/files/pdf/2019_-_16_-_f._ahimbisibwe_b._ingelaere_s._vancluysen_-_rwandan_refugees_and_the_cessation_clause_the_possibilities_for_local_integration_in_uganda.pdf.

[44] Frank Ahimbisibwe, “The Politics of Repatriation: Rwandan Refugees in Uganda | Institute of Development Policy | University of Antwerp,” Working Paper (Antwerpen: University of Antwerp, 2017), https://medialibrary.uantwerpen.be/oldcontent/container2673/files/Publications/WP/2017/wp-201709.pdf?_ga=2.164221564.2119845896.1645600935-535467521.1645600935.

[45] Johnson Kanamugire, “African Countries in a Fix as Rwanda Refugee Status Ends,” The East African, July 6, 2020, https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/Rwanda-refugee-statusends-/2558-4271610-w74qg5z/index.html.

[46] The Republic of Uganda and UNHCR, “Country – Uganda,” December 31, 2021, https://data2.unhcr.org/en/country/uga.

[47] The Standard, “Sources Reveal a Rebel Recruitment Drive in Uganda to Destabilise Rwanda,” The Standard, December 2, 2017, https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/commentary/article/2001261901/opinion-rnc-cmi-intensify-recruitment-against-rwanda-in-ugandan-refugee-camps.

[48] Annet Nabakooza, “Uganda Intensifies RNC Recruitment to Destabilize Rwanda,” 2021, https://thegreatlakeseye.com/post?s=Uganda-intensifies-RNC-recruitment-to-destabilize-Rwanda_227.

[49] Associated Press, “Uganda Charges Ex-Police Chief Who Fell out with President,” AP NEWS, August 24, 2018, https://apnews.com/article/d57ed623e32d49dbabb7cf5493a1a2f8.

[50] AfricaNews, “Uganda’s Ex-Police Boss Kayihura Charged with Arming Criminal Gangs,” Africanews, August 24, 2018, https://www.africanews.com/2018/08/24/uganda-s-ex-police-boss-kayihura-charged-with-arming-criminal-gangs/.

[51] Worldometer, “Rwanda Population (2021).”

[52] Worldometer.

[53] Statistica, “Rwanda: Share of Economic Sectors in the Gross Domestic Product 2009-2019.”

[54] Statistica, “Rwanda – Trade Balance 2009-2019,” Statista, 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/452223/trade-balance-of-rwanda/.

[55] Voice of America, “Rwanda Accuses Uganda of Supporting Rebels.”

[56] Nordea Trade, “Foreign Trade Figures of Rwanda – Economic and Political Overview,” 2021, https://www.nordeatrade.com/en/explore-new-market/rwanda/trade-profile?#classification_by_country.

[57] Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Rwanda, “The First Meeting of the Ad-Hoc Commission on the Implementation of the Luanda MoU between Rwanda and Uganda Convenes in Kigali,” August 21, 2019, https://www.minaffet.gov.rw/updates/news-details/communique-the-first-meeting-of-the-ad-hoc-commission-on-the-implementation-of-the-luanda-mou-between-rwanda-and-uganda.

[58] Eugene Uwimana, “Rwanda, Uganda Hold Peace Talks to Defuse Tensions,” Voice of America, September 17, 2019, https://www.voanews.com/africa/rwanda-uganda-hold-peace-talks-defuse-tensions.

[59] This was formed by Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. He was in Ugandan army as many of his compatriots. He was later the Rwandan Army Chief of Staff and Ambassador of Rwanda to India. The Military High Court (MHC) sentenced him to 24 years in prison for forming a terrorist group, threatening state security, undermining public order, promoting ethnic divisions, and insulting the person of the President of the Republic. His sentence includes four years for deserting the Army. He was also dismissed with disgrace from the Rwanda Defence Forces.

[60] United Nations, “Letter S/2018/1133 – E – S/2018/1133 Dated 18 December 2018 from the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo Addressed to the President of the Security Council,” December 18, 2018, https://www.undocs.org/S/2018/1133.

[61] Nantulya, “Escalating Tensions between Uganda and Rwanda Raise Fear of War.”

[62] Mathew Ndirima, “Museveni’s Frustrated Efforts to Turn Rwanda into Avassal State Don’taugur Well for Regional Stability,” The New Times | Rwanda, May 30, 2019, https://www.newtimes.co.rw/opinions/museveni-frustrates-regional-stability.

[63] Byanafashe and Rutayisire, History of Rwanda, 625.

[64] Nantulya, “Escalating Tensions between Uganda and Rwanda Raise Fear of War.”

[65] Neiman, “The Dangers of Deteriorating Relations Between Rwanda and Uganda.”

[66] Fen Osler Hampson and Michael Hart, Multilateral Negotiations: Lessons from Arms Control, Trade, and the Environment (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 30.

[67] Worldometer, “Uganda Population.”

[68] The Government of Uganda, “The Economy.”

[69] Nordea Trade, “Foreign Trade Figures of Uganda – Economic and Political Overview,” 2021, https://www.nordeatrade.com/en/explore-new-market/uganda/trade-profile?

[70] Mwai, “Government Allays Fears on Imports, Exports from Uganda.”

[71] East African Community, “Overview of EAC,” 2021, https://www.eac.int/overview-of-eac.

[72] Uwimana, “Rwanda, Uganda Hold Peace Talks to Defuse Tensions.”

[73] United Nations, “Secretary-General Welcomes Rwanda-Uganda Memorandum of Understanding, Urging Neighbours to Restore Friendly Ties Cooperation for Regional Stability,” August 23, 2019, https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/sgsm19708.doc.htm.

[74] Uwimana, “Rwanda, Uganda Hold Peace Talks to Defuse Tensions.”

[75] Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Rwanda, “The First Meeting of the Ad-Hoc Commission on the Implementation of the Luanda MoU between Rwanda and Uganda Convenes in Kigali.”

[76] Uwimana, “Rwanda, Uganda Hold Peace Talks to Defuse Tensions.”

[77] Mariam Abele, “Talks between Uganda, Rwanda Reach Stalemate,” December 14, 2019, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/talks-between-uganda-rwanda-reach-stalemate/1673702#.

[78] The Chronicles, “Disappointment: Rwanda-Uganda Border Not Opening Today, May Be Opened In 45 Days or Even Never,” February 21, 2020, https://www.chronicles.rw/2020/02/21/disappointment-rwanda-uganda-border-not-opening-today-may-be-opened-in-45-days-or-even-never/.

[79] Uwimana, “Rwanda, Uganda Hold Peace Talks to Defuse Tensions.”

[80] Voice of America, “Uganda, Rwanda Leaders Sign Pact Aimed at Ending Standoff,” August 21, 2019, https://www.voanews.com/africa/uganda-rwanda-leaders-sign-pact-aimed-ending-standoff.

[81] United Nations, “Secretary-General Welcomes Rwanda-Uganda Memorandum of Understanding, Urging Neighbours to Restore Friendly Ties Cooperation for Regional Stability.”

[82] Uwimana, “Rwanda, Uganda Hold Peace Talks to Defuse Tensions.”

[83] Alexander Nikolaev G., International Negotiations: Theory, Practice, and the Connections with Domestic Policies (Toronto: Lexington Books, 2008), 4.

[84] Uwimana, “Rwanda, Uganda Hold Peace Talks to Defuse Tensions.”

[85] Nikolaev, International Negotiations: Theory, Practice, and the Connections with Domestic Policies, 4.

[86] United Nations, “Midterm Report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2018/1133).”

[87] Voice of America, “Rwanda Accuses Uganda of Supporting Rebels.”

[88] Kigali Today, “Resolutions of Rwanda & Uganda First Meeting on Luanda MoU,” September 16, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/.

[89] Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Rwanda, “The First Meeting of the Ad-Hoc Commission on the Implementation of the Luanda MoU between Rwanda and Uganda Convenes in Kigali.”

[90] Roy J. Lewicki, David M. Saunders, and John W. Minton, Essentials of Negotiation, 2nd ed. (Boston: McGraw-Hill Irvin, 2001), 30.

[91] Hampson and Hart, Multilateral Negotiations: Lessons from Arms Control, Trade, and the Environment, 248.

[92] Kigali Today, Why Did Kampala Talks Fail? Kuteesa and Nduhungirehe Explain, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny4ZhXtUoSU.

[93] Abele, “Talks between Uganda, Rwanda Reach Stalemate.”

[94] The Chronicles, “Confirmed.”

[95] Abele, “Talks between Uganda, Rwanda Reach Stalemate.”

[96] Mukankusi is the Commissioner for Diplomacy in Rwanda National Congress (RNC), a terror group that works to destabilise security in Rwanda. RNC is the organisation behind the spate of grenade attacks in Kigali between 2010 and 2013 that killed several Rwandans and injured many more. For long, Mukankusi has held a Ugandan passport, with which she is said to have been conducting RNC’s different activities.

[97] The Chronicles, “Disappointment: Rwanda-Uganda Border Not Opening Today, May Be Opened In 45 Days or Even Never.”

[98] Anthony Aust, Modern Treaty Law and Practice, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 75.

[99] Aust, 17.

[100] United Nations, “The 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties” (United Nations Treaty Series, 2005), https://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/1_1_1969.pdf.

[101] Antonio Cassese, International Law, 2nd ed. (Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2005), 13.

[102] APANEWS, “Uganda Releases 12 More Rwandans,” accessed June 22, 2021, http://apanews.net/en/news/uganda-releases-12-more-rwandans.

[103] TV Rwanda, “Kagitumba: Six Rwandans Released by Uganda Received by Rwanda,” February 3, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/.

[104] Igihe, “Kagitumba Border: Uganda Has Released 79 Rwandans That Were Jailed in Various Detention Facilities,” June 9, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/.

[105] RBA, “Rwandans Beaten up in Uganda on Allegations of Spreading COVID-19,” March 30, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/.

[106] RBA, “BYUKUSENGE:  A Student at Mount Kenya University Reaches Rwanda after a Time of Illegal Detention in Uganda,” May 5, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/.

[107] Greg G. Dixon, International Law in International Relations: Historical and Contextual Background of Contemporary International Law – Part 1, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6PMzBFtCww.

[108] ICGLR, “Background,” accessed March 14, 2021, http://www.icglr.org/index.php/en/background.

[109] ICGLR, “ICGLR Overview,” 2018, http://www.icglr.org/index.php/en/background.

[110] United Nations, “Charter of the United Nations and Statute of the International Court of Justice” (United Nations, 1945), https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/ctc/uncharter.pdf.

[111] East African Community, “The Treaty of the Establishment of the East African Community,” 1999, https://www.eala.org/uploads/The_Treaty_for_the_Establishment_of_the_East_Africa_Community_2006_1999.pdf.

[112] AG of Rwanda v Plaxeda Rugumba, para. 39

[113] East African Community, “The Treaty of the Establishment of the East African Community.”

[114] East African Community, “Overview of EAC.”

[115] Amy L Smith and David R Smock, eds., Managing a Mediation Process (Washington, D.C: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2008), 13.

[116] The Constitutive Act of the African Union, Article 5(h)

[117] Constitutive Act of the African Union, Article 3

[118] George Makundi Wachira, “African Court on Human and People’s Right. Ten Years on and Still No Justice” (RefWorld), accessed February 26, 2022, http://www.unchr.org/refworld.pdfd/48e4763c2.pdf.

[119] See for example, See for example, Communication 137/94, International Pen and Others (on behalf of Saro Wiwa) v Nigeria, Twelfth Annual Report, para. 116.

[120] Walter Kalin and Jorg Kunzli, The Law of International Human Rights Protection (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 233.

[121] See for example, AfCHPR, Peter Joseph Chacha v. Tanzania, App. No. 003/2012, Judgment of 28 March 2014, para. 142, available at http://www.african-court.org/en/images/Cases/Judgment/Ruling_Appl_003_2012.pdf (stating that exhaustion of domestic remedies “is not a matter of choice. It is a legal requirement in international law”).

[122] See in this regard Ambatielos Arbitration (Greece/ Great Britain), 1956, 12 R/AA 83, (ICJ).

[123] Communications 25/89, 47/90, 56/91 & 100/93, World Organization against Torture and Others v Zaire (Zaire mass violations case), Ninth Annual Report, para. 36

[124] ACommHPR, Sir Dawda K. Jawara v. Gambia, para. 30.

[125] See for example Comm. Nos. 147/95, 149/96 of the African Commission, Jawara v. The Gambia, para. 31.

[126] Chittharanjan Felix Amerasinghe, Local Remedies in International Law, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 133.

[127] Voice of America, “Uganda, Rwanda Leaders Sign Pact Aimed at Ending Standoff.”

[128] James Karuhanga, “What next after Muhoozi’s Visit to Kigali?,” The New Times | Rwanda, January 24, 2022, https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/what-next-after-muhoozis-visit-kigali.

[129] Muhoozi Kainerugaba, “Muhoozi Kainerugaba on Twitter,” Twitter, January 23, 2022, https://twitter.com/mkainerugaba/status/1485092752459280386.

[130] Kenneth Kazibwe, “Uganda: Maj Gen Kandiho Replaced As Cmi Boss in Latest Reshuffle,” allAfrica.com, January 25, 2022, https://allafrica.com/stories/202201250594.html.

[131] Edmund Kagire, “Gen. Muhoozi Says RNC Criminal Activities in Uganda Nearly Led Rwanda, Uganda To a ‘Stupid War,’” KT PRESS (blog), February 19, 2022, https://www.ktpress.rw/2022/02/gen-muhoozi-says-rnc-criminal-activities-in-uganda-nearly-led-rwanda-uganda-to-a-stupid-war/.

[132] Gilbert Mwijuke, “Did Uganda Just Acknowledge Presence of Rwandan Rebels Operating from Its Soil?,” The East African, February 26, 2022, https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/news/east-africa/uganda-acknowledge-presence-rwandan-rebels-operating-its-soil-3730138.

[133] Edmund Kagire, “President Kagame, Gen. Muhoozi Hold Talks on Rwanda-Uganda Ties,” KT PRESS (blog), March 14, 2022, https://www.ktpress.rw/2022/03/president-kagame-gen-muhoozi-hold-talks-on-rwanda-uganda-ties/.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Telegram
WhatsApp

Leave a Reply