Rwanda’s General Kazura is a name that may not be widely known outside of military circles, but his contributions to peacekeeping operations have been invaluable. The country of Rwanda has a unique perspective on peacekeeping, having experienced both the horrors of genocide and the benefits of international intervention. General Kazura’s leadership and insights into the future of peacekeeping operations offer a glimpse into how countries can work together to prevent atrocities and promote peace.
By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
Rwanda’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Jean Bosco Kazura, has stated that discussing the evaluation and analysis of the future of peacekeeping operations is crucial.
He noted that security in the future is uncertain due to the continuous emergence of terrorism and cyber attacks.
General Kazura made these remarks at the10th National Security Symposium, a security conference organized by the Rwanda Defense Force Command and Staff College in collaboration with the National University of Rwanda.
General Kazura said “We all need UN. And it was well said, the UN is not there for the whole solution, it is not perfect, but we need it as an institution. And I agree with that.”
Coming back to the future of Peacekeeping operations, General Kazura explained that “We need to say that the operations are not there for the sake of being there, they are there for the purpose. And as my brother said very clearly, we need trust from the population. But again, trust is not fought for, it is not requested for. Trust is earned according to what you do.”
He added that “sometimes people are going to have that resentment because they are not getting exactly what they are expecting to get.”
He agrees with the need for the UN as It is doing what it can, adding that “but we can do better.”
General Kazura elaborated that “the peacekeeping operation is semantic”
“Normally it should be peace support operation. But who do you support? Again, there is an ultimate goal you want to achieve, and once you don’t achieve that goal, definitely there will be somebody who is not happy. And once he’s not happy, he would ask you, why not doing what is supposed to be. And I would also make a small comment on the host country. I do believe from my experience that you deploy, whether it is peace support missions, or peacekeeping operations, in a host country which is already weak somehow. Because nobody would wish to have those forces deployed in your country if you are self-sufficient. Nobody here would wish to have those missions in your own country. Sometimes you accept them because you need them. And once you need them, they need to see in you what they expect from you. ” He explained.
“So I think we do not say that the UN is not… we do all agree that we need UN, but once you go to those operations, definitely we need to earn that trust by doing somehow in your own way what they are expecting from you.” He continues.
General Kazura noted that the bilateral arrangement is another solution.
“It is a solution which can be combined with other solutions, including the peacekeeping ones. Because you deploy them as quick as you can, your hands are not tied, you can act as quick as you can, depending on the means you have, depending on the threat which is on the ground. So I believe that the bilateral engagement, … the bilateral arrangement and the peacekeeping operations, they are not mutual exclusive. They can work together, as long as what we want to achieve is the same. So we can achieve the bilateral arrangement, we can achieve, for instance, what we want to achieve, including peace, and then that peace can be kept, because it is already there. I totally want to agree with my brothers about the principles of UN missions, including impartiality, including the use of force, non-use of force, and also the concept.” He said.
However, General Kazura added that “sometimes the host nation would have the consent, and maybe it can accept… I don’t know if I can call it consent, but due to the situation it is in, it has accepted to be… you know, it is consent. But once you arrive there, the consent is no longer the consent. I think it is the consent. Absolutely. Secondly, there is the impartiality. Sometimes on the ground it is very difficult to be impartial. Again, the principle is there, it is a very good principle, but the implementation of that principle is not an easy one. And the last one, I think that I very much share with my brothers here, the non-violence. It is fantastic. Don’t see these people in uniform and think that they are violent. No, no, no, they are non-violent in uniform. But once you are there, you know, there are what we are taught, once the enemy is coming, you shoot once in the air, and you say, who are you? Then he will continue to come, you shoot again, please identify yourself, and he continues to come, then you shoot again, and he is very kind, he will continue to come, and you know. But it does not happen like that on the ground. If you are even so stupid to shoot him there, you are dead, because he knows where you are.”
“But in principle it is so nice. And I am trying to be practical and say what the real situation on the ground is, because so many principles are there, very nice. Here in Kigali in 2018 we signed the protection of civilian principles. 2018, now it is 2023. We need to evaluate and see how much we are… So we have so many principles, so many articles. But only because we are talking about people who are going to die. So you are going to earn that trust because you are protecting those people, not because you have principles.” He added.
“I said the future of whether UN, whether peace support missions or peacekeeping missions, I said it is in our hands, I meant it is all of us. But again, it is all of us, but those we are deploying, those are our own people. So imagine they are deploying somewhere, because terrorists and others are not going to write a letter to tell you that I am coming tomorrow, please get ready. You will never know when they come and how they are and what they want. So it is up to you to be ready. So it is, mine is to tell my brothers all of us who are here and those who are not here, to start thinking about when you deploy somebody, deploy him what is required for him to survive, because he will never protect people when he is not protected.” General Kazura said.