Senior and junior officers from the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Monday started a training workshop entitled ‘Military in Internal Security Operations’ at Rwanda Peace Academy in Musanze District.
According to officials, the week-long workshop seeks to enhance officers’ obligations under international laws, norms and standards as well as their ability to lawfully and appropriately exercise law enforcement powers.
The training has brought together 20 officers.
It is being conducted under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – an international organisation mandated to protect victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence.
The head of training at the Rwanda Peace Academy, Major Marcel Mbabazi, underscored the importance of internal security in a country’s prosperity.
“Internal security is the act of keeping peace within the borders of a sovereign state or other self-governing territories, generally by upholding the national law and defending against security threats,” He noted
“I invite all of you to participate actively in plenary and group discussions by sharing your knowledge and experience for the benefit of each one of you and for the workshop as a whole,” Mbabazi challenged the RDF officers
Participants will be equipped with basic principles on the use of force, international covenants of civil and political rights, the African Union guidelines on policing assemblies in Africa among other subjects the military use when operating alongside their police counterparts.
Rationale behind the course
The ICRC’s regional delegate to armed and security forces accredited to Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda, Robert Polley told The New Times that training military officers was in line with equipping them with prerequisite knowledge so that they can deliver on expectations whenever the government needs their assistance in internal security matters.
“There is a whole body of conventions, codes of conducts, covenants, principles that your police forces should understand very well but it’s not the normal world of the military and that is why we do this workshop so that the military if called upon to deploy in support of the police in internal security situations understand the very different context and legal framework that they have to operate in,” he explained.
The trainees welcomed the workshop saying it was timely.
“This course is of paramount importance for military officers as it looks to sharpen our knowledge towards the protection of citizen’s safety in collaboration with other organs namely the police,” said Lt Col Joseph Safari, Commandant of the 99th Battalion.
Lieutenant Germaine Umutoni, an RDF female officer echoed Safari’s sentiments saying: “The training is crucial as it is equipping us with necessary knowledge on internal security protection that is essential for the country’s prosperity.”
According to Polley, the organisation sets to run two other main military courses in partnership with Rwanda this year.