Rwanda is party to an international armed conflict against the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kivu. Furthermore, Rwanda has been assisting Mozambique and Central African Republic (CAR) in their fights against rebel forces.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Since April 2022, the Democratic Republic of Congo is engaged in a non-international armed conflict against the M23 armed group. Rwanda has intervened in DRC in support of M23, both by supporting the group and by deploying its own troops, hence triggering an international armed conflict.
On 24 June 2021, Rwanda and Mozambique announced the conclusion of a bilateral agreement, whereby Rwanda would have deployed troops in Cabo Delgado to fight against the opposition group. Accordingly, on 9 July, Rwanda deployed 1.000 members of its army and police forces. On 20 July, Rwandan troops engaged in armed confrontations in Quionga village, Palma district. Moreover, on 23 July they killed 26 fighters in Mandela village, Muidumbe district. The following month, Rwandan and Mozambican armed forces regained control over Mocìmboa da Praia town, which had been under rebels’ control since August 2020. International Crisis Group, Crisis Watch: Mozambique.
Central African Republic (CAR)
Rwandan troops have been deployed in CAR as part of the UN-sanctioned MINUSCA operation. In November 2020, Rwanda and CAR signed a bilateral agreement whereby Rwandan armed forces would be deployed to support MINUSCA, but they would have carte blanche in terms of rules of engagement, hence giving them the possibility to operate autonomously. Since then, Rwanda’s military presence has been directed not only to ensure supply lines from Cameroon to CAR, but also to provide assistance in the security and defence sectors. In 2021, President Touadera asked Rwanda to send more troops in order to fight against rebel forces operating in CAR. B. J. Cannon and F. Donnelli, ‘Rwanda’s Military Deployments in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Neoclassical Realist Account’ (2022) Italian Journal of International Affairs 1, at 5. The Rwandan involvement in the conflict does not change its classification. Indeed, under the ‘support-based approach’ suggested by the ICRC, Rwanda is bound by IHL of NIACs even if the hostilities it conducts against the rebel groups do not reach the level of violence which would be necessary to make IHL of NIACs separately applicable.