Country report and updates: Chad

Last revision: 25 Sep 1998
25 Sep 1998
25/09/1998

After Chad achieved independence in 1960, there has continuously been armed conflict between several groups fighting to achieve power. Up to 1991 several military coups occurred, which made yet another of the armed groups into the national army.
Since the 1990 coup of D├ęby, the government forces are the Chadian National Army (ANT), which include the former Republican Guard (GR), now called the Rapid Intervention Force (FIR). The armed opposition groups include the Armed Forces for the Federal Republic (FARF), the Renewed National Front of Chad (FNTR), the Dissident Chadian National Army (ANTD) and the Movement for Democracy and Development (MDD). Although the civil war has ceased since a peace accord was concluded between the government and the former armed National Revitalisation Committee for Peace and Democracy (CSNPD) in 1994, there are still widespread massacres and human rights violations committed by the ANT and the National Security Agency (ANS) as well as by armed opposition groups. [5] [7]
Since 1994 the armed forces have a reduction programme to decrease its size from 60,000 troops to 25,000 troops. Soldiers who leave the armed forces are entitled to receive a premium. Although many of them would like to leave the forces, many stay on because they fear that their pensions are not guaranteed. [11]

1 Conscription

conscription not enforced

Although the 1985 UN Commission on Human Rights report stated that Chad had no conscription, there are conscription laws in Chad. The government wrote in 1992: "Ordinance No. 2/PC-CM of 27 May 1961 on the organisation and recruitment of the armies of the Republic states, in article 4, that 'Every Chadian citizen is personally liable for military service, unless duly certified unfit.' Decree No. 009/PC-CM of 6 January 1962 specifies the manner of recruitment, but the requirement that all Chadian citizens perform military service is not in effect, the terms of Ordinance No. 2/PC-CM not having been fully applied for some time." [3]

Participants at a 1996 international meeting in Chad reported that from approximately 1990 onwards nobody has been conscripted. [8] [9]

But it seems that a form of conscription still applies to some specific group. [1] [3] [6] [11]

military service

According to the government in 1992, "military service is performed only by the students of the National College of Administration and of the National College of Physical Education and Sports, upon completion of their course of training." [3] [11]

This military service consists of a 45 days' military training. [11]

postponement and exemption

It is not known whether postponement of or exemption from service is possible for the conscripted graduates.

In practice, those who present a medical declaration of unfitness are exempted from service. Many who do not want to serve use this means to avoid the compulsory military training. [11]

recruitment

All who graduate from the high school of administration (ENAM) must undergo the compulsory military training. It is not known whether the graduates of the high school of Physical Education and Sports must undergo military training. [11]

Except for these graduates, who are officially liable for military service, enlistment in the armed forces is voluntary. The minimum recruitment age is not known, but it is reported that children as young as 12 have been recruited. [4] [7]

In 1996 Amnesty International reported that the ANT is recruiting children to help the armed forces search for members of the opposition. Amnesty quoted a Chadian public prosecutor who complained that the Gendarmerie had put young children aged between 12 and 15 into uniform and stationed them at barriers to arrest people arbitrarily. [7]

Members of the former Republican Guard (GR), the present-day Rapid Intervention Force, are largely recruited from members of the Zaghawa group, even if they are non-Chadians. Many GR-officers received military training in France. [5]

2 Conscientious objection

legal right

The right to conscientious objection to military service is believed to be recognized, but is not known what its current legal basis is.

According to the government in 1989, "Young people who, prior to conscription, declare themselves totally opposed, on account of their religious or philosophical conviction, to the personal use of weapons may be authorised to fulfil their military obligations either in a non-combatant military unit or in a civilian organisation performing work in the general interest." [2]

In 1992 the government sent a rather remarkable comment to the UN Commission on Human Rights: "In Chad the trend towards compulsory military service cannot give rise to any movement of conscientious objection to military service. Moreover, refusal by citizens to perform military service will only serve to lighten the cost burden on the State and on the Chadian national army. This is due to the fact that the performance of military service requires the investment of considerable financial resources. The national army, which is in the process of reorganisation and restructuring, is unable to bear all the relevant costs. There can therefore be no question of the Government opposing the possible existence of any movement of conscientious objection to military service on pacifist grounds during the present process of democratisation of Chad." [3]

According to a member of Chad Non-Violence, the regulation for conscientious objection may be in existence, but he was not aware of its existence. [11]

right for whom

According to the government only conscripts can apply for CO status, before they enter military service. [2]

procedure and practice

In 1989 the government stated that to be accepted as conscientious objector, conscripts must submit an appropriate application to the Ministry of National Defence, together with any supporting evidence they consider necessary. The Minister decides on the application and no appeal is possible against this decision. [2]

It is not known whether the procedure to achieve CO status is actually being used. At an international meeting in 1996, organised by Chad Non-Violence, there were no Chadian COs present. [8]

substitute service

According to a 1989 government statement, recognised COs are assigned to a non-combatant military unit for a period equal to the period of military service or to a civilian organization performing work of general interest for a period equal to, or twice the length of, the period of military service. In wartime they are assigned to service or assistance missions of national interest so as to ensure the equality of all citizens in the face of the common danger. [2]

3 Draft evasion and desertion

penalties

About the penalty for evading military service no information is available.

Desertion is punishable under the military penal code (Code de Justice Militaire, livre II). In aggravating circumstances, for instance in case of contact with the enemy, desertion is punishable by the death penalty. [11]

practice

Certain ENAM-graduates who refused to undergo the compulsory military training, have not been sanctioned for their refusal. [11]

Before 1990 when conscription applied to all young men, there was widespread desertion, as conditions in the armed forces were very bad. [8]

At present, owing to a planned reduction of the size of the armed forces, deserters are not likely to face prosecution. Those who desert lose all their rights. [11]

4 Forced recruitment by FARF, FNTR, ANTD and MDD

About recruitment practices of the various armed opposition groups little is known. Many armed groups use force to recruit soldiers. Those who refuse to join are considered as traitors and enemies. There have been cases of execution of people who refused to join an armed opposition group. [11]

There have also been reports of recruitment of child soldiers by the armed opposition groups. [4]

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces comprise 30,350 troops, including the 5,000 strong Republican Guard (GR) - nearly 0.5 percent of the population. [10] [7]

The strength of the armed opposition groups is unknown. [10]

Every two years approximately 33 students graduate at the National College of Administration (ENAM). [11]

Sources

[1] Eide, A., C. Mubanga-Chipoya 1985 Conscientious objection to military service, report prepared in pursuance of resolutions 14 (XXXIV) and 1982/30 of the Sub-Commission of Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. United Nations, New York. [2] UN Commission on Human Rights 1991. Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1989/59. United Nations, Geneva. [3] UN Commission on Human Rights 1992. Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1991/65 (and 3 Addendums). United Nations, Geneva. [4] Woods, D.E. 1993. Child Soldiers, the recruitment of children into the armed forces and their participation in hostilities. Quaker Peace and Service, London, UK. [5] Amnesty International 1995. Chad: Empty promises. AI, London, UK. (AFR 20/03/95) [6] Save the Children 1996. [7] Amnesty International 1996. Chad: Under the arbitrary rule of the security forces. AI, London, UK. (AFR 20/04/96) [8] Kiermeier, Gerti 1996. 'ICOM 1996 im Tschad', in: Graswurzelrevolution 211, September 1996. Oldenburg, Germany. [9] 'Tsjaad, augustus 1996: Gewetensbezwaarden, wat zijn dat?' in: Magazine voor Vredesaktie 167. Forum voor Vredesaktie (Magazine for Peace Action), Brussels. [10] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London, UK. [11] Koude, Koussetogue (Tchad Non-Violence) 1998. Corrections and amendments to the report, 25 September 1998.

Recent stories on conscientious objection: Chad

18 Aug 2008

Submission to the 94th Session of the Human Rights Committee: October 2008

CPTI
suggests that in the list of issues Chad be asked whether the
provisions concerning the recognition of conscientious objectors to
military service reported to the Commission on Human Rights in 1991
are still in force, to give details of the procedures concerned, and
an indication of the number of applications for conscientious
objector status submitted and approved.

Background


Although a legal ordinance dating from the time of independence
places a formal militar