Thursday, May 21, 2009

DRC: Wanted warlord helping UN’s DR Congo operations

May 22, 2009

The de facto deputy commander of UN-backed military operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is a warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, UN experts said.

General Bosco Ntaganda, a rebel who joined a peace deal ending a Tutsi-led rebellion earlier this year, has been indicted by the world court but plays a senior role in operations now being carried out against Rwandan Hutu rebels.

Dynamics have changed dramatically in DR Congo this year, with traditional foes DR Congo and Rwanda launching joint operations, but human rights experts have rounded on the UN peacekeeping force for not challenging Ntaganda’s new role.

“The Group has obtained a document that corroborates General Ntaganda’s role as de facto deputy commander [of the Congolese army],” the UN panel of experts said in an interim report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

As well as the document, the experts said they had testimonies from senior army commanders and sources close to the former CNDP rebel militia confirming that Ntaganda was deputy commander despite another officer being officially nominated.

The UN peacekeeping mission has vowed not to take part in any operation of which Ntaganda is part, but it maintains it can continue supporting the current operations as Kinshasa has reassured it that the former rebel is not involved.

Attacks on the Rwandan Hutu FDLR rebels, some of whom took part in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and have since been at the heart of much of the DR Congo’s violence, have helped improve Congo-Rwanda relations and ended the once powerful CNDP rebellion.

Analysts say the rebels have maintained or recovered much of the territory they lost, around 250,000 people have been displaced and Human Rights Watch (HRW) this week accused the army of war crimes in the process.

A UN Security Council delegation visiting Congo this week handed a list of the names of five army officers it wants the government to arrest for raping women as young as 14.

But the list, seen by Reuters, did not include Ntaganda, who is known as “The Terminator” and is accused of recruiting children to fight in the ranks of rebels he has led.

“Commitments by the government to arrest army officers responsible for rape is a step in the right direction,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, HRW’s senior Africa researcher.

“But failing to add Bosco Ntaganda to the list is baffling. It undermines international justice and puts at risk the people of eastern Congo, who may face further abuses at his hands,” she said. This story has been viewed 180 times.

Related Materials:
Violence brings reward in the DRC

New Report to Detail Failed Military Operation Against Hutu Rebels

Rwanda, Congo Military Assault Fails to Break Rebels, UN Says

Rwanda: The unresolved FDLR issue


At May 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM , Anonymous AG said...

looks like the un is back to its old tricks again. but bad publicity is good for them. maybe they will do the right thing.

At May 22, 2009 at 11:00 AM , Anonymous PN said...

Reports from diverse media outlets this week indicate that a 2nd military operation (Kamia II) is about to be launched against the FDLR by the UN's MONUC peace keeping forces and the DRC army.

Traditionally, UN peace keeping forces do not take sides overtly in any conflict, but that's exactly what they are doing in the DRC conflict.

We need to find a way to expose the criminal nature of this bias in order to save our FDLR brothers and sisters that are on the brink of under extermiantion.

At May 22, 2009 at 4:59 PM , Blogger Mamadou Kouyate said...

Dear AG and PN thanks for your comments.
According to the ICG Report, the operation Kimia II is already underway.

The ICG is even advocating for a bigger operation...There is no good war and bad war criminals.

Why should CNDP war criminals enjoy amnesty while FDLR rebels should either surrender or be exterminated?

UN should acknowledge that there will be no military solution to the FDLR presence in DRC.

A solution to the Rwandan political deadlock is a must before the region can enjoy a long lasting peace and a real economic growth.


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