Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Democratic Republic of the Congo / Rwanda

The UN Documents Congo's Bloodbath 
By Horand Knaup
Spiegel Online, August 31, 2010
Photo: "Rebel soldiers wait to be deployed in Goma, eastern Congo in October 1998." (Associated Press)
"Women and girls were raped. Men slaughtered. Refugees killed with machetes and sticks. A new UN report describes an orgy of violence in Congo between 1993 and 2003, meticulously documenting how law and humanity were abandoned. It also accuses Rwanda of atrocities in Congo -- something that has not gone down well in Kigali. The report is over 500 pages long. It is one of the most comprehensive investigations into war crimes in the history of the United Nations. Even though it has not even been released yet, it has caused serious diplomatic tensions in New York, Congo and Rwanda. Two dozen UN inspectors meticulously examined the mass murders in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003. They assessed reports, viewed film documents and interviewed thousands of witnesses. They collated everything that was considered significant. The draft report has already been leaked and it is a documentation of horror. The investigators describe how for years Rwanda-backed rebel groups hunted, tortured and massacred Hutu refugees in Congo, or Zaire as it was then known. Schools, hospitals, refugee camps, children, women, the aged -- nothing and no one was safe from the murderous gangs on both sides. By no means were the pursuers from Rwanda the only ones to perpetrate crimes. The report describes the massive country as corrupt and rotten, a place where human rights, justice and humanitarian values had lost any worth decades ago. ... The official version of the report is to be released in a few days, but already in Rwanda in particular, the first reports in the media have caused great disquiet. The Kagame government has expressly denied that it took part in any crimes that could be equated with genocide in Congo. Over the past few months the government has even tried to prevent the publication of the report, or at least to mitigate it somewhat. [...]"

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