Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rwanda / United Nations

Dispute Over UN Report Evokes Rwandan Déjà Vu
By Howard W. French and Jeffrey Gettleman
The New York Times, September 30, 2010
"When drafts of a United Nations study recently surfaced accusing Rwandan forces of committing atrocities against Hutu refugees in Congo in the 1990s -- crimes that could constitute acts of genocide -- the Rwandan government protested vociferously. It even threatened to withdraw its peacekeepers from Sudan and elsewhere if the report was published. The dispute immediately raised some pointed questions. Would the United Nations stand its ground, or would it suppress or alter a report about the past for the sake of the present? But often lost in the debate was a salient déjà vu: The two sides had been in a similar standoff years before. In the fall of 1994, just after nearly a million people had been killed in the Rwandan genocide, a team of United Nations investigators concluded that the Rwandan rebels who finally stopped the genocide had killed tens of thousands of people themselves. But after strong pressure from both Rwanda and Washington and intense debate within the United Nations, the report was never published.
Sixteen years later, a 14-page official summary of that investigation paints a disturbing picture of the victorious rebel forces who would form the new Rwandan government. The findings in the 1994 report tell of soldiers rounding up civilians and methodically killing unarmed men, women and children. Several of the allegations are uncannily similar to the scale and tactics depicted in the new United Nations report, expected to be released on Friday, which says that these same Rwandan forces systematically hunted down tens of thousands of refugees fleeing across the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as attacking local Congolese Hutu. [...]"

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