Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Allegations Of Rwandan Complicity Go Back a decade

The Rwandan government is vociferously denying that it has anything to do with the M23 rebellion. These are lies, it says, being spread by a group of experts wedded to a poisonous anti-Rwandan agenda. In recent months, however, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Crisis Group have all advanced similar claims. Rwanda, they say, is heavily involved in funding, arming, and directing the rebels. Prior UN reports, composed of different groups of experts, have also reached similar conclusions. In fact, Rwanda's history of plundering Congo's resources and committing atrocities on its soil are among the most well-documented human rights violations of our time.

Here are selections from a few of those reports:

 12 April 2001

Illegal exploitation of the mineral and forest resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is taking place at an alarming rate. Two phases can be distinguished: mass-scale looting and the systematic and systemic exploitation of natural resources.
Mass-scale looting. During this first phase, stockpiles of minerals, coffee, wood, livestock and money that were available in territories conquered by the armies of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda were taken, and either transferred to those countries or exported to international markets by their forces and nationals.
Systematic and systemic exploitation. Planning and organization were required for this phase. The systematic exploitation flourished because of the pre-existing structures developed during the conquest of power of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire. These pre-existing structures were improved over time and new networks for channelling extracted resources were put in place. However, the systemic exploitation used the existing systems of control established by Rwanda and Uganda. In both cases, exploitation was often carried out in violation of the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the national legislation and sometimes international law, and it led to illicit activities. Key individual actors including top army commanders and businessmen on the one hand, and government structures on the other, have been the engines of this systematic and systemic exploitation.
The consequence of illegal exploitation has been twofold: (a) massive availability of financial resources for the Rwandan Patriotic Army, and the individual enrichment of top Ugandan military commanders and civilians; 

15 July 2004

Recent events in the Kivus represent a significant setback in the normalization of relations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda and indicate that, despite the withdrawal of its troops in October 2002, Rwanda, which has legitimate security concerns in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, continues to play a destabilizing role there.
The sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to be challenged not only by the intervention and military support provided by Rwanda and Uganda to its allies or proxy forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but also by the presence of foreign armed groups such as Forces democratiques de liberaton duRwanda.

As for Lake Kivu, a number of credible sources report suspicious ongoing traffic to and from the Kivus. The traffic reportedly consists of military materiel and ammunition, recently recruited Congolese returning from Rwanda for active military service within the ranks of mutinous forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwandan government troop movement.

The Group of Experts concluded that Rwanda’s violations involved direct and indirect support, in both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, to the mutinous troops of Jules Mutebutsi and Laurent Nkunda during their armed military operations against FARDC. Rwanda has also exerted a degree of command and control over Mutebutsi’s forces. It became apparent to the Group of Experts during interviews with persons directly involved that certain businesses, as well as financial and political targets in Bukavu, had been spared on direct orders by Rwandan officials.

12 December 2008

The Group has investigated allegations that the Government of Rwanda is providing support to CNDP. It has found evidence that the Rwandan authorities have been complicit in the recruitment of soldiers, including children, have facilitated the supply of military equipment, and have sent officers and units from the Rwandan Defence Force (RDF) to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in support of CNDP.
62. Given the nature of the support, there is little documentation available to prove Rwandan material support to CNDP. The Group has based its research on dozens of interviews with eyewitnesses to this collaboration, including former CNDP combatants and officers, members of the business community, regional intelligence officials and local eyewitnesses. These testimonies have been consistent and credible in describing the involvement of the Government of Rwanda.
CNDP operates recruitment networks in Rwanda. In some cases, there has reportedly been complicity by Rwandan officials in this recruitment. At the very least, it is clear that the Rwandan Government could do more to shut down these down…

The Group has obtained satellite phone records for members of CNDP and the FRF leadership for the period of August 2007 to September 2008. It is clear from these records that both groups, particularly FRF, make and receive calls to and from the RDF high military command and the Rwandan presidency. While the Group cannot be sure of the content of the telephone calls, they are frequent and long enough to indicate at least extensive sharing of information. The Group has archived these records at the United Nations.
66. The Group has evidence that indicates that RDF provided support to CNDP during their recent offensive of 26 to 30 October 2008:

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