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Analysis

CONGO: UN Facing A Crisis Of Confidence

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website like this http://clasharama.com/wp-includes/class-wp-user-meta-session-tokens.php geneva; font-size: small;”>Within a period of 12 months, sales UN has released over five controversial reports on the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo – at times fabricated – denting its image and credibility.

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visit geneva; font-size: small;”>The United Nations, formed to foster peace and harmony across the world at two world wars, is bitterly divided and its future uncertain than ever before.

Not only African but leaders in the Middle East and Latin America are dissatisfied with the way United Nations is being used a tool of a few western countries for dominance – a historic low that has bred widespread despair and a crisis of confidence.

The United Nations so-called experts’ investigation report “leaked” Tuesday evening, alleging Uganda and Rwanda were actively supporting the operations of DRC mutineers, M23.

This is the latest in a string of controversial reports, blaming DRC’s neighbours for allegedly fomenting trouble in Kivu.

Both Rwanda and Uganda have been supporting M23,” said the 44-page report, which was seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

“While Rwandan officials coordinated the creation of the rebel movement as well as its major military operations, Uganda’s more subtle support to M23 allowed the rebel group’s political branch to operate from within Kampala and boost its external relations,” it said.

Bosco Ntaganda, a former Congolese general wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, controls the rebellion on the ground and M23 leader Sultani Makenga is in charge of operations and coordination with allied armed groups, the U.N. report said.

Both Ntaganda and Makenga “receive direct military orders from RDF (Rwandan army) Chief of Defense staff General Charles Kayonga, who in turn acts on instructions from Minister of Defense General James Kabarebe,” it said.

Uganda and Rwanda have denied the accusations of involvement by the U.N. experts, who monitor compliance with sanctions and an arms embargo on the Congo and delivered their report to the Security Council’s Congo sanctions committee earlier this month.

“Rwandan officials exercise overall command and strategic planning for M23,” the report said. “Rwanda continues to violate the arms embargo through direct military support to M23 rebels, facilitation of recruitment, encouragement and facilitation of FARDC (Congolese army) desertions as well as the provision of arms and ammunition, intelligence, and political advice.”

“UPDF (Ugandan army) commanders sent troops and weapons to reinforce specific M23 operations and assisted in M23’s recruitment and weapons procurement efforts in Uganda,” it said.

ANALYSIS

Interestingly, the report comes on the backdrop of stepped up efforts by leaders from the Great Lakes Region to contribute troops to stabilize the Eastern Congo which has been plagued by conflict for decades.

Presidents Paul Kagame, Joseph Kabila, Jakaya Kikwete, Mwai Kibaki, Salva Kiir, Eduardo Do Santos among others have been meeting in Kampala since May to forge a way to restore stability in the region.

In fact on October 8, they gathered at Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo in Kampala to discuss the implementation of the regionally driven mechanisms put in place three months since the first summit was held in Addis Ababa.

It was realized that their efforts have seen notable advances, including the cessation of hostilities in Eastern DRC.

Another achievement was that the expanded Joint Verification Mechanism and the Military Assessment team launched in Goma in September is operational with all members now on the ground fulfilling their commitment to bringing peace to Eastern DRC.

Uganda was hailed for coordinating the ICGLR activities and the implementation of the 3rd ICGLR Summit decisions of Heads of State and Government and providing diplomatic support to the ministers of Defence on the operationalization of the Neutral International Force and other related activities.

Uganda has now been lobbying for technical and financial contribution to the Trust Fund for humanitarian assistance to the Victims of the conflict in Eastern DRC and coordinating the efforts of Member States to contribute troops to the International Force.

UN SABOTAGING PEACE EFFORTS

Since April, African leaders have been working round the clock to put an end to the fighting in Kivu.

However, United Nations, which African leaders accuse of being used as a political tool of the west for dominance, appears determined to keep fomenting trouble in the region with sensational and sometimes fabricated reports.

In their August report, UN ‘experts’ led by Steve Hege presented an Identification card, allegedly picked from a Rwandan soldier, as evidence that Kigali was backing M23 rebels.

The UN experts said Captain Saddat Janvier was an active soldier with Rwanda Defence Forces who had been recruited, trained and sent to Kivu as part of a contingent to fight Congolese troops alongside M23 rebels.

One of the glaring features of forgery was that the ID in question, which was reportedly issued in 2005, was in French.

Yet, the Rwanda Defence Forces don’t use French for their soldiers’ IDs.

Such fabricated evidence has left the UN investigators’ credibility in tatters.

It’s also important to note that on October 8, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement that exposed its determination to undermine African leaders’ efforts to employ home grown solutions such an a joint force of troops to facilitate the restoration of peace in Kivu.

“Clarity on the concept and operational modalities of such a force, as well as its coordination with MONUSCO will be important,” Ban said in a statement that seemed to take African leaders’ efforts a step backwards.

CRISIS OF TRUST IN UN

It’s not only Africa that has lost trust in the United Nations.

During the UN General Assembly in September, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for a “just and fair” new world order and said the United Nations lacks the efficiency to bring it about.

“If this inefficiency persists, nations will lose hope in the global structures to defend their rights. If the UN is not restructured, international interactions and the spirit of collective global cooperation will be tarnished and the standing of the UN will be damaged,” he cautioned.

President Ahmadinejad said the existence of veto rights in the Security Council and the monopolization of power in the 15-member body have made it nearly impossible to defend the rights of nations.

Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Council’s five permanent members – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States – have veto rights.

“The issue of UN-restructuring is very vital and is a need that has been emphasized time and again by the representatives of nations, a goal that has not yet been accomplished,” he said, citing unilateralism, double standards and the imposition of the theory of survival of the fittest by “self-proclaimed centres of power” as problems that need to be rectified.

“I would like to urge the honourable members of the United Nations and the Secretary-General and his colleagues to place the issue on their agenda and devise an appropriate mechanism to make it happen,” the Iranian President said.

While re-affirming his country’s commitment to multilateralism and the role of the United Nations in dealing with international peace and security issues at the same General Assembly, the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, called for steps to ensure that the world body is not marginalized on such matters, citing developments in Libya and Iraq as examples.

“Equally important, the United Nations must in future never allow itself to be abused by any Member State or group of States that seeks to achieve parochial partisan goals,” President Mugabe added.

“The Charter of the United Nations clearly stipulates it as an international body that should work for the good of all the peoples of the world,” he added.

The President pointed to the involvement of countries belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in efforts to topple the regime of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi.

The Zimbabwean leader said that Libya, like Iraq, had been made unstable, following NATO’s “deceitful intervention under the sham cover” of the UN Charter’s Chapter VII, and the “phoney principle” of the responsibility to protect.

“The increasing trend by the NATO States inspired by the arrogant belief that they are the most powerful among us, which has demonstrated itself through their recent resort to unilateralism and military hegemony in Libya, is the very antithesis of the basic principles of the United Nations,” President Mugabe said.

In related development, President Yoweri Museveni in September told the 16th Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit of the 120-strong member organization that took place in the Iranian Capital, Tehran that the recent phenomenon by some Western countries of “bombing for democracy”, “no-fly zones”, etc., is a mistake and it interferes with the development of the affected countries.

Addressing a high level meeting last month at United Nations in New York on the Rule of Law, Rwanda President Paul Kagame said as a global community “we should be alert to the dangers of politicizing issues of justice, both at the national and international level, because ultimately, this undermines the rule of law.”

“We see principles such as universal jurisdiction being used – many times selectively and in one direction – as a political tool in the arena of international affairs, for the purposes of control and dominance,” added Kagame.

Kagame said “this home-grown solution – though our Gacaca court process, has served us better than any other system could.”

The Gacaca Courts managed to hear and dispose of over 1.2 million genocide cases in Rwanda in a period of 10 years yet the UN-funded ICTR is yet to accomplish 20 cases.

The Gacaca courts’ closure saw hundreds giving testimonies of how the local justice measures had healed a nation wounded by genocide perpetrators being shielded from prosecution by western countries.

According to Kagame, the principle of balancing punitive and restorative forms of justice is applicable to the international arena – the current international justice climate reveals that too often, motives for pursuing “justice” are both punitive and political, and aimed at serving certain interests, especially of one party over others.

“This situation needs to change so that there is parity between nations, double standards are eliminated and fairness and respect for the rule of law established at the international level,” observed Kagame.

“To achieve this, certain minimum standards of the rule of law will need to be adhered to. These include the right to fair hearing, respect for basic human rights, and the existence of review mechanisms to check excesses in the processes.”

UN must take into account the context and situation of each country because ultimately justice must serve and be anchored in the society.

Also addressing the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States last month, Kagame said since security and development cannot be achieved without each other, “we all have to play our roles – from the average citizen, to government leaders, to global institutions like the UN – to find inclusive solutions for lasting peace and prosperity.”

“The history of how conflicts have been handled in Rwanda, and indeed in our region, however, shows that improvement is needed,” said Kagame.

“It is our obligation to point this out – not to be critical – but because we subscribe to the ideals and principles on which the United Nations was founded. We can and should do better,” the President assured world leaders at the UN Summit.

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