HRW Pressures US To Slap Sanctions Against Rwanda Army Chiefs Over M23

visit geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%; text-align: justify;”>The international organization claims M23 has been responsible for widespread war crimes in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

visit geneva;”>M23 rebels captured the city of Goma on November 20, 2012.

The body of a soldier of the Congolese army on the road between Goma and Kibati. Soldiers loyal to the government fled the city in large numbers in the 18th November, as the rebels advanced to the gates of the regional capital of the country is rich in minerals.

Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame resolved that even if there were legitimate grievances by the mutinying group of M23, they cannot accept the expansion of this war or entertain the idea of over-throwing the legitimate government of the DRC or undermine its authority.

A rebel M23 runs to the Rwandan border town of Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Therefore, they concurred that the M23 rebel group must immediately stop its offensive and pull out of Goma.

A plan to this end, they emphasized on Wednesday at a joint press conference, is being communicated to the M23 group.

A rebel M23 when taking control of the border with Rwanda, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Government of the DRC on its part made a commitment to look expeditiously into the causes of the discontent of the mutinying group and address them as best as it can.

Rwanda denies contributing even “one bullet” to the conflict, with Kagame insisting that DRC must shoulder own problems.

A Congolese woman runs for shelter while the sound of shelling and gunfire ringing in Goma, the main city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Rebels and government troops in the DRC had resumed fighting in the neighborhoods and Munigi Mudga, north and northwest of the city.

“The US government’s silence on Rwandan military support to the M23 rebels can no longer be justified given the overwhelming evidence of Rwanda’s role and the imminent threat to civilians around Goma,” said Tom Malinowski, Washington director at Human Rights Watch.

“The US government should support urgent sanctions against Rwandan officials who are backing M23 fighters responsible for serious abuses.”

A Congolese family goes to the Rwandan border. Goma’s residents gathered near the border this morning, fearing an upsurge in fighting between rebels and government troops M23.

US recently voiced their support for DRC in resisting the M23 aggression but did not mention Rwanda as supporting the combatants.

Rwandan military support for the M23 rebels has been evident in their offensive that began on November 15, Human Rights Watch said.

M23 rebel walks in a street in the center of Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Several civilians living near the Rwandan border told Human Rights Watch that they saw hundreds of Rwandan army soldiers crossing the border from Rwanda into Congo at Njerima hill, Kasizi, and Kabuhanga in apparent support of M23 fighters.

Civilians applauded the passage of a rebel M23 Boulevard in the center of Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Human Rights Watch claims it has documented several incidents in which Rwandan and Congolese soldiers fired across the border from either side between November 16 and 20.

A rebel M23 celebrates the capture of Goma in a downtown street, east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A draft of the final report of the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo, published on Wednesday, alleges that the Rwandan government has provided “direct military support to M23 rebels” and that the “M23’s de facto chain of command includes General Bosco Ntaganda and culminates with the Rwandan Minister of Defense General James Kabarebe.”

Ntaganda is on the UN sanctions list and is sought on arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

M23 Rebels guard building in the center of Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kigali has in the past described HRW’s reports as “reckless interference by non-state actors” in the region.


Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo recently said her government was aware of a new fundraising effort by Human Rights Watch who are planning to release “another batch of recycled rumours” designed to implicate Rwanda, and warned the region is not a “playground for non-state actors to play politics or raise money while fomenting violence and human suffering.”

Mushikiwabo asked: “Who benefits from continued instability in the eastern DRC? Not the Rwandan people, not the Congolese people. The primary beneficiaries are the FDLR terrorists who feast on insecurity.”

She further stated: “But unaccountable actors like Human Rights Watch also profit from this by raising millions of dollars through the dissemination of simplistic reports based on the same old unverified reports and lies.”

Forces Uruguayan peacekeeping UN defensive positions on the outskirts of Goma, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, 18 November 2012.

The Minister said Rwanda would not fall for all these provocations and so-called leaked reports designed to inflame tension and create conflict.

“Far from it. Rwanda and the DRC have been working even closer than before to resolve the situation in DRC.”

She said then that Government of Rwanda had already warned Human Rights Watch and other non-state actors in the region against conduct that can result in human suffering, including more than one hundred women who have been raped by FDLR and other rebels who have taken advantage of the insecurity breach.

Men force Uruguayan peacekeeping UN binoculars watching the position of M23 rebels outside Goma, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, 18 November 2012.

“The irresponsible words of lobbies like Human Rights Watch are no less dangerous than bullets or machetes. We read today in the Guardian newspaper of killings and the disfigurement of dead bodies,” said the Minister.


Header advertisement
To Top