Kilimanyoke, Congo — With shells flying overhead, the Congolese soldiers pressed forward on a desolate stretch of road near the Rwandan border. Ahead of them was a rebel army, firing relentlessly. Behind them, a new U.N. combat brigade waited in white armored vehicles, ready to serve as backup.
The U.N. soldiers are in Congo with an ambitious goal: to reverse the trajectory of one of the world’s most horrific and complex conflicts, one that has killed more than 5 million people since 1998, the deadliest war since World War II. They are also here to rescue the image of the troubled U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Congo.
“To be a peacekeeper doesn’t mean you need to be passive,” their top commander, Gen. Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, said hours before the offensive began. “To be a peacekeeper, you need to take action. The way to protect the civilians is to take action. If you see the history of atrocities here, it justifies action.” (read more)
UN Troops in DR Congo
U.N. Warns It Will Disarm Congo Rebels By Nicholas Kulish 31 July 2013
NAIROBI, Kenya — The United Nations has threatened to forcibly disarm rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an early test of the robust new mandate for the multinational peacekeeping contingent that includes going on the offensive there.In an uncharacteristically stern warning on Tuesday, the United Nations ordered individuals near the eastern city of Goma to turn in their weapons or be deemed “an imminent threat to civilians.”
If they have not disarmed within 48 hours, the warning said, they will face the use of force by a new brigade of troops given responsibility for ending the violence in the region — a step beyond protecting civilians under imminent threat of attack, the traditional job of international peacekeepers. (read more)
Sexual violence on the rise in DRC's North Kivu Briefing Notes By UNHCR 30 July 2013
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 30 July 2013, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Recurrent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province is uprooting more civilians and exposing an increasing number of women, girls and men to rape. (read more)
U.N. worried by latest DRC abuses By UPI 29 July 2013
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 29 (UPI) -- Members of the rebel March 23 Movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo are suspected of performing summary executions, a U.N. peacekeeping mission said.
M23 rebel commander Bosco Ntganda turned himself into the International Criminal Court in April to face war crimes charges. The movement, which rebelled last year, is accused of using rape as a weapon of war and of conscripting child soldiers. (read more)
DR Congo: M23 Rebels Kill, Rape Civilians: New Evidence of Rwandan Support for M23 By Human Rights Watch 22 July 2013
(Goma) – M23 rebels have summarily executed at least 44 people and raped at least 61 women and girls since March 2013 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Local residents and rebel deserters reported recent forced recruitment of men and boys by the M23 in both Rwanda and Congo.
After a nearly two-month-long ceasefire, fighting resumed on July 14 between the Congolese armed forces and M23 rebels near the eastern city of Goma. (read more)
DR Congo: UN chief deeply concerned about clashes between Government troops, rebels By UN News Centre 18 July 2013
18 July 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concern about the latest round of hostilities between the M23 rebel group and the national armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) known as the FARDC.
“The Secretary-General urges all parties to exercise utmost restraint and prevent an escalation of the conflict and a deeper humanitarian crisis,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
Renewed fighting north of Goma, in the North Kivu area of eastern DRC, has uprooted tens of thousands of people in recent days. (read more)
Congo army helicopters pound M23 rebels near Goma By Chrispin Mvano 16 July 2013
MUTAHO, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Congolese government forces supported by helicopters attacked M23 rebel positions near the eastern city of Goma on Tuesday in a third day of heavy fighting that has forced hundreds of villagers to flee their homes and raised tensions with Rwanda.
In a letter to the U.N. Security Council obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, Congo accused Rwandan specialist units of aiding M23 in the fighting. In a statement, U.N. peacekeepers in Congo denied claims by Kigali that they shelled Rwandan territory on Monday. (read more)
DRC Says 120 Rebels Killed in East By Nick Long 15 July 2013
GOMA, DRC — The Democratic Republic of Congo says its forces have killed 120 rebels and captured another dozen in fighting in North Kivu province.
Government spokesman Lambert Mende said Monday that about 10 army soldiers have died in the fighting north of Goma, the provincial capital.
The United Nations mission in Congo says it started Sunday when the M23, which holds territory near Goma, attacked government troops near the towns of Mutaho and Rusayo. (read more)
Charlotte priest worries about Congo genocide by Katya Lezin, The Charlotte Observer 29 April 2013
Father Andre, as he is known at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church, hopes the Charlotte community will pick up the call for action in his homeland of the Congo. Andre Mangongo, 39, is a world traveler. He was born in the Congo (formerly Zaire), and has lived in Cameroon, Belgium, the Philippines, Taiwan, China, Mongolia, Canada and the United States. He is fluent in French, English, Mandarin, Lingala (a dialect of the Congo) and Ewondo, the language of Cameroon. He now calls Charlotte home, where he serves as one of two priests at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in South Charlotte. Mangongo went to a Catholic high school in Kinshasa, the Congo’s capitol, where he dreamed of becoming a priest because, he says, “I wanted to say the Mass.” (read more)
East Africa: Is an Offensive Plausible in DR Congo? By James Karuhanga, The New Times 29 April 2013
Is it necessary? On March 28, the UNSC approved Resolution 2098 which authorised deployment of an intervention brigade which will target armed groups in eastern DR Congo. A seemingly ominous looming move by Tanzania to contribute troops to a newly-formed UN Intervention Brigade, under the UN Mission in DR Congo, or Monusco, among others, is raising eyebrows within the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), even though few lawmakers in the bloc's Assembly seem inclined to openly chastise the 'mighty' Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania. On March 28, the UN Security Council approved Monusco's new mandate. Changes, here, include deployment of an "intervention brigade," or a special force of battalions, to be based in Goma, headquarters of the DR Congo's North Kivu Province, to carry out offensive operations against armed groups and to neutralise and disarm them. (read more)
Le M23 en passe de décrocher l’autonomie d’une partie du territoire congolais Par Jean Roger Mboyo Ey'ekula 23 Avril 2013
Les Négociations engagées depuis fin novembre à Kampala entre le gouvernement congolais et le M23 sont dans la dernière ligne droite. Un projet d’accords est en voie d’être signé mais, les nouvelles en provenance de la capitale ougandaise sont loin d’être rassurant…es. Car, selon des sources, la dernière mouture de ce projet consacre implicitement l’autonomie de la partie du territoire congolais sous contrôle de la dernière née des rébellions fabriquées par le Rwanda. Une véritable porte ouverte à la balkanisation de la RDC. (en lire plus)
DRC rebels warn SA of 'massacre' By Phillip De Wet, Mmanaledi Mataboge 12 Apr 2013
M23 forces have mocked 'old' and 'corrupt' South African troops ahead of a United Nations deployment. South African troops and rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are preparing for war in the northeast of that country, a war that may determine whether the United Nations sticks to a more robust form of intervention in regional conflicts. And although peace talks between M23 rebels and the DRC government resumed in Uganda's capital Kampala last Sunday, indications are that the rebels may attack South African forces in that country pre-emptively, as preparations to get battle-ready are still taking place. (read more)
Congo: 'We could do what we wanted' says soldier who raped 53 women By Pete Jones, The Guardian 11 April 2013
As the G8 tries to address sexual violence in the DRC, perpetrators and victims speak out about mass rape in Minova.
In a small house on a hill overlooking Lake Kivu, a young Congolese army soldier recounts the crimes that he and his comrades committed in the town of Minova a few months ago. "Twenty-five of us gathered together and said we should rape 10 women each, and we did it," he said. "I've raped 53 women. And children of five or six years old." "I didn't rape because I am angry, but because it gave us a lot of pleasure," says 22-year-old Mateso, not his real name. "When we arrived here we met a lot of women. We could do whatever we wanted." As William Hague unveils a sexual violence prevention strategy at a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in London this week, what happened in Minova is a stark reminder of the huge challenges facing those seeking to solve the problem of rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (read more)
Nzigire Chibalonza, 60, was raped by three men on 22 November 2012. She has since been rejected by her husband. Photograph: Fiona Lloyd-Davies
DRC soldiers 'ordered to rape' women BBC News 11 April 2013
A team reporting for BBC Newsnight has uncovered evidence that soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were ordered to rape women by their superior officers. On Thursday, foreign ministers of the G8 announced what they were calling an historic pact and $35m to try and tackle it the use of rape as a weapon of war. Anne Mawathe reports from the town of Minova in the east of the country. Her report contains details which viewers may find upsetting. (see video here)
hundreds of thousands have fled violence in North Kivu over past year. Photo: Kate Holt, IRIN
Briefing: M23, one year on by Irinnews 03 April 2013
The M23 rebellion, the latest of a string of armed insurgencies in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) North Kivu Province, has been active for one year now, during which hundreds of thousands have fled their homes and many have lost their lives. The Mouvement du 23-Mars, or March 23 Movement, came into existence in April 2012, when hundreds of mainly ethnic Tutsi soldiers of FARDC, the national army, mutinied over poor living conditions and poor pay. Most of the mutineers had been members of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), another armed group that in 2009 signed a deal with the government, which the dissidents felt Kinshasa had not fully implemented. M23 is named after the date the agreement was signed. In November 2012, M23 captured Goma, the provincial capital, but withdrew and subsequently entered into peace talks with the government. Neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda were accused of backing M23 by a UN Security Council Group of Experts report, charges both countries strongly deny. (read more)
Around 11 deaths in DR Congo fighting: UN By: AFP 2 April 2013
Around 11 people were killed after fresh fighting between government forces and a militia in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations said Monday. UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey said the APCLS militia suffered the reported fatalities, while a soldier from the DR Congo army was injured during the skirmishes in Kitchanga, in North Kivu province. The situation in the area was reported as calm on Monday, but approximately 1,500 civilians remained under the protection of MONUSCO, the UN’s peacekeeping mission in DR Congo, which has a base in Kitchanga. (read more)
Des enfants en train de suivre des véhicules des casques bleus en patrouille au Nord-Kivu (Photo: Myriam Asmani)
DC : la brigade d’intervention de la Monusco dispose d’un mandat plus offensive Par Radio Okapi 29 Mars 2013
Le Conseil de sécurité a prorogé d’un an, jusqu’au 31 mars 2014, le mandat de la Mission des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo (Monusco) et a décidé de la doter d’une « brigade d’intervention » qui aura pour mandat de combattre et de neutraliser les groupes armés dans l’est de la RDC. Jusque là, le mandat de la Monusco était axé essentiellement sur la protection des civils.
Cette brigade comprendra notamment trois bataillons d’infanterie, une compagnie d’artillerie, une force spéciale et une compagnie de reconnaissance qui aura pour responsabilité de neutraliser les groupes armés, précise la résolution adoptée à l’unanimité de ses quinze membres par le Conseil aujourd’hui. (read more)
Congolese Rebel Commander Tells War Crimes Court He Was Just ‘a Soldier’ By Marlise Simons 26 March 2013
PARIS — Bosco Ntaganda, the rebel commander in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a reputation for extreme brutality, did not live up to his nickname “The Terminator” on Tuesday when he appeared for the first time at the International Criminal Court on charges of rape, murder, sexual slavery and using children as soldiers. Wearing a court-issued dark suit, Mr. Ntaganda seemed timid and anxious, cutting a slight figure next to one of the burly guards the court had chosen for the occasion. Although Mr. Ntaganda, long a wanted man, was not asked to enter a plea, he quickly told the judge and a room full of black-gowned lawyers, “I was informed of these crimes, but I plead not guilty.” (read more)
Bosco Ntaganda Denies Congo Atrocities at International Criminal Court AP, The Hague 26 March 2013
A Congolese warlord has denied charges including murder, rape, pillaging and using child soldiers at his first appearance before the international criminal court (ICC).
Bosco Ntaganda had been one of the court's longest-sought fugitives until he unexpectedly became the first suspect to voluntarily turn himself in by seeking refuge last week at the US embassy in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. He was flown to the Netherlands on Friday. (read more)
Bosco Ntaganda in the ICC's custody Press Release by ICC 22 March 2013
Today, Friday, 22 March 2013, Bosco Ntaganda, against whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued two arrest warrants, surrendered himself voluntarily and is now in the ICC’s custody. Bosco Ntaganda is currently escorted by an ICC delegation that has left Kigali (Rwanda) heading to the ICC detention centre in The Hague (Netherlands). (read more)
Coming trial of Rwanda's "terminator" may embarrass Great Lakes leaders and UN By Patrick Smith, The Africa Report 19 March 2013
Why did Bosco Ntaganda, the Rwandan militia leader wanted on war crime charges, decide to walk into the US Embassy in Kigali on 18 March and surrender? Was it simply that Ntaganda had no where left to go? (read more)
Mystery surrounds Ntaganda surrender By Katrina Manson, The Financial Times 19 March 2013
For more than four years, General Bosco Ntaganda has been on the run from the International Criminal Court. But for most of that time the warlord wanted for war crimes in eastern Congo has not exactly lived the life of a fugitive. (read more)
The Bosco surrender: more questions than answers By Jason Stearns, Congo Siasa 22 March 2013
There has been a lot of conjecture and speculation surrounding Bosco's "surrender" to the US embassy on Tuesday morning. In recent weeks, various parties to the conflict have been purposely spreading false information, which has made it difficult to parse the facts. Here are my own thoughts on some of these points. (read more)
Wanted Congolese Rebel Leader Turns Himself In to U.S. Embassy 18 March 2013 By Jeffrey Gettleman
NAIROBI, Kenya — Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese rebel general accused of massacring civilians and building an army of child soldiers — considered one of Africa’s most wanted men — surprisingly turned himself in to the American Embassy in Rwanda on Monday, saying he wanted to be sent to the International Criminal Court. ( Read more)
A view of destruction in Kitchanga town centre following heavy fighting between national forces and an armed group, 7 March. UN Photo/S. Liechti
Thousands flee fighting in DRC Nampa-AFP 14 March 2013
Kinshasa – Around 12 000 people have fled recent fighting between rival factions of the M23 rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday, as a local doctor warned of “methodic” rape in the troubled country.
“We estimate that around 4 000 households, or around 12 000 people, have been displaced in the zone of Rutshuru” in North-Kivu province, Simplice Kpanji of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kinshasa told AFP. (read more)
Congo-Kinshasa: Thousands of People in Danger in DR Congo As Clashes Continue in Kitchanga – UN By UN News Service 7 March 2013
The United Nations today warned that tens of thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are in danger as clashes continue between national troops and an armed group in the town of Kitchanga, displacing thousands and affecting humanitarian facilities and access to basic services.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the clashes between the DRC armed forces (FARDC) and the Alliance des Patriotes pour un Congo Libre et Souverain (APCLS) have killed tens of civilians, including a humanitarian worker, wounded hundreds of people and displaced thousands since fighting began in late February. Some 5,000 of those displaced have sought refuge around the UN peacekeeping base in Kitchanga.
Humanitarian assistance has also been affected as warehouses have been burned down, medical facilities have been destroyed and the city's water supply system has been cut off. (read more)
Fleeing conflict, By: Sylvain Liechti/UN
Congo Slips Into Chaos Again as Rebels Gain By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN The New York Times November 25, 2012
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo — The lights are out in most of Goma. There is little water. The prison is an empty, garbage-strewn wasteland with its rusty front gate swinging wide open and a three-foot hole punched through the back wall, letting loose 1,200 killers, rapists, rogue soldiers and other criminals.
Now, rebel fighters are going house to house arresting people, many of whom have not been seen again by their families.
“You say the littlest thing and they disappear you,” said an unemployed man named Luke.
In the past week, the rebels have been unstoppable, steamrolling through one town after another, seizing this provincial capital, and eviscerating a dysfunctional Congolese Army whose drunken soldiers stumble around with rocket-propelled grenades and whose chief of staff was suspended for selling crates of ammunition to elephant poachers. (read more)
Jehad Nga for The New York Times
Democratic Republic of Congo Country Profile – 1 December 2012
The Democratic Republic of Congo, commonly referred to as Congo-Kinshasa or the DRC, is the second largest country in Africa, with a population of over 71 million. More than 250 ethnic groups make up the DRC’s population. Of the Bantu groups, the Mongo, Luba, Kong, and Mangbetu-Azande make up about 45% of the population. The country has a Belgian population of 60,000.
Initially claimed as the personal property of the Belgian King Leopold, his genocidal exploitation of rubber and ivory led to millions of deaths. An international protest eventually led to colonization by Belgium. In 1960 the Mouvement National Congolais won parliamentary elections and Patrice Lumumba, became Prime Minister. The Congo achieved independence later that year. A majority of the 100,000 Europeans fled the country. Lumumba was murdered, and the Chief of the Army, Mobutu Sese Seko, seized power. Mobutu changed the country’s name to “Republic of Zaire”, and was supported by the United States due to Mobutu’s opposition to Communism. Rigged re-elections, gross corruption and human rights violations plagued his administration. In the early 1990s, opponents within Zaire began to demand governmental reforms. Following the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Hutu militias fled into eastern Zaire and allied with Zaire’s army, launched a campaign against the Congolese Tutsi population. In 1996, a coalition of the Rwandan and Ugandan Armies invaded Zaire to overthrow Mobutu’s government and the Hutu militias, launching the First Congo War. Mobutu was forced to flee Zaire in 1997. The nation was renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A new government was established under Laurent Kabila, but fearing the continued presence of Rwandan and Ugandan forces in the DRC, he demanded that they leave. Rwandan and Ugandan forces attacked the DRC army in 1998. The ensuing war also involved troops from Angola, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. Laurent Kabila was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards. Joseph Kabila, the son of the assassinated President, appealed to the United Nations for multi-lateral talks. U.N. peacekeepers arrived and a peace agreement was signed with Kabila sharing power with leaders from other factions.
By 2003, most foreign armies had retreated and elections were held. The DRC’s first multiparty elections occurred in 2006, and a constitution was approved. Joseph Kabila received 45% of the vote, with his opponent Jean-Pierre Bemba, taking 20%. The results were disputed, leading to more violence and intervention by U.N. peacekeeping forces. A new election occurred later that year, with Kabila taking 70% and being sworn into the Presidency.
Violence continued, with armed rebellion in Eastern Congo by Tutsi forces, eventually leading to the March 23 Movement in 2012. Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army moved from Uganda and South Sudan to the DRC in 2005, before fleeing into the Central African Republic. Local militias, the Mutomboki, also became violent. Since 2009, an estimated 45,000 people have died per month. Estimates of total deaths since 1996 range up to five million. Widespread disease and famine due to conflict have killed more people than atrocity crimes. Sexual violence and destruction of property are rampant, causing widespread displacement of people and hundreds of thousands of displaced people.
The presence of Ex-Rwandan genocidists, local militias, and mineral warlords have led to the massacres of thousands of people. M23, (allegedly supported by Rwanda, which Rwanda denies), has taken control of North Kivu. A Hutu militia, the FDLR, is at war with M23 as well as with the Raia Mutomboki, a Congolese militia that targets anyone who speaks Kinyarwanda. Both groups have massacred entire villages and are responsible for mass rape and forced displacement.
The DRC remains at stage 7, with genocidal massacres in North and South Kivu.
On the Situation in Eastern Congo
Open letter to Mr. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,
January 14, 2013
Your Excellency, the Secretary General of the United Nations,
We, writers, artists, researchers and university professors, who are following the developments of the situation in Eastern Congo, have hereby decided to directly address you regarding an issue on which depend the security and well-being of millions of men and women, as well as the stability of the entire Great Lakes regionand, on a larger scale, the entire African continent.
Above all, we wish to draw your attention to what we consider to be a partial and simplistic interpretation of the current situation in this part of the African continent. Such an interpretation is reflected in some reports by international experts based on a “single-issue” approach, which sacrifices the complexity of a phenomenon in order to provide a superficial explanation. For reasons that worry us and that have pushed us into action, the principal investigator Steve Hege and his team, all of whom you have appointed, have chosen to focus their criticisms on the M23, while dangerously forgetting or remaining silent on other extremely harmful rebel movements in operation since 1994. This single-minded interpretation is destined to be counterproductive in the absence of a holistic vision of the Congolese situation in all its complexity and with all its political, economic and sociocultural ramifications. We do not understand why these investigators have chosen to ignore the existence of the armed groups––in particular, and significantly, the FDLR –– that are responsible for the bloody chaos unfolding in Eastern Congo. We also urge you to seriously consider, in contrast to your predecessors up until 1994, the disturbing signs of possible extension of violence in the region and, equally disturbing, the public incitement to hatred and the massacre of Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese. (read more)
DR Congo rebels set conditions before pullout
AlJazeera 27 November, 2012
M23 rebels started their military campaign after they mutinied over poor pay and working conditions [EPA] M23 rebels controlling the eastern city of Goma in the DR Congo have said they will not pull out unless their demands are met. Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Goma, said the rebels were demanding that the government hold national talks and dissolve the electoral commission enacted by President Joseph Kabila. Other demands include release of all political prisoners and withdrawal of the rebel group FDLR from positions it is occupying. (read more)
M23 rebels started their military campaign after they mutinied over poor pay and working conditions [EPA]
Congo Rebels Ignore Appeal to Quit Attack
By Jeffrey Gettleman 24 November 2012
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo — Regional leaders meeting in Uganda on Saturday called on Congolese rebels to “stop all war activities and withdraw from Goma,” but the rebels did not seem interested in that.Fighters from a rebel group called the M23 drove past a displaced persons camp in Mugunga, Congo, on Saturday. Instead, they continued their advance on more government territory, sending troops in several directions to surround the small town of Minova, a steppingstone toward the next big prize, Bukavu, one of the largest cities in eastern Congo. (read more)
Congo Slips Into Chaos Again as Rebels Gain
By Jeffrey Gettleman
25 November 2012
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo — The lights are out in most of Goma. There is little water. The prison is an empty, garbage-strewn wasteland with its rusty front gate swinging wide open and a three-foot hole punched through the back wall, letting loose 1,200 killers, rapists, rogue soldiers and other criminals. (read more)
U.N. Helicopters Strike Rebel Posts in Congo
By REUTERS November 17, 2012
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) — United Nations attack helicopters hit rebel positions in eastern Congo on Saturday after insurgents gained ground in heavy fighting, the United Nations said. The situation led the French Mission at the United Nations to call for an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Saturday afternoon. (read more)
Congo-Kinshasa: UN Report Finds Evidence of Arbitrary Killings in Eastern DR Congo, Prompts Calls for Action
By UN News Service
14 November 2012
Rebel groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arbitrarily executed at least 264 civilians, including 83 children, over a five-month period this year, according to report by United Nations human rights investigators, released today. (Read more)
Genocide and Mass Atrocity Warning: Democratic Republic of the Congo – the Kivus
3 October 2012
Since April 2012, instability in North and South Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has become increasingly violent. Genocide Watch warns that there have already been genocidal massacres and mass atrocities by warring ethnic groups, and there is serious risk of all-out genocide.
A Mai Mai militia, the Raia Mutomboki, is targeting anyone who speaks Kinyarwanda (Congolese or Rwandan, combatant or civilian), and has declared its intent to kill or expel all Kinyarwanda speaking people from the Congo. In response, a Hutu militia, the FDLR, is targeting anyone associated with the Raia Mutomboki. Since the beginning of 2012, these two groups have reportedly killed at least 700 people and have displaced over 300,000 Congolese.
Since the end of the Second Congo War in 2003, the Congolese army (FARDC) has relinquished its efforts to pacify the eastern Congo. It is currently in pursuit of the pro-Rwandan March 23 Movement (M23). Absence of the FARDC has left a power vacuum, now filled by Raia Mutomboki and the FDLR.
The DRC has been in constant conflict since 1994, the year of the Rwandan genocide, when Rwandan genocidaires fled into the DRC. In 1996 Laurent Kabila, backed by the Rwandan Army, invaded the Congo, killed many Hutu and overthrew President Mobutu. Rwandan and Ugandan troops stayed in the DRC, and many other African countries sent armies to exploit the vast mineral resources of DRC, driving civilians into the jungle, resulting in over four million civilian deaths and rapes of 200,000 women.
A peace treaty was eventually signed in 2009, and militias of the National Congress for the Defense of People (CNDP), were supposed to be integrated with the FARDC. However, in April 2012, CNDP soldiers who had not already left the FARDC mutinied and joined M23, led by Bosco Ntaganda, a leader in the CNDP. Ntaganda has a warrant for his arrest issued by the International Criminal Court for using child soldiers. M23 is based in the eastern Congo province of North Kivu and seeks an independent Tutsi-led state. It has been alleged that the Rwandan government supports M23, but Rwanda denies involvement. M23 has committed crimes against humanity by targeting civilian populations, mutilations, and mass rape.
The Raia Mutomboki and the genocidaire-led FLDR are engaged in a bilateral genocidal conflict. Both groups massacre and mutilate entire villages, combatants and civilians. Both groups have enlarged recruitment beyond the Kivus. Local leaders fear Raia Mutomboki and say it gets support from M23. The Kivus are again descending into genocide, mass rape, and forced deportations.
There are currently genocidal massacres taking place in the North and South Kivu provinces of the DRC. Eastern DRC is at Stage 7, genocide in part, on Genocide Watch’s eight stages of genocide.
Genocide Watch advocates a large increase in efforts by MONUSCO to hunt down perpetrators of genocide in both the FLDR and Raia Mutomboki with robust funding and training from European and other African governments, culminating in a cease-fire monitored by MONUSCO.
International relief organizations should establish safe refugee corridors and camps for IDPs.
Genocide Watch demands that Bosco Ntaganda and all genocidists be arrested for war crimes and extradited to the ICC. The principle of subsidiarity–giving precedence to the national courts over the ICC–does not apply to Ntaganda, because the DRC referred his case to the ICC in 2004.
Genocide Watch calls upon the Congolese government and neighboring governments to pass necessary legislation to build national institutions for justice and accountability, provide genuine local security, and pass and enforce laws that outlaw donor support of militias by foreign powers.
Congo: U.N. Report Cites Slaughter
Jeffrey Gettleman, The New York Times 14 November 2012
Armed groups executed more than 250 civilians, including 83 children, in one area of the Democratic Republic of Congo this year, according to a United Nations report published Wednesday. It said that rebels in North Kivu Province, along the border with Rwanda, killed the civilians between April and September. “The systematic human rights violations committed by these armed groups, including the slaughter of so many children, are the most serious we have seen in recent times” in Congo, said the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay.
UNHCR, Burundi to interview DR Congo refugees to grant them refugee status Agencies
Global Times 26 September, 2012
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Burundian government will start on Wednesday to interview at least 600 asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) to grant them the refugee status, the Burundian home affairs minister said on Tuesday.
"As of tomorrow (Wednesday), the UN Refugee Agency and the Burundian government will start to interview those Congolese asylum seekers. Those who will qualify will receive the refugee status and will be sent to a refugee camp where they will be assisted," Burundian Home Affairs Minister Edouard Nduwimana told the Congolese asylum seekers when he visited them in the Burundian province of Cibitoke.
Nduwimana said the asylum seekers will be interviewed in accordance with the African Union Refugee Convention. (read more)
Exclusive: Clinton presses Rwanda, DRC leaders on border crisis
Andrew Quinn, Reuters 25 September, 2012
NEW YORK - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed the presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to resolve a conflict over rebels in eastern Congo whose military advances have stoked tensions in one of Africa's most volatile regions.
Clinton sat down with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Congolese President Joseph Kabila in New York on Monday, delivering a firm message to both that steps must be taken to resolve the crisis, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. (read more)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the launch of the Equal Futures Partnership at the InterContinental Hotel in New York September 24, 2012.
UN council calls for urgent dialogue between Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda
The Washington Post, Associated Press 18 September, 2012
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council says dialogue is urgently needed between the Congo and Rwanda, which is accused of supporting the rebellion in eastern Congo. German U.N. Ambassador and current Security Council President Peter Wittig says a high-level meeting is planned for next week’s General Assembly on eastern Congo, where a major humanitarian crisis has hit. (read more)
DR Congo M23 rebels have 'de facto administration'
BBC News 19 September, 2012
Rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have set up a "de facto administration", the head of the UN's peacekeeping operations has said. Herve Ladsous said the M23 group - formed of soldiers who mutinied in April - are controlling populations and taking taxes. The UN accuses neighbouring Rwanda of supporting the M23 - an allegation Kigali has repeatedly denied. More than 200,000 people have been displaced in this year's unrest. (read more)
Congo wants UN to beef up mandate of the UN peacekeeping force so it can ‘neutralize’ rebels
By Associated Press
1 September 2012
UNITED NATIONS — Congo said it wants the U.N. peacekeeping force in the African country to “neutralize” a new rebel movement and a force that helped perpetrate Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and protect the tense and porous border with neighboring Rwanda.
Congo’s Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda N’tunga Mulongo also called on the Security Council to impose sanctions on those named in a U.N. report in July that accused high-ranking Rwandan officials of helping to create, arm and support the new M23 rebels within Congo — as well as the rebel movement’s leaders. (read more)
Le film 'Affaire Chebeya, un crime d'Etat?' sera bien projeté à Kinshasa
9 juillet 2012
Le film du réalisateur belge, Thierry Michel, 'Affaire Chebeya, un crime d'Etat?', sera finalement projeté à Kinshasa, a annoncé lundi à la presse à Bruxelles, l'auteur du long-métrage documentaire sur l'assassinat le 1er juin 2010 dans la capitale congolaise de Floribert Chebeya, président de l'association la 'Voix des Sans Voix' pour la défense des droits de l'Homme en RD Congo. (read more)
Thomas Lubanga, Former Congo Warlord, Sentenced to 30 years For Conscripting Child Soldiers
By Toby Sterling, Huffington Post
13 June 2012
AMSTERDAM -- The International Criminal Court prosecutor asked judges on Wednesday to hand down a 30-year sentence to a Congolese warlord convicted of conscripting child soldiers.
Thomas Lubanga was convicted of the charge in the Netherlands-based court in March, in a case widely regarded as sending a message to military leaders who use child soldiers that they will be brought to justice. Judges have yet to set a sentencing date.
Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he could not find any factor that would lessen Lubanga's guilt. He "knew he was breaking the basic rules that the world has established to protect children," the prosecutor said.
Children forced into Lubanga's service were "trained by terror... to kill and to rape," he said. Then they were "launched into battle zones where they were instructed to kill everyone, regardless of whether they were men, women, or children." (read more...)
In this June 3, 2003 file photo, a bodyguard stands behind the leader of the rebel Union of Congolese Patriots, Thomas Lubanga, during a rally by the rebel group in Bunia, Congo. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, File)
Credit: BBC News
Genocide Emergency: Democratic Republic of the Congo
By Genocide Watch 7 February 2012, updated 25 April 2012 (En français)
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is plagued by enduring conflict in its eastern provinces. Formally the second Congolese war came to an end in 2002. However, in practice the conflict drags on and is the deadliest since the Second World War. Estimates of the dead range from three to five million persons. The victims are civilians, in particular women and girls, and ethnic groups such as the Banyamulenge, the Hutu Banyarwanda, the Hema and the Lendu. Many of the killers and rapists are former genocidists who escaped into the DRC from the Rwandan genocide.
Besides the high death rate among vulnerable civilian populations, especially children, and the number of internally displaced persons, there is the alarming trend of rape used as a weapon of war. Sexual violence is aimed at terrorizing and controlling the population. A recent study estimates that nearly two million women have been raped in the DRC, that is nearly one every minute. These atrocities, however, are not limited to women and girls. The fact that also men and boys are victims of rape is often not highlighted. Moreover, sexual violence is not limited to rape. It includes crimes such as abduction and sexual slavery, forced maternity and sexual mutilation. Sexual violence causes traumas, diseases, rejection and stigmatization. These consequences are aggravated by feelings of hopelessness, shame and abandonment because of the impunity of the perpetrators.
The rapes in the DRC constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, targeting a civilian population on a mass scale. Some of the acts of sexual violence can be qualified as genocidal acts, such as those committed by the FDLR and the Mai Mai towards the Tutsi population. Sexual violence is the most shocking human rights violation now occurring in the Eastern Congo.
The situation in this extensive country located in the heart of Africa is highly explosive. This is evidenced by the following factors;
There were genocidal massacres in the DRC during the period from 1993 to 2003 as evidenced by a draft report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The elections of December 2011 were marked by widespread fraud, and proved that the DRC needs to build democratic institutions. Dozens of people died in pre- and post-election violence.
The mineral wealth in the eastern provinces of the DRC is a major cause of the ongoing conflict. Numerous militias controlled by rapacious warlords, as well as Congolese government troops exploit these minerals, while engaging in human rights violations on a large scale, including forcing civilians to work in the mines.
MONUSCO, the UN Mission in the DRC, one of the largest UN Peacekeeping Operations in the world, has had a beneficial effect in some towns and regions, but it remains hopelessly understaffed, undertrained, under resourced and underfinanced.
Currently genocidal massacres are taking place in the DRC. The DRC is at Stage 7, genocide in part, on Genocide Watch’s stages of genocide.
Genocide Watch welcomes the announcement by President Kabila that General Bosco Ntaganda will be arrested for war crimes. Genocide Watch demands that he be extradited to the ICC. The principle of subsidiarity –giving precedence to the national courts over the ICC– does not apply, as the DRC has referred the case to the ICC in 2004.
Genocide Watch welcomes the first judgment of the ICC, convicting warlord Thomas Lubanga for the use of child soldiers. This case, however, also represents a missed opportunity to try crimes of sexual violence, because Lubanga was not charged with rape and other acts of sexual violence, such as sexual slavery, which there was ample evidence he committed.
Genocide Watch calls upon the Congolese government and neighboring governments to pass the necessary legislation to build regional institutions for justice and accountability, with international assistance and financing, under Congolese, national and international law.
Genocide Watch advocates a large increase in efforts to hunt down and stop perpetrators of sexual violence, carried out by regional forces with robust funding and training from European and American governments, the UN, and support from MONUSCO.
Genocide Watch urges an exponential increase in funding for hospitals, especially to repair fistula and other maiming of women who have been raped.
Genocide Watch urges investigation and arrest of perpetrators of sexual violence, other crimes against humanity, and genocide by a special unit of the International Criminal Court.
Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1993-2003
of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of
human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the
territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and