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Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi furious at UN DRC report

media UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (L) with Rwandan President Paul Kagame … AFP

Rwanda has slammed the UN report on atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which implicates its army in massacres of Hutu refugees in the 1990s. Other African countries named as having nationals involved in atrocities have reacted with fury.

The report, which is based on data collected by UN investigators in 2008 and 2009, presents “very little credible evidence”, Rwanda’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Venetia Sebudandi, told RFI, going on to criticise the way it was put together.

“It is a report carrying very serious allegations but, at the same time, which was done in a very unprofessional way, in a very careless way,” she says. “The UN contracted private individuals and NGOs to make a report like this with heavy accusations [...] this is not a report that is signed by any expert.”

Earlier an official Rwandan statement “categorically rejected” the report’s findings, claiming that they add up to “a desire to validate the double genocide theory”.

President Paul Kagame’s government insists that the only genocide in Rwanda were the massacres of Tutsis that took place when its Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) was threatening the previous Hutu-dominated government in 1994.

The report, published on Friday but leaked beforehand, describes the killing of hundreds of Hutus who had fled to the DRC after the RPF took power.

Although the final document watered down some of the language of earlier drafts – adding “allegedly” and “apparently” to some of the descriptions of violence in the DRC in the 1990s – it concludes that some of the killings documented “could be characterised as crimes of genocide” if proved in court.

Other reactions include:

  • Burundi described the report as an attempt to destabilise the region, saying that it is “nonsense” to implicate the Burundian army or any previous rebel movements in offences in the DRC, since they were at the time “concentrating on the raging Burundi conflict”.
  • Uganda has threatened to review its deployment in the UN force in Somalia, which it is leading, branding the document “a compendium of rumours, deeply flawed in methodology, sourcing and standard of proof”.
  • The DRC has reacted positively – calling for justice for the victims of attacks, whose voices have been “stifled for a long time” and promising to “attentively study” suggestions that it set up a court in which foreign judges would sit alongside Congolese ones.
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