Rwanda: UN Congo report threat to region's stability

Fri Oct 1, 2010 5:51am GMT

By Hereward Holland

KIGALI (Reuters) - Rwanda on Thursday presented seven objections to a U.N. report accusing its troops of committing atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and said publishing it could threaten regional stability.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights report details some 600 serious crimes committed by various forces from a number of nations in Congo from 1993-2003.

In August, Rwanda threatened to pull its 3,500 U.N. peacekeepers out of Sudan's western Darfur region, following the leaked report's accusations that the crimes committed could be construed as genocide.

President Paul Kagame later decided to keep its troops in the conflict-torn territory after consultations with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Rwanda government spokeswoman and Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo described the draft document to be released on October1 as flawed and dangerous. Its official publication will include comments from concerned countries, including Rwanda.

"Our comments to the U.N. today demonstrate how the Mapping Exercise has been a moral and intellectual failure -- as well as an insult to history," Mushikiwabo said in a statement.

U.N. peacekeepers were widely criticised for failing to prevent the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda that ended only after Tutsi-led fighters under current President Kagame retook control of the country.

Rwanda's army then invaded Congo, ostensibly to hunt down Hutu fighters who had taken part in the killings and fled into eastern Congo along with over a million Hutu civilians.   Continued...

<p>Rwanda's President Paul Kagame speaks during the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>
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