AFRICA GREAT LAKES ACTION ALERT: Call for compliance with processes of International Criminal Court

CPTnet
9 February 2009
AFRICA GREAT LAKES ACTION ALERT: Call for compliance with processes of International Criminal Court

Summary: Africa Great Lakes CPT (AGLCPT) requests supporters to contact their governments and the embassies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda to encourage compliance with the processes of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Background: During the past fifteen years in the Congo, millions of civilians have been displaced numerous times and over five million people have been killed. Various armed groups have, with impunity, swept across population centers, killing, abducting children, raping women and destroying homes and farms. Some of those perpetrators are being brought to justice at the ICC in the Hague, Netherlands, but others are still at large, some uncharged.

Specifics:

1.    Gen. Bosco Ntaganda assumed command of the CNDP (Congrès national pour la défense du peuple ) rebel forces only two weeks ago and immediately asked to merge his troops with the DRC military, becoming part of a joint DRC/Rwandan military operation against the FDLR (Forces democratiques pour la liberation du Rwanda). These are former Rwandan Hutu forces, some of whom had been involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The ICC has charged Bosco with serious war crimes against civilians, but the DRC is willing to use his forces to kill and chase back Hutu militias. Human Rights Watch is one of several human rights groups calling for the Congo to hold justice and peace in one hand. They have said that to allow Bosco to operate in the present military operation is to loose a person charged with very serious war crimes back into the same arenas where those crimes were perpetrated. They ask the DRC to arrest Bosco Ntaganda and turn him over to the ICC.

2.    Last week Rwanda reported that it had arrested Gen. Laurent Nkunda, former commander of the CNDP. The CNDP has identified its primary goal to be protecting Tutsis living in the Congo from Hutu FDLR militias. Nkunda is charged with mutiny from the DRC military and has been accused of war crimes against civilians throughout the eastern part of the Congo. DRC has requested his extradition so he can be tried in the Congo, but it is likely that war crime charges will also be brought against him. Rwanda appears reluctant to have him extradited to the DRC because he has been waging a proxy war in the Congo on their behalf.

3.    Civilian Congolese communities in the path of the joint operation against the FDLR are at risk. A negotiated settlement, leveraged by Rwanda's backers, the United Kingdom and the United States, would be a much more practical and successful process than this dangerous DRC/Rwandan military operation.

Request:
AGLCPT asks supporters to:
1. Write to the embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo (President Kabila) urging the arrest of Bosco Ntaganda on existing warrants pending with the International Criminal Court in accordance with DRC's international obligations.
2. Write to the embassy of Rwanda (President Kagame) to cooperate with extradition requests of Laurent Nkunda to the DRC for trial.
3. Ask their own governments to urge Rwanda to hold negotiations with the Hutu majority in its country so that a resolution might allow Hutus in the Congo to return home.

Though the U.S. and Rwanda have not ratified the ICC agreements, it is still proper to ask them to uphold these processes.

Addresses:

CANADA

1. Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo
18 Range Road, Ottawa ON K1N 8J3
Phone: + 1 613 230-6391/6582
Fax: + 1 613 230-1945
Web Site: http://www.ambardcongocanada.ca
2. Embassy of Rwanda
153 Gilmour Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 0N8
Phone: (+1-613) 569-5420/4
Fax: (+1-613) 569-5421
Web Site: http://www.ambarwaottawa.ca
Email: generalinfo@ambarwaottawa.ca

UK
1. Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo
24 Southwark Bridge Road, London, England  SE1 9HF
Phone: 0207 336 0101
2. Embassy of Rwanda
120-122 Seymour Place
London, England W1H 1NR
Phone: (+44-20) 72249832
Fax: (+44-20) 77249642
Web Site: http://www.ambrwanda.org.uk
Email: uk@ambrwanda.org.uk

USA
1. Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo
1800 New Hampshire Avenue
Washington DC 20009
Phone: (202) 234-7690
Fax: (202) 237-0748
2. Embassy of Rwanda
1714 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: 202-232-2882
Fax: 202-232-4544
Web Site: http://www.rwandemb.org/english/contact_us.html
Email: rwandemb@rwandemb.org