CPT-Africa Great Lakes urges 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).
During the past fifteen years, millions of civilians have been displaced in the Congo and over five million have been killed. Armed groups have 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 but others are still at large.
1. Gen. Bosco Ntaganda assumed command of the CNDP (Congrès national pour la défense du peuple) rebel forces in late January 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 charged Bosco with war crimes, but the DRC is willing to use his forces to kill and chase back Hutu militias. To allow Bosco to operate in the present military operation is to loose a person charged with war crimes back into the same arenas where those crimes were perpetrated. Human Rights Watch is one of several groups advocating that the DRC arrest Bosco Ntaganda and turn him over to the ICC.
2. In early February 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. (However, evidence suggests that Nkunda's forces also played a key role in funneling DRC's mineral wealth to Rwanda.) Nkunda is charged with mutiny from the DRC military and has been accused of war crimes 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.
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 your own government 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 USA and Rwanda have not ratified the ICC agreements, asking them to
uphold these processes is still appropriate and important.
USA: 1) Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo; 1800 New Hampshire Ave.; Washington, DC 20009; Tel: 202-234-7690; Fax: 202-237-0748; 2) Embassy of Rwanda; 1714 New Hampshire Ave. NW; Washington, DC 20009; Tel: 202-232-2882; Fax: 202-232-4544; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CANADA: 1) Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo; 18 Range Road; Ottawa, ON K1N 8J3; Tel: 613-230-6391; Fax: 613-230-1945; 2) Embassy of Rwanda; 153 Gilmour St.; Ottawa, ON K2P 0N8; Tel: 613-569-5420; Fax: 613-569-5421; e-mail: email@example.com
UK: 1) Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo; 24 Southwark Bridge Rd.; London, England SE1 9HF; Tel: +44-207-336-0101; 2) Embassy of Rwanda; 120-122 Seymour Pl.; London, England W1H 1NR; Tel: +44- 207-224-9832; Fax: +44-207-724-9642; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For current advocacy suggestions on issues affecting the people of the Congo, contact Friends of the Congo at http://friendsofthecongo.org