Update on Part 2.


I submitted part 2 of my commentary a few days ago and it will probably be made available here in about 2 weeks or so.  In the time since I submitted it, there have been major developments on the topic of the paper.  Another so-called ‘warlord’ involved in Ituri was transferred to the ICC for trial.  The other more important development is the release of 40 arrest warrants for high-ranking Rwandan Defense Forces officials by the Spanish National Court for crimes including genocide and terrorism.  This happened while German President Horst Koehler, the former IMF chief, is currently in Kigali trying to boost the image of Rwanda’s Goverment and is expected to continue the German program of training Rwandan police forces.  Enclosed below are articles from the ‘mainstream’ press that summarize these developments, included for time’s sake.  If you are interested in more details, you can always e-mail me.

Lastly, for what it is worth, I would like to extend my thoughts and deepest sympathies to all the Congolese, Rwandan, and Burundian victims of the earthquake.  Also, a reminder that tomorrow is 8 February, the 15th anniversary of the infamous February offensive by the RPF in Byumba and Ruhengeri Prefectures.  The RPA murdered thousands of primarily Hutu (Bakiga) civilians.  Marie-Beatrice Umutesi and Jean-Christophe Nizeyimana have described the horrors of this attack in their book and interview respectively.  The territorial gains from the offensive gave the RPF much more bargaining power when they went to the table for the Arusha Accords later in the year.  Please remember the innocent Hutu and Tutsi victims and survivors of this attack.

 

DR Congo war crimes suspect sent to international court

Agence France Presse.

February 7 2008

 

A former Democratic Republic of Congo militia chief accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity was due to arrive at the International Criminal Court in The Hague Thursday, the ICC said.

Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, former head of the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI), is accused of carrying out offences against the local population in 2003 in the northeast Ituri region of the central African nation.

He was arrested in Kinshasa Wednesday and sent to The Hague, according to a statement released by DR Congo Justice Minister Symphorien Mutombo Bakafwa.

"The date of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui’s first hearing will be announced shortly," the ICC said.

He was expected to arrive at the ICC’s Detention Centre in The Hague later Thursday.

The court said a pre-trial chamber found "that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, as the highest ranking FNI commander, played an essential role in designing and implementing an indiscriminate attack against the village of Bogoro, in the territory of Ituri, on or around 24 February 2003.

"The chamber also found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that during and after the attack on the village of Bogoro against civilians, primarily of Hema ethnicity, with the active participation of children under the age of fifteen years, several criminal acts were committed."

The ICC statement cited "the murder of about 200 civilians; causing serious bodily harm to civilians; arresting, threatening with weapons and imprisoning civilians in a room filled with corpses; pillaging; sexual enslavement of several women and girls."

It also found that there were grounds to believe that an attack on Bogoro was agreed by Ngudjolo and other senior FNI and FRPI (Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri) military commanders, and that criminal acts were an accepted consequence of their common plan.

The warrant of arrest for Ngudjolo lists nine counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Ngudjolo is the third person in the custody of the ICC.

In October, the Congolese authorities sent Germain Katanga, a Congolese national and alleged commander of the FRPI, to the ICC.

He is currently charged as a co-perpetrator of the crimes committed allegedly during the joint FNI and FRPI attack on Bogoro.

In March 2006, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Congolese national and alleged founder and leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), was also sent to The Hague.

The ICC prosecutor launched investigations in DR Congo in June 2004 after the Congolese government referred the situation in the country to the court.

Ngudjolo, a colonel with DR Congo’s government troops (FARDC), was arrested at a Kinshasa military academy where he was being trained since the end of last year, along with two other former Ituri warlords.

 

Spanish judge indicts 40 Rwandan military officers for genocide.

CNN

February 6 2007

A Spanish judge Wednesday indicted 40 current or former Rwandan military officers for several counts of genocide and human rights abuses during the 1990s when several million Rwandans died or disappeared.

A Spanish judge Wednesday indicted 40 current or former Rwandan military officers for several counts of genocide and human rights abuses during the 1990s when several million Rwandans died or disappeared.

The judge issued international arrest warrants against the 40, including Gen. James Kabarebe, whom the judge said is believed to be the chief of staff of Rwanda’s military; Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, whom the judge said is believed to be Rwanda’s ambassador to India; and Lt. Col. Rugumya Gacinya, whom the judge said is believed to be a military attaches at Rwanda’s embassy in Washington D.C., USA, according to court documents viewed by CNN.

Rwanda does not have an extradition treaty with Spain, a court spokeswoman told CNN.

The indictments against the 40 are for "crimes of genocide, human rights abuses and terrorism," during the 1990s in Rwanda, "when more than four million Rwandans were killed or disappeared under an extermination plan for ethnic and/or political reasons," the court documents said.

The judge, Fernando Andreu, named eight Spaniards who died or disappeared during those tumultuous years in Rwanda. Their plight prompted his investigation at Spain’s National Court in Madrid, which previously has investigated human rights violations against Spaniards during past military regimes in Chile, Argentina and elsewhere.

Five of the Spanish victims were missionaries. The bodies of four of them were found in late 1996 after they were tortured, and shot or hacked to death with machetes, the documents said, while a fifth is still missing.

Three other Spaniards were shot to death in early 1997 while working for a non-profit medical group providing aid to Hutu refugees in Rwanda, the documents said.

The majority of the victims during the genocide, the documents said, were Hutu. The Hutu included Rwandan refugees and Congolese civilians.

The judge did not indict Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, but only because he has immunity as head of state, the documents said. The judge found evidence of criminal activity by Kagame, based on the testimony of a former Rwandan Army informant who told the judge he previously worked on Kagame’s security detail, the documents said.

In preparing the indictments, the judge heard testimony from 22 people who said they witnessed the horrors in Rwanda in the 1990s. All of them live in exile, mainly in Europe, and all have changed their identity for security reasons, except Marie Beatrice Umutesi, who lives in Belgium and has written a book about the killings, the documents said.

The documents included a 182-page indictment and two accompanying summary documents.

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