Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch

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Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rwanda to quit Dafur peace mission over leaked report

 Violence between factions in Dafur could get out of hand again if Rwanda withdrew its troops.
Violence between factions in Dafur could get out of hand again if Rwanda withdrew its troops. PHOTO BY AFP 
By David Kezio Musoke  (email the author)

Posted Sunday, September 5 2010 at 00:00

Rwanda is set to withdraw its peacekeepers from Sudan anytime if the United Nations insists on publishing a report that Rwandan officials say is “outrageous and damaging” to the country.
Lt. Col Jill Rutaremara the spokesperson of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) said on September 2 that withdrawal plans were already set and only awaited a political decision.
“The Rwanda Defence Force has finalised a contingency withdraw plan for its peacekeepers deployed in Sudan in response to a government directive in case the UN publishes its outrageous and damaging report,” he said, and added, “all logistical and personnel resources are in place.

The pullout will take the shortest time possible. The withdrawal will apply to the RDF peace keepers serving under the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).”
Recently, in a leaked draft UN report, Rwanda is implicated in alleged genocide crimes in the 1990s. The report that has enraged officials in Kigali could jeopardise Rwanda’s commitment in Darfur and Khartoum where it is helping to keep peace under UNAMID and UNMIS.
A draft UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) report leaked last week accused Rwandan forces of genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the 1990s, something that has renewed the ‘love-hate’ relationship between the UN and Rwanda.
The unprecedented 600-page investigation by the UNHCR, a version published by the French newspaper Le Monde catalogues alleged years of murder, rape and looting in a conflict in which hundreds of thousands were allegedly murdered.
A correspondence between Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo and the office of the UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon published in international media shows that Rwanda had earlier warned that any attempt to release or leak the UN report through any media, would force Rwanda to withdrawal from various commitments with UN, especially in the area of peacekeeping.
Rwanda has been at loggerheads with the UN since the 1994 genocide when the latter failed out-rightly to prevent mass killings and the subsequent refugee crisis in the then Zaire, a direct cause for so much suffering in DRC and Rwanda.
“It is immoral and unacceptable that the UN now accuses the army that stopped the genocide of committing atrocities in the DRC,” said Ben Rutsinga, an official from the Rwandan foreign affairs ministry.
It would not come as a surprise that Rwanda would actually consider withdrawing from UN commitments. It is actually not the first time.
In 2008, the UN questioned the eligibility of Karenzi Karake, a Rwanda General who then served as a deputy commander of the joint African Union-U.N. force in Darfur, after a Spanish judge had indicted him of war crimes. The UN later extended his tenure after Kigali threatened to withdraw all Rwandan troops had he been fired.
Rwanda is now quite irate with the possible contents of the report and the subsequent reference to the word ‘genocide,’ saying it is “immoral and unacceptable” for the UN to accuse Rwandan forces of committing atrocities in the DRC yet the same forces stopped the genocide in Rwanda.
“How can a force, which is involved in peace keeping missions, a force said to act in the most professional manner, be accused of committing genocide? Our forces are not only disciplined but also well versed with international and humanitarian procedures,” Lt. Col. Rutaremara said.
Rwanda has also questioned the timing of the report saying the UN investigating team was not concerned with pursuing in-depth investigations that could be useful in any kind of court, meaning, “it employed the lowest evidential standards to investigate these allegations.”
“It is a dangerous and irresponsible document that under the guise of human rights can only achieve instability in the Great Lakes region and undermine ongoing efforts to stabilise the region, particularly at a time when unprecedented progress is being made,” said a government statement.
One theory is that probably the UN intentionally leaked the parts of the report to systematically and strategically divert attention from MONUSCO’s recent inaction on mass rapes by the Hutu rebel group called the FDLR, something looked at as another UN failure.
The question is: What are the risks of Rwanda’s withdrawal of troops on the UN operations in Darfur? Rwanda has the second largest contingent in the Sudan after Nigeria.
Even with its commitments, Rwanda has been critical of the UN’s failure to provide enough logistical support including helicopters and supplies, to the peace-keeping missions, while a political solution to the Darfur conflict seems as far away as ever.
The leaked report is also seen by many as something that could further taint an already slippery relationship between the two. Mr Ban recently named President Kagame as a co-chair of the UN Millennium Development Group (MDG) advocacy group, along with Spain’s Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who in turn snubbed a meeting with Mr Kagame on war crimes grounds.


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