Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch
Welcome to 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:http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library
Saturday, March 17, 2012
RWANDA-DRC:THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TALKING ABOUT THE MASSACRE OF RWANDAN AND CONGOLESE HUTU REFUGEES IN EASTERN DRC IN 1996-1997
THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO:
PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS
Here is the original link:http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/intlrel/hfa46881.000/hfa46881_0f.htm
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
JULY 16, 1997
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
JAY KIM, California
STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio
MARSHALL ''MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
JOHN McHUGH, New York
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
LEE HAMILTON, Indiana
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
HOWARD BERMAN, California
GARY ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
PAT DANNER, Missouri
EARL HILLIARD, Alabama
WALTER CAPPS, California
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVE ROTHMAN, New Jersey
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
JIM DAVIS, Florida
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
LESTER MUNSON, Professional Staff Member
PARKER H. BRENT, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Thomas Pickering, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Department of State
The Honorable J. Brian Atwood, Administrator, Agency for International Development
Mr. James Woods, Vice President, Cohen & Woods International, Inc.
Dr. Jennifer Leaning, Consultant, Physicians for Human Rights
Dr. Marina Ottaway, Adjunct Professor, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
The Honorable Thomas Pickering
The Honorable J. Brian Wood
Mr. James Woods
Dr. Jennifer Leaning
Dr. Marina Ottaway
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, a Representative in Congress from New York, and Chairman, Committee on International Relations
The Honorable Robert Menendez, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
The Honorable Cynthia McKinney, a Representative in Congress from Georgia
The Honorable Christopher H. Smith, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Additional material submitted for the record:
THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 1997
House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:27 a.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman (chairman of the Committee), presiding.
Mr. HAMILTON [PRESIDING]. The Committee will come to order. Let me welcome Under Secretary Pickering and Administrator Atwood to the hearing on the Democratic Republic of Congo: Its Problems and its Prospects. That is the first panel. They will be followed by a second panel a little later on.
Mr. Secretary, Mr. Administrator, we are delighted to have you with us, and you may proceed. My understanding is you have to leave at what time?
Mr. PICKERING. At ten to twelve.
Chairman GILMAN. Ten to twelve?
Mr. PICKERING. To eleven. Excuse me, ten to eleven.
Chairman GILMAN. Ten to eleven. So we will go ahead with your testimony.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS PICKERING, UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. PICKERING. Thanks, Congressman Hamilton, very much. I was almost going to slip into saying Mr. Chairman. It is difficult not to say that from this particular vantage point. But it is a pleasure to be here. Thank you very much for inviting me to come.
Mr. PICKERING. We do not know anything about palace coups in the executive branch.
Chairman GILMAN. All right.
Mr. PICKERING. It is a pleasure to be here to speak to you about developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and about our policy toward this important African nation.
Let me begin by thanking the Committee for their understanding of my time constraints. In recognition of that, I want to make a few brief opening remarks, and would ask that my full written testimony be submitted for the record.
Congressman Hamilton and Members of the Committee, our policy is to encourage the Democratic Republic of the Congo to live up to its name in all of its respects. That is, to encourage it to permit the democratic expression of its peoples' will, to urge it to respect and defend the human rights of all of its residents, and to advocate that the government undertake the economic reforms necessary to ensure its citizens benefit from the Congo's wealth of mineral and natural resources. These same resources make Congo a potential source of growth for the continent and a valued trade and investment partner for the United States.
In pursuing these objectives, we are working closely with the United Nations, the international financial institutions, and with other concerned nations to advance our policy. We are heartened by the leadership which other African nations have shown in mediating the departure of President Mobutu and in counseling the current government. Our policy of promoting a democratic and prosperous Congo addresses regional objectives as well.
As you know, the Congo's neighbors include many nations which have been in the headlines in the last months, including Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Republic of Congo next door.
Following the start of the rebellion, we were the first Western Government to set up contact with the Alliance of Democratic Forces in October 1996, and used these links to press for humanitarian access to refugee populations. Throughout the conflict we were directly involved in mediation efforts between the Mobutu Government and the ADFL. Members of Congress, including distinguished Members of this Committee, played an important role in creating conditions for a soft landing when power changed hands in Kinshasa.
Events moved quickly during this period, but we preserved good relations with all sides, and ensured that we were in a position to work with the new Congolese leadership. We have made a conscious decision to continue this approach. This is the time when the new leadership will be making fundamental choices regarding the course of the post-Mobutu era, and we do not intend to stand aloof, but to remain engaged with them in this process.
With this in mind, we are considering a modest assistance program which AID Administrator Brian Atwood will describe for you shortly. We are also working closely with other donors and international financial institutions to develop a concerted approach. We have also made clear to the new government that our future relationship will depend on its progress in democratic reform, its respect for human rights, for public accountability and for free market economics. I personally underscored these points to Foreign Minister Karaha during our meeting last week. The new government has been in power less than 2 months, and it is too soon to reach definitive conclusions.
In that regard, we welcome U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's decision to send a U.N. human rights investigation team to the Congo. During his visit to the United States, Foreign Minister Karaha, as I noted, pledged his government's full cooperation with the investigators. We regret that the previous team mandated by the U.N. Human Rights Commission was not permitted entry. But in our view, the immediate priority is for an impartial investigation to get to the bottom of these very serious human rights charges. President Kabila promised to permit such an investigation and we intend to hold him to his word.
Members of the Committee, we will continue to watch developments in the Congo closely, focusing on the areas of concern which I have outlined. This is an important historical moment as the Congolese people begin to define the post-Mobutu era. We have an interest in seeing a successful transition leading to a stable, prosperous and democratic Congo. We hope to work with the new Congolese leaders to that end, but we have made clear that our willingness and ability to do so will be significantly enhanced if they take positive steps, particularly in democratic reforms and respect for human rights.
I know that Members of the Committee share these concerns, and we will want to consult with you closely as we proceed ahead.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pickering appears in the appendix.]
Mr. HAMILTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
There is much debate and concern about where President Kabila intends to take the Congo. I guess there is a sense here of wanting to support him because he overthrew Mobutu, and we all wanted to get rid of him. On the other hand, you emphasize in your statement that the new government has a mixed record. So I gather our policy is for the time being to give Mr. Kabila the benefit of the doubt, offer him $10 million, which we all recognize is a very modest sum of money in the circumstances, and to wait and see.
You say he has a mixed record. What has he done positively and what has he done negatively at this point?
Mr. PICKERING. The mixed record, I think, is important to keep in mind because it serves as a backdrop for the careful policy that we are pursuing which, as you carefully noted, mixes encouragement with what I would call benchmarks and baselines that we would like to see met.
Some of the developments which are encouraging are the fact that he has publicly announced a calendar for constitutional reform, and committed himself to have national elections by April 1999. The Cabinet and regional Governorships include political figures drawn from groups other than the Alliance of Democratic Forces. Some local and regional leaders have been chosen in ad hoc grass roots electoral formats. The government has endorsed free market economic policies. It is cooperating in its initial contacts with the international financial institutions. Private print media and Congolese nongovernmental organizations seem to be active. The new security forces are better disciplined and less corrupt than their predecessors. That was not a high standard to beat as we all know, but nevertheless that is a positive step.
Mr. HAMILTON. Is he establishing order in the country?
Mr. PICKERING. He has established order in Kinshasa after an initial period of difficulty. I think it is much less clear to us that order has been established elsewhere but it is interesting that in a number of the regions Governors have been appointed and appear to be functioning that do not come from his own group, but indeed from groups which are in opposition or not part of his own group, but which are popular locally.
Mr. HAMILTON. I would like you to do that.
Mr. PICKERING. Yes. The new government has——
Mr. HAMILTON. Give me the number one negative aspect; give them in some priority here. What is your deepest concern about this?
Mr. PICKERING. The deepest concern is obviously the life and health of refugees, with the second deepest concern being to get a full investigative report on the part of the United Nations of what has happened, and, well, the basis of that report to do all that we can to preserve the life and health of all the residents of the Congo.
Mr. HAMILTON. He has banned political activity, hasn't he?
Mr. PICKERING. He has, but political activity which at least he justifies as being banned because it has led or may lead to violence, and so it is not an absolute ban but a ban related, at least in his perception, to violent actions.
There have been, as you know, disturbing reports of summary executions by government security forces even in Kinshasa. Those were more current at the time when the so-called soft landing took place.
Mr. HAMILTON. Human rights remains a matter of very grave concern, is that correct, in general?
Mr. PICKERING. It is, and we have recent reports both from humanitarian organizations and from other sources that their access in key areas of Eastern Congo has been limited or is being limited as we speak.
Mr. HAMILTON. OK. Mr. Hastings.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And, Mr. Pickering, thank you so much for being with us.
I have a request that is unrelated to matters that are germane to this morning's hearing, and I would like very much, if at all possible, information with reference to any meetings that you have with people from Kenya. I read a report that you were to meet with officials from Kenya. I know that that is going to be an area that we are going to have to be concerned with at some point in the future. And to the extent that you can provide me, not yourself, Mr. Pickering, but a staffer to give me some briefing within the parameters allowed, I would appreciate it, with reference to what transpires with Kenya.
I had a very useful meeting with a permanent Secretary of the Kenyan Foreign Ministry yesterday. I was reassured that the government intends to try to deal with the emerging and very difficult situation in which we have seen so much violence in a helpful way. We will, of course, want to see the actions, and I would be delighted to put somebody in touch with you——
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank you.
Mr. PICKERING [continuing]. to try to give you briefing on that meeting.
Mr. HASTINGS. All right. More germane to this morning's hearings, I am curious, when we talk in terms of democratic reform and respect for human rights obviously that is correctly the policy of the United States and will continue to be.
But when I hear your testimony this morning regarding the U.N. investigation, which I agree should go forward, I am curious as to what time period insofar as the parameters that investigation should include. And I do not mean to mince words. The fact of the matter is that if it begins in 1996–97, and that period should be investigated, it would overturn certain things that I think we all are aware of. But if it were 1992 to 1997, or 1982 to 1997, then the United States stands in a somewhat culpable position of at least wanting to say that we participated in some of these activities.
So when are we going to be fair-minded and take that into consideration? No excuse for Kabila. No excuse for the massacres that we believe are going on now, but they did not just start is what I am getting at.
Mr. PICKERING. I understand, Mr. Hastings, that President Kabila and Secretary General Kofi Annan are working on a starting date in 1993, and they have our full support for this.
What role are they playing? Are they financing anybody? Is Tesha Kedhi connected to the French to the extent that I think he is? Or is all of what I am hearing that the French are just satisfied that everything is going honky-dory. I rather suspect that they are not.
Mr. PICKERING. I rather agree with you that they are not. On the other hand, I have seen no evidence that I can point to, Congressman Hastings, that would give me a feeling that they are in this particular stage anything but isolated; that the new government for its own reasons but in large measure I believe connected with the very open French continuing support of President Mobutu, if you could phrase it this way, until the last days of his presence, has taken umbrage at that and made quite clear that it is distancing itself from France.
Mr. HASTINGS. One final statement, and not a question. And that is that if we are going to want to assure that democracy takes root, then we have to take into consideration that these people are starting from ground zero.
That said, then USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, and a number of the related NGO programs are going to have to at some point be on the ground and be funded and hire the people therein the Democratic Republic of Congo that can assist in informing the public what an election is before we start demanding so much in the way of elections and the reforms that are attendant thereto. And I just offer that as a statement.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.
Chairman GILMAN [PRESIDING]. The gentleman's time has expired. I thank you.
I am pleased we had a Republican conference, but I regret that the Republicans are just winding up now and are on their way over, and I know your time is limited, Mr. Secretary, so we will try to be brief, and I will save my opening statement until after you leave.
Mr. PICKERING. I would say, Mr. Chairman, that that is a question with a lot of sub-clauses and qualifiers, and so let me explain my understanding of what we have done and we will, of course, try to provide you a fuller report to follow up my response.
We have over the last 3 years provided the Government of Rwanda and its military forces with very selective training to promote their consciousness of the laws of war, proper behavior with respect to civilian populations and a proper respect for humanitarian affairs.
If we have been successful in that training, that training has reduced rather than increased the possibility that Rwandan forces which may have been engaged in Congo had misbehaved. Certainly in no way do I believe that that training could have increased their possibility or propensity to commit any outrageous acts, if indeed it is clear from the U.N. investigative report that they did so participate as charges now show, but I would be very happy to ask the Defense Department to provide you a fuller report on the details of that training so that you have that.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. Secretary, the United Nations last week released their report documenting over 100 possible incidents of human rights atrocities in Eastern Congo.
How will this report affect our relations with Congo and the Government of Rwanda?
Mr. PICKERING. We believe that that report is only a precursor to the fuller report that we expect from the special mission that Secretary General Kofi Annan has told us he intends to send, and that President Kabila has assured us he will receive, to give a very broad look at what happened; that that report was done in a very short period of time, and therefore, in our view, needs to be amplified and fully reviewed by a team which can spend more time on the ground, visit more locations.
Chairman GILMAN. And, Mr. Secretary, I have one last question of you.
Mr. Secretary, last week former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Chet Crocker, testified before a Senate subcommittee in which he said, referring to U.S. policy toward the Congo, and I quote, ''Despite our rhetoric, there is no transitional framework to guide the Congo back to the road of constitutional legitimacy, no accountability of the excesses of the Alliance, no agreed international framework for engagement in getting this region back to its feet.''
Can you give us your reaction to this?
Mr. PICKERING. Yes. I have great respect for Chet and am a great admirer of his achievements, and I think there are pieces of his comment that I would say yes indeed are true, and that we are working to try to remedy, including the need for full accountability on the human rights atrocities, and the need through our consultations with both neighboring States and other States interested in the future of the Congo, to develop the kind of international framework which we could all believe would set the sort of standards that we ourselves have set, and the benchmarks that we ourselves have set for performance on the part of the Kabila Government to continue to warrant our continued backing and support, and, in addition, the sort of assistance program we would like to see develop step by step to encourage and support that.
This, I think, is part of what we have been engaged in over the last couple of months. The fact that we have not produced an instant international consortium or an instant U.N. investigation is troubling to me, but does not at this stage, I think, totally defeat our determination and purpose to make this happen.
Mr. PICKERING. Thanks, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for your kindness and consideration in excusing me at this point, and I look forward to being back with you whenever I can.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Chairman, before the Secretary leaves can we submit questions for the record to the Secretary because we have not had the opportunity to ask questions?
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, we will be submitting some questions. We welcome your early response.
Mr. PAYNE. I yielded too late because I had a series of questions that I wanted to ask Mr. Pickering.
Chairman GILMAN. Yes, if the gentleman would pause a moment, allow me to just put my opening statement on the record.
We appreciate Mr. Atwood being with us, the Administrator to the Agency for International Development, and as well as Secretary Pickering. And the focus of our hearing is on the problems and prospects of the Republic of Congo. We have heard numerous reports of human rights atrocities in Eastern Congo committed against innocent refugees, often women and children, and I am sure that we will hear another such report today from Dr. Jennifer Leaning of the Physicians for Human Rights, and we welcome her here.
These reports have been greatly distressing. They need to be investigated as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Those guilty of atrocities have to be brought to justice and should be punished. The governments in the region, particularly the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, need to cooperate more fully with the planned U.N. investigation.
Four years ago the Clinton Administration responded to another historic change in South Africa with strong engagement and significant foreign assistance. A bi-national commission, also known as the Gore-Mbeki Commission, was created. The President announced a 3-year $600-million development program for South Africa. A Southern Africa Enterprise Fund was created, expanded USIA, OPIC and Peace Corps programs were established, and that is the level of engagement that should be under consideration now with regard to Congo.
As of yet we have seen none of that. The Administration has announced an assistance program of only $10 million for the year. This is a paltry amount, and I hope the Administration has plans for a more significant program to meet the opportunity that faces us in Central Africa. Even if the Kabila Administration is not the one that ultimately leads the Congo into a new era, we are going to have to be prepared to take advantage of it at this opening. This Administration was able to respond to an opportunity in South Africa, and I hope that it is able to do so in Congo.
And I thank the gentleman for yielding. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I suppose I would just at this time, since Mr. Pickering is not here, and I did want to ask some questions, I guess we ought to yield back to Mr. Atwood who has not testified yet, and I will start my round of questions there. But I do want to——
Mr. PAYNE. Yes, that is exactly——
Chairman GILMAN. And then we will proceed.
Mr. PAYNE. I was listening to your statement about Mr. Crocker's assessment of the new government, and I wish he were here to testify because I would have asked him about the Mobutu policy that was under his leadership, and how that compares to 2 months with the new government, and also maybe even talk about the Liberian elections in 1985 that he certified as fair and free and constructive engagement in South Africa that was a total failure. But I will not do that since he is not here.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Payne.
Mr. Atwood, I understand your wife is traveling and you are the sole parent this week for young Michelle. I want you to know that in the future we can make any day that you testify ''Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.''
Chairman GILMAN. Michelle is more than welcome at any International Relations Committee function. We are, after all, strong supporters of the child survival program.
We welcome your testimony. Mr. Atwood.
STATEMENT OF J. BRIAN ATWOOD, ADMINISTRATOR, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. ATWOOD. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I am always impressed by the intelligence that you receive in the morning when you come to work. I try to read my intelligence reports as well, but thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here and to talk about this, and I am going to summarize my testimony very briefly, and describe our assistance programs.
This is a country that today has a per capita income of $120.00. It was close to $2,000 when Mobutu took office. Six percent of the population has access to sanitation. Less than 50 percent of its children are immunized against tuberculosis, polio and measles, and this country has some of the highest infant mortality and lowest life expectancy rates in the world. It is also a country that over many years has been corrupted to the core. I believe that there is still a very strong civil society. This is a country that I have often cited as one of those that today we would not be providing foreign aid to if it had the same type of government as Mobutu. But we did it for a variety of reasons. We did it to help people at the lowest level of society for humanitarian reasons, and we did it for cold war reasons. And today we do not have the cold war, and we therefore would not be making development investments in a country such as that.
But today what we have is an opportunity for this country, an opportunity with a new government, and I must say that what this country in transition is attempting to do is to overcome not only the recent civil war and the violence, but they are attempting also to overcome the legacy of the Mobutu regime.
Now, we have all been deeply disturbed by the reports of the killings, the lack of humanitarian access and the repression of opposition voices. Bringing a lasting transformation to this country now called the Democratic Republic of Congo will take a sea change in that nation's political culture.
One of our greatest concerns in the Congo today continues to be the human rights situation, and I am hopeful that the United Nations will be able to begin its investigation into alleged human rights abuses expeditiously. The progress of such an investigation will, of course, affect the structure and the depth of our assistance plans for the Congo. And I can assure you that we will not turn a blind eye to abuses by any party.
You recall only about a year ago there was an epidemic of a disease called ebola that occurred in this country, and it alarmed many Americans. That is only one of many infectious diseases that could affect Americans in the long run, and therefore we have to treat these problems at the source.
By any standard the Congo is at a turning point. The Clinton Administration believes that we must maximize the opportunities we face in the Democratic Republic of Congo while remaining clear-eyed about the tremendous obstacles we face. To not engage is to risk losing the opportunity to make a lasting difference. We are planning for the allocation, as you have heard, of approximately $10 million during fiscal 1997. One could call that a paltry amount, as the Chairman has indicated, or one could say that we are adopting a cautious approach. And I might say that when we find $10 million in our fiscal 1997 resources, we are finding it from other countries mostly in Africa, to address these problems. So our hope is that the benchmarks we have set for the government and for the transition will be met and that we will be able to come forward in fiscal 1998 with a more robust program.
Now, our assistance is directly contingent upon the policies and actions of this government. The choice is a simple one. If this government acts responsibly and as a good partner, we will support their efforts with direct and targeted assistance. If the government rejects the notion of open markets and open government, it will do so without the assistance of the United States.
We are committed to democratic reform, respect for human rights, and free markets, and President Kabila has committed his government to a transition to a democracy culminating in national elections in 1999. We plan to do everything in our power to help him get there, whether it means helping him to draft a constitution and promulgate it within the society, helping people to understand its requirements, or whether it is to help them with the election process in making sure that people understand the choices that are before them.
We also recognize the importance of restoring integrity to the justice sector, and are exploring ways to promote the rule of law.
Our initial engagement with officials in the new government has been and will continue to be cautious, but there are some very positive signs. The people at the regional level, in particular the regional Governors, local officials seem to be committed to overturning the corruption of the Mobutu era. They seem to be taking a new approach, and we want to encourage that.
State corruption, hyper-inflation and overall dismal management of the economy during the last decade of the Mobutu regime prevented the emergence of a strong formal private sector in the Congo. If the new government implements effective fiscal and monetary policies, then an early result should be the renewal of a strong formal private sector with both local and international private investment contributing to economic growth, and I cannot overestimate the potential of this country in terms of its natural resources, in terms of its potential to generate hydroelectric power, et cetera. This is not a country that will need a long-term foreign aid program. What it needs, I think, at this juncture is transitional assistance. And then if we can move into a longer-term program, what we need to find is the catalytic approach to help them generate the wealth and create the capital inside the country to solve their own problems.
The other part of this, of course, is our humanitarian assistance. We have provided something like $10.7 million this year of emergency food and disaster assistance of various types. We will continue that so long as that type of assistance is necessary, and I believe with, again, the strong support of the American people who always support these kinds of humanitarian efforts.
Now, our strategy: we will use regional centers in three key regions: the North Kivu area, the Katanga Province, and the Kasai area. Grant disbursements will likely begin in September for these regional projects. Activities would finance micro-projects such as repairing schools and water systems, small infrastructure rehabilitation, and technical assistance to regional authorities. The idea here is to help at the regional level, to create both reconciliation within the society if there are ethnic differences; to try to get some degree of economic activities started, again in these potentially rich areas, whether it is in the agriculture area or whatever; and to help create a civil society—I should say recreate that civil society. We believe that the potential is there and that this is the exact type of directed assistance that could help this country through its transition.
Let me just say, Mr. Chairman, that we are also working with other donors. This may seem a small amount of money, $10 million. In terms of the transitional needs we think we are targetting at exactly what those needs are, but we are working with other organizations, such as the World Bank, that has already had a team in Kinshasa talking to the government about how it would structure its economic policies. UNDP is prepared to send another team again to advise the government on economic policies. We do not feel that we have a need right now to work directly through the government and, of course, there are several prohibitions on the books that would prohibit us from doing that unless, of course, we waive those prohibitions.
This government is going to have to gain control of the countryside. This civilian government is going to have to gain control over its security forces. They are going to have to cooperate with the international community. We want them to be our partner and, of course, we want them to succeed.
So, I think our assistance program is a good one. We had a team out there for 5 weeks going all over the country trying to decide what would make the most important impact in a short period of time. We have had, of course, Ambassador Richardson's visit to Kinshasa as well. I think this is a well prepared transition program.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Atwood appears in the appendix.]
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Atwood.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much for that very comprehensive report, and I really appreciate the time and the thorough look that your agency is doing at this time.
I would just like to just say also in this whole area I think that I support a U.N. investigation in the Congo. I think that the Congo itself should have an investigation. They should have sort of a reconciliation kind of situation like you have in South Africa. I think you would have 32 years to talk about.
When I heard the statement that Mr. Crocker made that there are not instruments to move this back to democracy or into democracy, I missed a word, I was wondering when was the democracy. I just have a question with these very strict standards in a country that is less than 2 months old.
First of all, I think there should be investigations. I think that any wrongdoings should be accounted for and if possible, those people who did any wrongdoings should be brought to justice. That is just clear. I think that is what everyone wants, and therefore the chips need to fall where they may. But I think that it needs to go back to 1993.
I have heard more outcry about—even before an investigation has happened—about Eastern Zaire than I heard about the 500,000 to one million people that we killed in Rwanda when the United Nations withdrew rather than to go in to help; when it was a call for just having a protective corridor to keep people, women and children, out of the way of the militia that went around killing. We asked that that radio station, Milles Colline, be silenced because when the problem started, as you know, after the Arusha Accords had been agreed to, it was not a Hutu/Tutsi problem. It was those in power who happened to be primarily Hutus but some Rwandans, some Tutsis. It was not an ethnic situation initially, but people used it therefore into becoming an ethnic strife.
And so I think that we need to start there, and we need to look at the way that the world just would not respond until people had to come out of Uganda to save the other million from being exterminated.
I think that we need to find out what happened in the eastern part of the Congo. But by the same token, I think that we need to have a full investigation, and I think we need to then try to bring those people who must be held accountable to justice, and then move on with trying to develop this country.
I listened to the points that the Assistant Secretary, Ambassador Pickering mentioned, and the positive things that have happened so far I think have been very positive with the government there. They have got multi-parties in their Cabinet. As you know, I went with Mr. Campbell in January. We met with the Alliance Forces, including Mr. Kabila, and some of his Cabinet people. We went back a month or two ago, the day before he was installed as President. We have talked to and met with many of his Cabinet people. And so what I think is that we need to see if we can get the truth, and then take action on the truth of what happened, and then move forward to see if we can actually move this country toward a democratic society.
I think that 1999 is ambitious. I hope that we have the resources to put in to see that an election in 1999 can be pulled off because it seems very ambitious to me, but that is the date that he called for, and that is the date that we should shoot for, but there needs to be a tremendous amount of support, and I certainly support the plan that you seem to have outlined for immunization and other kinds of humanitarian efforts.
I really do not have any questions to you. I would have liked to ask questions to the previous speaker, but my time seems to have expired, so I will yield.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you for your testimony, Mr. Payne.
Mr. Smith has joined us and would like to do an opening statement, and then I will recognize Mr. Campbell.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I think other Members on our side of the aisle had the same problem that we had an election in our conference that just concluded, and I do regret that it precluded my being here to hear Mr. Pickering. And I do have a number of questions for him as well and which I guess we will have to submit for the record.
But I want to thank you for holding this hearing, and I agree with Mr. Payne that there was a great deal that Congress needs to know about the terrible situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Frankly, there is also a lot the Administration needs to know, and a lot that the Administration needs to explain. So I am disappointed that the Under Secretary did not stay long enough for many of us who would have liked to ask questions of him, and again we will have to submit those questions for the record.
On December 4 of last year, the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, which I chair, held a hearing on refugees in Eastern Zaire and Rwanda. At that hearing Mr. Hamilton told the Administration witness, and I quote, ''You acknowledge that we have got a humanitarian crisis there. What is holding up a firm, strong response to that crisis?''
Tragically, the distinguished gentleman from Indiana's question is just as relevant today as it was when he asked it, and it still has not been answered satisfactorily.
At the December hearing I myself stressed three important humanitarian concerns. First, refugees in what was then Eastern Zaire were dying and the forces of Kabila were not allowing international relief organizations to have access to them. I noted that the United States had been the strongest international backer of the Rwandan Government, which was closely allied with the Kabila forces. I therefore urged that we use our considerable leverage to secure immediate humanitarian access to the refugee populations in Eastern Zaire.
Second, refugees were still being sent back to places where they might be in danger of persecution. At the hearing I asked what steps were being taken to protect true refugees in Eastern Zaire, innocent people, noncombatants who did not want to return to Rwanda out of a reasonable fear for their personal safety. Not only have I not received a satisfactory answer to that query, I understand that the UNHCR cannot even adequately monitor the safety of many of the refugees who voluntarily returned to Rwanda, much less the thousands still dispersed throughout Eastern Congo.
Yet, the international community continues to send Rwandans back with insufficient attention to whether the return is genuinely voluntary or even as to whether it is safe. I am even informed that the U.S. military personnel have conducted psy-ops in Eastern Congo as part of an effort to convince Rwandan refugees to return home into what is effectively a war zone.
Third and most serious of all, there were already reports in December that innocent people were being massacred by the Tutsi-dominated rebel forces in Eastern Zaire, perhaps in revenge for the earlier massacres by the Hutus in Rwanda. I urged the Administration both at the hearing and in a personal letter to President Clinton a week later to use our close ties to the Government of Rwanda and our contacts with the Zairian rebels to insist that all attacks on civilians cease immediately and without exception.
Assistant Secretary Oakley admitted that we too have heard these stories of the massacres in Zairian territory, but in an excuse that we have heard countless times since Ambassador Richard Begosian stated, and I quote, ''We have not been able to confirm whether those allegations are true.'' This excuse of imperfect intelligence has been used by the Administration for far too long to deflect scrutiny of our allies, the Rwandan Government, and the allies of our allies, the new Government of the Congo.
Most important of all, when we were put on notice that the massacres might be happening, what did we do to investigate? What did we do to stop the killing?
The State Department and the Defense Department were aware of alleged massacres committed by the rebel forces in Zaire at least as early as our hearing last December. More recent information directly implicates the Government of Rwanda in grotesque human rights violations. According to the revelations in The Washington Post last week, not only were Rwandan troops involved in military actions in the former Zaire; the Rwandan Government planned in November 1996 action on the Mugunga refugee camp near Goma in an attempt to provoke the so-called voluntary repatriation of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
In addition, such violations apparently continue to this day. According to the Red Cross, two to three thousand civilians have been killed during the last 3 months as a result of the Rwandan army's counter-insurgency campaign. The killing of refugees in Eastern Congo also continues.
I also want to know what forms of U.S. assistance have been provided to the Government of Rwanda, and directly or indirectly, to the rebel forces that now control Congo, and why such assistance has not been explicitly conditioned on respect for basic human rights.
In December I asked the Administration whether we were providing any military assistance to the Rwandan Government and was assured that there was ''No substantial military assistance but only a small IMET program in Rwanda that deals almost exclusively with what you might call the human rights end of the spectrum as distinction from purely military operations.''
We cannot hope to build a lasting peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa so long as the perpetuation of ethnic violence is allowed to go unpunished. We must do everything we can to insist that the governments with whom we are allied and to whom we provide assistance respect fundamental human rights. At the very least the United States must not subsidize murderers of innocent men, women, and children.
Again, I look forward to the testimony and hopefully, Mr. Chairman, this will provide some valuable insights and will clear up these unanswered questions that I and others have.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Smith. The gentleman's time has expired.
I would like to recognize now the Ranking Member of our Africa Subcommittee, Mr. Menendez.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, I would ask in the interest of time unanimous consent that my full statement be made a part of the record.
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Menendez appears in the appendix.]
Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Administrator, I would have, along with my colleague, Mr. Payne, had a series of questions for the Assistant Secretary, and I know some of them are not necessarily with your purview, but I think that there are some that are, and particularly, I want to focus on the Eastern Congo.
My question is, what is it that we are facing in the context of Eastern Zaire, of getting humanitarian assistance? Earlier you referred to your reading of intelligence, are your reports such that they confirm or deny what this Committee will hear later and what we have read in various press reports?
Mr. ATWOOD. Mr. Menendez, we face an extremely serious situation in Eastern Congo, and many of the reports that you have heard, I believe, are accurate. There are areas of Eastern Congo that are not accessible by humanitarian organizations or by our DART team, our Disaster Assistance Response team, by the UNHCR. They have been put out of bounds.
I think we need, obviously, to understand what is going on in this region, but to understand it is not to excuse the kinds of activities that are being reported. No one can endorse this kind of thing, and we need desperately to get a full-fledged investigation of all that is going on so that we can hold people accountable.
Not only do we not excuse these kinds of violations, but we publicly criticize them, as I am now. We are doing everything in our power to bring some degree of peace and stability to this region.
We had a very effective DART operation in this region, helping the UNHCR to repatriate Rwandan citizens. For the most part, with the exception of the northwestern part of Rwanda, those people have been treated well in Rwanda, but there are, in the northwestern part of Rwanda, also reports of Hutu extremists who are killing humanitarian workers and Tutsis as well, and the situation has not stabilized. It is obviously the responsibility of the Rwandan Government to bring about peace and reconciliation and stability within its own borders, and we are encouraging them on a daily basis to do it.
There are also reports of groups of people who may never have been part of the Rwandan military who are apparently seeking revenge and retribution in both Rwanda and in the Eastern Congo. This is a fact. It is a situation that borders on anarchy.
As Secretary Pickering mentioned, Kabila seems to have control of his government in Kinshasa and certainly in some regions. Lubumbashi is one I would cite. He is well in control there and the civilians seem to be in control. There is some obvious concern about the lack of control over security forces that are under him, and we remind him that it is the responsibility of a sovereign government to bring his forces under control and to assure that foreign forces are not using his territory to seek revenge.
It is a very complicated situation. The government has been in power for only 2 months. We are obviously trying to do what we can to enable him to exercise the control that he should over his country. It is a very, very fragile transition, and certainly the reports of atrocities cannot all be inaccurate.
It seems to me that unless we focus our attention on that, not only will we find the wrongs of the past, but we will continue to live the wrongs of the present, and that is part of the focus that we have got to have here.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Administrator Atwood, it is a pleasure to have you here today.
On the immediate humanitarian needs, I am very concerned, $10 million is nothing, of the children needing immunization, potential starvation. I am going to just stop my question right here and, and I have one other line of inquiry but I would most like to use my 5 minutes telling me are we and are the world doing enough on the humanitarian side regarding starvation and risk of disease in the Congo? Let us just deal with that for a moment, put the political situation for a moment to one side.
Mr. ATWOOD. Mr. Campbell, I believe we are where we can do this work. There are, as I mentioned, three areas in the Eastern Congo that are out of bounds at this point. There seems to be military activity going on there, or they are simply keeping humanitarian workers out of those regions. But I want to make it clear that our contribution is part of a coordinated international contribution to the humanitarian problem. Both through the World Food Program and UNICEF and other organizations we are providing emergency assistance and food.
We are also, in terms of this immunization program that we are talking about, going to be working with the World Health Organization and UNICEF, and with other bilateral donors who are going to be contributing along with the Government of Congo to try to immunize the many children that are not immunized.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Let me ask a topical point. The appropriations bill for foreign OPS will be on the floor tomorrow. It is the right of any Member to try to move from one category of funds to another.
You know the Committee mark, the appropriations mark, the Subcommittee's mark. Is there an area that needs to be increased and perhaps could be taken from another? Maybe that is too difficult a question. How about an area that could be increased for the purpose of this crisis and people who are in need in the Congo? Is there an area in the Appropriations Committee mark that should be increased?
Mr. ATWOOD. Mr. Campbell, I am not going to get myself into trouble by answering your question directly. But I can say that in the fiscal 1998 bill there are adequate resources to move this $10 million program up considerably if the Government of the Congo responds on these benchmarks that we have set for them, which I think are reasonable.
So I am not going to complicate Mr. Callahan's problem tomorrow in getting this bill passed. If it does pass, it does have adequate resources, we believe, to respond to the situation.
Mr. CAMPBELL. OK. And the preconditions, I have read your testimony but I regret I was also at the Republican conference. I do not regret I was at the conference, but I regret that I missed your statement.
I would not like to have a political task get in the way of helping starving people.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Because they are not at fault.
Mr. ATWOOD. No.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Would you kindly, and with my apologies, repeat for me what your three preconditions are?
Mr. ATWOOD. Well, first is cooperation with the U.N. investigation; respect for human rights; and progress toward democracy and elections.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Well, suppose the new government does not cooperate. There are still starving children who might need help.
Mr. ATWOOD. I want to specify that the $10 million that we have identified as transitional assistance, which will not be going through the government but rather will be going through in some cases regional centers, in other cases through NGO's and international organizations, is considered different. Although there are humanitarian aspects of it, it is considered different than the humanitarian relief that we provide as a matter of course no matter what the political considerations.
Mr. CAMPBELL. And as to the additional money that may be possible to switch within the Callahan mark, in your judgment, in the Administration's judgment, does such a switch depend upon the political preconditions being met?
Mr. ATWOOD. If it is development assistance, it does depend on the political conditions being met. But there are adequate funds for humanitarian relief, emergency food and medicine, et cetera.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Thanks. Last, just in the second that I have left on the development side, which is your agency, do you think the Africa Development Fund is in a position to assist Congo at this time, and if not, do you expect it to be in the near future, the fund part?
Mr. CAMPBELL. I am sorry. With the Chairman's indulgence, my question was the Africa Development Fund, which is at $25 million.
Mr. ATWOOD. Oh.
Mr. CAMPBELL. The Administration's request is $50 million. My question was does any of that additional $25 million have opportunity to be beneficially spent in the Congo?
Mr. ATWOOD. They could, but I do not know what exactly their plans are. I will have to get that for the record for you, Mr. Campbell.
[Mr. Atwood's reply was submitted following the hearing.]
The African Development Fund provides development finance on concessional terms to the 39 poorest African nations. The President's request of $50 million will continue support for programs designed to reduce poverty and stabilize economies in these 39 countries. However, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DROC) does not qualify for fund assistance due to the country's large arrears situation. As part of the Fund's restructuring program in 1996, a rigorous new sanctions policy was adopted to address the problem of arrears. Under this policy, loans are suspended once a country has been in arrears for 30 days. As the largest debtor to the Bank Group, owing $459.96 million and $22.6 million to the Fund, the DROC is ineligible for additional lending until it clears its outstanding arrears. Since our annual meeting in May, we have begun working with the DROC, in cooperation with the World Bank and IMF, to ensure that it is on track to become eligible for new lending as soon as possible.
Mr. CAMPBELL. But you stand by the Administration's request for $50 million rather than $25 million for the Africa Development Fund?
Mr. ATWOOD. Yes, if that is the Administration's request. I stand by it.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Administrator for the work that you do, not just in Africa but all over the world, helping the people who are in need.
I have a question that goes to the depth of our relationship with the people of the new Democratic Republic of Congo.
Is not the relationship of the United States deeper than just the one report that will be done by the U.N. investigative team? And is it that our relationship with the government will be contingent upon the content of that report?
Mr. ATWOOD. Ms. McKinney, you clearly are an expert on this country, and I know you have been there recently, and we have discussed that.
The first step in this process is making sure that there can be a comprehensive report. In my view, that if this report is done from 1993 on and it is comprehensive, it will probably show individuals and groups and possibly foreign forces as culpable for some of the atrocities—my guess, personally.
It will also, I hope, show all of the mitigating factors. We talk about the Rwandan military going into this region. Nobody likes the reports that we read. They certainly should be held accountable if indeed some of these reports are accurate. Nonetheless, this is a country that did experience genocide a few years ago, and there are many people who are bound to seek retribution for what happened. Many people in Rwanda do not believe the international community was very sympathetic, even after the genocide. They criticize the international tribunal for not doing enough, for example, to bring people to justice. And I question again, as I did in the case of Mr. Kabila, whether all of these forces are 24 hours a day under the control that they ought to be; whether they are exercising the discipline. That was part of the reason for our expanded IMET program, to try to make sure people understood how they should conduct themselves. But many of the people in the Rwandan military had suffered the killings of their entire families. One cannot imagine sitting here what it was like to experience this genocide. That is, I think, a mitigating factor, but it does not excuse genocide in retribution for genocide, and we must stop this cycle of violence and that is why I think we have every obligation to hold everyone to the highest international standards on these matters.
Does the United States itself intend to, or expect to be included in this U.N. report inasmuch as the plot to assassinate Patrice Lulumba began with the United States and the imposition of Mobutu on to the people of Congo was something that was done by the Government of the United States? Does it not at least seem that we should not have the arrogance with which we speak sometimes about democracy and what other people have done? When are we going to include ourselves in some of the culpability?
Mr. ATWOOD. Ms. McKinney, you know a lot of things happened during the cold war. I believe that the United States in its authorship and its leadership in the drawing up of the human rights covenants of the U.N. charter and its own constitution, as it eventually was amended I might add, stands for the highest principles, human rights principles, civil rights principles, and we must hold ourselves accountable for any problems that we have created in that regard.
But I think we pursue these investigations with all due humility, and that this is something that the international community is undertaking, not just the United States.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Mr. BALLENGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good to see you again, sir, and I am sorry, I apologize as with all the Republicans, for not being here at the beginning.
Just in your past experience and in my past experience money that flows to especially new governments that are not very stable, and I guess we are talking about $25 million, is the money itself that is available through your organization if they meet the standards that we request, is that money going to be automatically dealt through the government itself, NGO's? I just have more trust in NGO's than I do in governments. Excuse me.
We do not plan at this juncture to send any of the money through the government. However, if the benchmarks are met, we clearly would consult up here first and then would proceed to work with the government at some stage. Again, all moving toward what we want to see accomplished here—a democratic government that respects human rights and works toward a market economy.
Mr. BALLENGER. This may be a little bit out in left field, but if the billions of dollars that Mobutu had secreted all over the world are—I do not know, in Switzerland, other governments have seized the money that he had stolen.
Is there any likelihood that that money could come back and assist, or is that third government—I am completely lacking in knowledge on this whole thing. Is that money going to come—if it is sent back, does it go to the government? How does it work, if you know?
Mr. ATWOOD. Well, it is a complicated question, and believe me, there are studies underway to determine whether or not it is possible under international law to gain access to that money. It is something that I think that the current Government of the Congo needs to focus on. If indeed this money was obtained illegally, then they have the right, the sovereign right to take up this issue as occurred, for example, after Marcos left the Philippines, and I assume that something like that may occur.
Mr. BALLENGER. Thank you. Again, I have no more questions, Mr. Chairman, and I apologize for missing as much as I did.
Chairman GILMAN. Well, thank you, Mr. Ballenger. You were not alone in being missing as a result of the Republican conference.
Mr. CAPPS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize that I missed the testimony, but not because of a Republican conference.
We had a delegation from the Congo here last week, and I have to say that I have almost been preoccupied in thinking about the testimony that they gave us because it seemed to run in two directions simultaneously. That is, there were on the part of we who were interrogating them, there was great concern for human rights abuses, as there should be, but on their part the testimony that I heard that I think they stressed was they do not even have telephones in the Congo. They do not have roads. We are talking about human rights. We are talking about the need for democracy, for democratic elections. They do not even have a government actually. I mean, it is so sort of embryonic, so fragile, and I do not know quite what to do with that.
I read your papers with great interest, and it is an excellent paper, and I see in the end of it of what our choice is. There is a fragile government. They have widespread health problems. There have been cycles of violence. There has been political oppression in the past, and yet the humanitarian concerns are real and are vivid. I think we are prepared to move ahead with those so long as, as you put it, the government does not back pedal on its promises.
I think I would like to hear one more time, what are those promises, and what do they have to do to maintain their part of this sort of covenant to us so that we can do what any sort of collective humane consciousness would say that we ought to be doing?
Mr. ATWOOD. Mr. Capps, they are obviously preoccupied with trying to consolidate their power and begin the process of governing. They have some very impressive ministers. We have been impressed by some of the ministers, but it is not exactly a deep bench, if you will. And there is a lot of talk by the World Bank and others of getting some of the Congolese ex-patriots back to help them, and others to help them. The South African Government is very concerned, and that should give you an indication of how important this country is.
But their promises relate to their respect for human rights. Many of the people in this government were critical of Mobutu for years for violations of human rights, and so therefore we believe that most of them are sincere about this.
The other question is whether they will cooperate with the United Nations in investigating these atrocities. Again, we want to hold them to their word on that. They have promised elections in 2 years. Again, as Mr. Payne indicated, that is an ambitious timeframe in light of the fragility of the current transition, and we hope that we can help them with that. They obviously want to promulgate a constitution as well. These are the kinds of things that we will try to help them with as long as they keep moving in that direction.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Administrator Atwood, the Africa Subcommittee has spent considerable time looking at the situation in Congo. This May I led a congressional delegation to Africa, and Mr. Menendez and Mr. Hastings on this Committee were with me at the time. During our trip the delegation met with Congo President, Laurent Kabila. We also visited Kinshasa, and met with the President's representative, his special envoy to the Great Lakes region, and Mr. Howard Wolpe, who is with us today (former Africa Subcommittee chairman). I just wanted to acknowledge his presence, and thank him for his good work.
Mr. Kabila was very gracious in our meeting, and he said what we wanted to hear. Still, his government is just getting established. We have no idea what its capacity is to take advantage of help we provide. The country that Mr. Kabila inherited from the Mobutu regime is in dire financial straits with very limited infrastructure. I will just mention that we met with the Minister of Infrastructure and he said none of the phones work, and the post office is nonexistent. That is the legacy they have been left by the Mobutu regime.
As we have all heard, there are serious questions about the complicity of President Kabila's military forces in the massacres of Rwandan refugees. One U.N. report lays the blame for the killings squarely at ADFL's door, but a more comprehensive investigation lies ahead.
I would suggest that we continue our current course of dialog with the Kabila Government to determine what its short-term and long-term goals are and how they intend to achieve those goals. It should become evident soon whether they are moving in the right direction toward a transparent government, with an open market and multi-party democracy or whether we have another disaster developing in this Central African giant.
And I would ask you, Administrator Atwood, how much confidence do you place in the reconstruction proposals submitted by the Kabila Government given its lack of size and experience, and the tremendous challenges it faces?
Mr. ATWOOD. Let me answer the question this way. We do not have specific proposals for reconstruction yet. This is a government that is still forming and attempting to seek advice as to how to proceed. We have had a lot of discussions with the Finance Minister who has also met with the World Bank. We believe that he is asking the right questions and certainly their intent is to create a market economy.
They understand the great wealth that their country has potentially, and they need to find a way to an economic system that works to exploit that wealth.
They understand also the tremendous humanitarian problem they have in their country, and they want to show, again through the health ministry, to the people of the country that they care about their children, in particular, but about the health problems the country faces.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Minister Wolpe.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Royce.
Mr. PAYNE. Thanks.
Mr. Atwood, are there any provisions for policing, for creating of a police department?
As you know, their military, or armies cannot—and should not serve as police, and I think that was one of the considerations when the banning of demonstrations were originally called. There is no police. There is no security. Do we have any plans to have a police department?
And second, what about the judiciary? Those things have to go hand in hand if you are going to move to a civil society. Do we have any plans to deal with trying to build a local and a Federal judiciary through AID?
Mr. ATWOOD. Mr. Payne, when Ambassador Richardson was there we had discussions with them about their justice system, and about their police system. We do not have any specific plans at this point, but, again, this is an area that we know is urgent for them to establish these institutions. They need a rule of law society. They know it. We have seen actually the guidance that their regional officials have been receiving. They clearly want to establish that kind of a society, at least most of the civilians that are in the lead.
So this is an area of assistance as we have seen in places like Haiti, that is really essential if the transition is going to succeed. But we have not made any decisions about whether we would be helpful in this area or whether it would be another bilateral donor or the United Nations or whatever. We clearly know, however, this is an area that they must address and address soon.
We went to facilities where mothers just die of AIDS with their children. I mean, they just let them go into a warehouse so they would not be on the street, and would sort of administer some very basic water and things, milk for the child.
Is there any comprehensive plan that you are thinking about at least trying to start a national health system there?
Mr. ATWOOD. Mr. Payne, we have been very impressed by the Health Minister, and he is in the process of trying to develop a comprehensive plan. We think that through this immunization program that we can recreate some of the institutions that existed when, at least with the civil society within the NGO community before the health system was basically ruined during the Mobutu regime. And a lot of those people had been recipients of aid previously. And so therefore there is the core of a system that can be resurrected.
We will make a contribution toward resurrecting the health system, but there is not a comprehensive plan. There is one in the works, however.
Mr. PAYNE. I will conclude by saying that I too have been impressed by a number of the ministers that I have met and several of the new ministers there. As a matter of fact, the Minister of Finance seemed to be really a competent person, a professor from the University of Kentucky. His only concern was about Kentucky—at that time Kentucky lost the NCAA championship, but we talked about that.
But thank you again, Mr. Atwood, for your testimony.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I understanding Acting Assistant Secretary Twaddell will be willing to answer some questions. If he would come to the microphone, and identify himself for the record.
Chairman GILMAN. Would you please for the record state your name and title, Mr. Twaddell.
Mr. TWADDELL. Thank you very much. My name is Bill Twaddell. I am the Acting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Department of State.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for being willing to answer some questions, and additional questions will be submitted for the record.
I would just like to ask you, Defense Minister General Kagame gave many public warnings that he was prepared to take the matter of the camps into his own hands.
Can you tell us what message the United States conveyed in response to this threat? And did the United States at any time attempt to dissuade the Government of Rwanda from attacking the refugee camps or otherwise engaging in military operations in Zaire?
Mr. TWADDELL. Approximately a year ago, there was growing concern not only in the sub-region of Central Africa but among many of the care providers that were dealing with the refugee camps in the Kivus abutting not only Rwanda, but Burundi as well as Uganda, concerning the refugee camps and the fact that they were used as staging points for attacks into those three neighboring States.
I make the comment that this was of concern to those countries as well as to the international community because there was a mixture of the former genocidists, the ex-FAR, the former armed forces of Rwanda, as well as the Interahamwe, in these camps, as well as clearly a greater number of legitimate refugees.
We were concerned with this. We were stymied. We were, I think, frankly, without a very clear way in which to proceed. The intermixing of legitimate refugees and those who still bore arms and still had this dreadful legacy of genocide on their record posed very, very serious humanitarian and legal dilemmas for us.
We urged Mr. Kagame, as we urged those in the UNHCR in Geneva, as well as others dealing with them, to try to find ways in which to resolve this situation.
The events that precipitated what has since been called the rebellion may have had their origins to some degree in those refugee camps. They also certainly had their origins in the situation in the Eastern Kivus where Tutsis of longstanding residence in Zaire were being challenged on their nationality. In some cases told directly by the then Zairian authorities that they were going to be dispossessed of their nationality. And it was that spark that initiated the rebellion in South Kivus.
At that point there, I would not say was a concerted or a massive or an orchestrated uprising of those interested in the stability and the instability as seen from those three capitals to the east with the situation, but the confrontation was initiated in South Kivus by the Bauyamelenge against the forces of the then Mobutu regime. And as we all know, and is history over the last eight or 9 months spread very rapidly to North Kivus, throughout the Kivus and then in a westerly direction.
Mr. SMITH. Did General Kagame respond to us in writing, or verbally? What was the response when we raised these issues, and who raised them, and where and when?
Mr. TWADDELL. Oh, I think in a number of contacts it was raised verbally. I am not sure it was ever raised in writing. But it was acknowledged that there was a severe problem there that was upsetting to us as well as to obviously those neighboring countries.
Mr. SMITH. Did any of our people have an inkling that that was a possibility because those issues were raised by our Subcommittee and by many in the international community last year who stated that this was a possibility, maybe even a probability, and was perhaps even going on at the time?
Mr. TWADDELL. I am going back roughly a year ago, which is when I think Defense Minister Kagame was here in Washington. And at that point, as I say, I do not believe anyone was confronted or raised the issue with Kagame, or had Kagame come to us, let me put it that way, and say that he was going to go in guns blazing and clear out those camps.
We registered our concern. We said that this should be dealt with in a way that addressed the legitimate humanitarian needs.
Mr. ATWOOD. Mr. Smith, I had a meeting with Kagame maybe a year and a half ago or so when he and his President expressed grave concern about the camps and that they were being used to attack his country; that there were cross-border incursions and people were being killed and the like.
As I left that meeting, obviously they were making an appeal to the United States, but also to the international community to do something about these camps.
We began working at that point, as did the UNHCR, on whether or not we could move these camps away from the borders. We had, I think, at one point three plans. The United States had a plan, the European Union had a plan, the UNHCR had a plan. This was just before the Bauyamelenge uprising when the problem took care of itself, obviously, and at that point we were talking about putting military force, a peacekeeping force in there to try to keep the peace in Eastern Zaire.
I left, frankly, that meeting with Kagame with the impression, although he never said it, that if the international community does not do something about this problem ... Do not forget, these camps were put very close to the border. They usually have a guideline that they are 40 miles at least away from a border such as this. But with a million people coming out in 3 days, there was not a lot of alternative here, and so they were established in the Goma area. So this was clearly a security concern for the Government of Rwanda.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be brief.
I would just like to remind the administrator and Mr. Twaddell and those others who are here to speak on behalf of the U.S. Government, to people around the world, that the cold war really is no excuse for what we did to the people of that area. And I noticed when you even uttered your response, you lowered your head.
We really do not have much moral standing here, and we need to rehabilitate ourselves in the eyes of the people of that region, and we need to rehabilitate ourselves for our own good. One way we can do that is by acknowledging that we do not know everything, and that our way is not always the best way and it is not always the appropriate way.
As an African-American who has struggled since the day I was sworn in to retain my ability to represent people in the State of Georgia, the rights of minorities are on the line in this country. I think it is appropriate that we fight to protect the notion of democracy and to protect the rights of minorities around the world, but we also need to acknowledge that we do not have all the answers.
If we would do that for a change rather than assuming the position that we do have the answers, I think it would go a long way in elevating our moral standard. That is my comment.
Chairman GILMAN. I thank the gentlelady for her statement.
I would like to recognize that we have a former Member who is here with us, Howard Wolpe, now special envoy at the Department of State, and we welcome you back to our Committee once again, Howard. We hope one day you might want to come back and join us on this side of the table.
I see you are shaking your head no.
I regret that I have another hearing that I have to go to, and I am going to ask one of our senior Members, Mr. Smith, if he would be kind enough to assume the chair.
Before that I would like to thank our panelists, and particularly Mr. Atwood, Mr. Pickering, Mr. Twaddell. I know we have another panel of James Woods and Dr. Leaning and Dr. Marina Ottaway. I particularly want to welcome Dr. Ottaway who represents part of the family from my own constituency, and we welcome Dr. Ottaway here along with our other panelists. We welcome all of you for giving your time.
Just one question that I have and then I have to be on my way and turn the gavel over to Mr. Smith.
Mr. Twaddell, have you read the Physicians Human Rights report?
Mr. TWADDELL. I regret that I have not read the full one. I saw a couple of paragraphs that were cited.
Chairman GILMAN. Well, I hope after you read it that we welcome having a written reaction from you with regard to it.
Mr. Campbell, did you have a comment?
Mr. CAMPBELL. I did if you do not mind. I just have one quick further before we lose the panel, and that was regarding whether a waiver of the Brooke Amendment might be needed.
If we are dealing with the question of forgiveness of debt, and I know the IMF is involved in this as well, will the Administration be coming forward with a request that you can enlighten us on regarding a waiver of the Brooke Amendment?
Mr. ATWOOD. Mr. Campbell, if we want to channel any of these funds through the government, we would have to have a waiver of the Brooke Amendment, that is right. There are arrears that are very significant.
Mr. ATWOOD. Not at present. We are working primarily with NGO's and regional——
Mr. CAMPBELL. And last, when Congressman Payne and I were speaking with the Finance Minister he spoke then of an imminent meeting with IMF. I wonder if you have any information you could share with us about how the negotiations between the new Government of Congo and IMF are going.
Mr. ATWOOD. I do not have an updated report. I have simply a report from a World Bank official, Mr. Madavo, that basically said that they were listening more than talking or negotiating with them at that stage.
Mr. CAMPBELL. I will pause. You appear to be getting some advice. I would be happy to pause for you.
Mr. ATWOOD. I am told that the IMF is going in in a few days, so they have not yet been engaged in that of——
Mr. CAMPBELL. And there is no agreement yet with World Bank either?
Mr. ATWOOD. No.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you. I just needed to have that information for my own sake, and I am sure for others, but just speaking on my own behalf. That would be essential and I urge you to do all we can to get the IMF understanding quickly. I think it would give some assurance to what we might do here.
Thank you. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Just to my colleague, Mr. Campbell. We had report language put in asking that we be on un-Brooked in the House Committee here, so that is going through. It has to be concurred by the Senate, but I did have an amendment that we be on un-Brooked. It has not yet been completed because the Senate will have to approve it, and then the entire bill.
Mr. PAYNE. Yes.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Pardon me. Is that in report language or is that in the bill?
Mr. PAYNE. It is actually in the bill.
Mr. CAMPBELL. In the appropriation bill or the authorizing?
Mr. PAYNE. The authorizing bill.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Oh, great. Good work. Thanks.
Mr. PAYNE. All right.
Mr. SMITH. Just some additional questions and some of the other Members might have some followups. I was wondering, Mr. Twaddell, if you could just tell us, you mentioned earlier some of the oral statements that have been made to General Kagame.
Could you reconstruct for the Committee, either now or perhaps when you go back to the office, when and where those conveyances of our feelings were made to the Defense Minister and to the Rwandan Government?
Mr. TWADDELL. I would prefer to do that, obviously, with the access to the full record.
[Mr. Twaddell's answer was supplied following the hearing and appears in the appendix on page 124.]
Mr. SMITH. Could you also provide the Committee all available information dating back to October 1996 about the involvement of the RPA in the Zaire/Congo conflict? In particular, the Committee would like to be informed on how many Rwandan soldiers remain on Congolese soil and the role that they are playing with regard to attacks upon Rwandan refugees, Zairian civilians, as well as restrictions on access that they are imposing on nongovernmental organizations.
[Mr. Twaddell's answer was supplied following the hearing and appears in the appendix on page 126.]
Mr. SMITH. I would appreciate that.
I read through, and I know you have read it as well, and we all saw it in The Post recently, the testimony by Dr. Jennifer Leaning of Physicians for Human Rights, who will be testifying in a moment. There are a number of principal findings, and I will not go through them all, but I would just like to ask you to ascertain whether you believe these to be accurate or inaccurate.
The first principal finding is that the killing of Rwandan refugees in Congo continues, with Rwandan soldiers often identified as perpetrators. Rwandan soldiers are also implicated in the killing of Congolese villagers in Eastern Congo.
Is that accurate or inaccurate?
Mr. TWADDELL. I do not have any specific particular information to confirm that. I think it would fit in with certain patterns that we fear may be true.
Mr. SMITH. There is another finding that the civil war in Western—could you get back to us with a further elaboration of whether or not you think that is an accurate assessment?
Mr. TWADDELL. I would be happy to.
[Mr. Twaddell's answer was supplied following the hearing and appears in the appendix on page 129.]
The civil war in Western Rwanda has had catastrophic consequences for human rights as well, with at least two to three thousand civilians killed by Rwandan army's counter-insurgency campaign in the last 3 months alone.
Is that accurate or inaccurate?
[Mr. Twaddell's answer was supplied following the hearing and appears in the appendix on page 131.]
Mr. SMITH. What has been our response to the counter-insurgency campaign?
Mr. TWADDELL. Excuse me? To the counter——
Mr. SMITH. To the Rwandan counter-insurgency campaign, what have we conveyed to the Rwandan——
Mr. TWADDELL. I would like to back up. I was referring to accounts that related to alliance forces in Western Zaire that were, according to the press, related to Rwandans or Tutsis that took place in Mondaca about 2 or 3 months ago. And with regard to those, we have raised with the Government in Kinshasa our deep distress if they are substantiated, if these press reports are substantiated.
Mr. SMITH. What is being done to substantiate them? What kind of investigation?
Mr. TWADDELL. Well, this is the——
Mr. SMITH. Besides the potential U.N. investigation?
Mr. TWADDELL. Obviously, the United Nations and the investigative team is key. Mondaca is quite remote. It is up along the border with Central African Republic and Congo, Brazzaville. It is in the deep bush.
Mr. SMITH. One of their findings is that the United States is providing counter-insurgency training to the Rwandan army which is engaged in carrying out atrocities in the region. They published the serious question that needs to be asked as to whether the United States is therefore implicated in these atrocities.
Mr. SMITH. Is there any implication of our complicity directly or indirectly as a result, as a consequence of our training?
Mr. TWADDELL. Our complicity?
Mr. SMITH. Yes.
Mr. TWADDELL. No, I would say not. As Under Secretary Pickering said, the thrust of our military training over the last 3 years since the RPA came into being has been in those areas that we think go directly to concerns about the comportment of soldiers, and those are areas of military justice, the rules of war according to international convention, and the role of the army in democratic society. These are the sum and total of the courses that our military is engaged in.
[Mr. Twaddell's answer was supplied following the hearing and appears on page 133.]
Mr. SMITH. Dr. Leaning points out, on page 5 of her testimony that, ''In our discussion,'' and that is her site team, which included herself, ''at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda we were alarmed by a remarkable lack of concern over reports of human rights violations in Western Rwanda and Eastern Congo. Incredibly,'' she goes on to say, ''the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali defied the team to produce evidence of serious violations of human rights in Burundi or Congo.''
Is that your perspective as well?
Mr. TWADDELL. I was not present at the encounter that she is describing. I would say that our staff in Kigali, as our staff elsewhere in the region, has taken all allegations and documentation of human rights violations extremely seriously. We have been aggressive at that mission as well as elsewhere in pursuing those.
We had our hearing last December because we got a flood of reports from human rights and refugee organizations who were concerned first that this very thing was going to happen and was happening. And second, in terms of the Rwandan complicity in killing people in camps, they were convinced that we were not doing what we could do to negotiate, in their view, access to the refugees, this very vulnerable population; that there was a blasé mindset on the part of some of our embassy personnel, just, you know, show us, and that somehow we were raising a red flag where none really existed.
And again when we had our hearing, the very things that have happened were raised, and Mr. Payne raised the identical questions that I raised at that hearing in terms of those issues, and we kept getting assured that we would have access in a couple of days. And those couple of days never materialized, unfortunately.
Mr. TWADDELL. Access to the refugee population throughout this very difficult period was our primary objective. We pushed on that theme wherever we thought it could have some positive impact, and that was certainly in those capitals as well as the United Nations in New York and Geneva.
With regard, again, to a blasé attitude, it does not describe what I know to be the attitude of my colleagues in the land in which they have conducted their professional duties in those posts.
[Mr. Twaddell's answer was supplied following the hearing and appears on page 161.]
Mr. SMITH. One of the findings of the physicians report is that repatriation of Rwandan refugees by UNHCR from Congo to Western Rwanda is tantamount to sending them back to a war zone.
Mr. TWADDELL. The repatriation of something on the order of seven or eight hundred thousand citizens from eastern Zaire back to Rwanda has taken place with remarkable efficiency, and I would say with unfortunate, but very regrettable, a minimum of the feared atrocities carried out against those returning refugees.
I would defer to my colleague, the AID Administrator, who knows the situation of the programs in Rwanda.
Mr. ATWOOD. I would only say that on the question of whether or not this was voluntary repatriation, according to UNHCR they made it clear that this was not a forced repatriation.
[Mr. Atwood's reply was submitted following the hearing.]
UNHCR felt that due to civil strife in eastern Zaire (now Congo), it was safer for refugees to return to Rwanda than to remain in place. Many individuals, of course, were very sick and given safe haven and time to recover before they were evacuated from Eastern Congo.
And I understand the concern about forced repatriation, but according to UNHCR, whom we depend on to do these things and they care deeply about this whole issue of volunteerism, this was not a forced repatriation.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Atwood, were the options discussed with the potential returnees as to what they might opt for? I mean, were they told what else was out there?
Mr. ATWOOD. Well, I think I would ask to provide for the record what procedures the UNHCR used in this repatriation. I think that is a good question.
Mr. ATWOOD. Well, I mean, the question——
Mr. SMITH. Were there interviews?
Mr. ATWOOD. I am sure that in some cases they were. I do not know that in all cases they were. I mean, there was obviously a desire to get people out of this war zone and back into what we consider to be a safe area, and for the most part was.
Now, obviously there have been some killings in Northwest Rwanda that have caused the Rwandan military to respond to try to bring about security in that region, and that has been a problematic area of Rwanda. But the rest of Rwanda we believe that people have been treated very well. There was an effort to treat them well in Northwest Rwanda as well.
Mr. SMITH. What assurances has the United States requested and received that the military aid and training as provided to Rwanda were not used in Congo?
Mr. TWADDELL. I would come back to the point that these were classroom training sessions on those issues of comportment, professionalism, the attitude of the military toward the civilian government. I would hope that translates into events in Congo in a positive way. If, in fact, the Rwandans were present on the ground in serious numbers, and did play a significant role in the events of the so-called rebellion, I would hope that, although that was not our wish or what we would have approved, that the behavior of the individual and collective soldiers of Rwanda would have been a mitigating factor in any kinds of concerns of human rights and other things.
Mr. SMITH. Has the United States asked the Rwandan army to pull out of the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Mr. TWADDELL. We have indeed.
Mr. SMITH. And what has been the response?
We have repeatedly told Mr. Kagame, as well as the leaders in other neighboring countries who had forces on the ground in former Zaire, that it was not in their interests and not in the interest of the region that they be present on the ground.
Mr. SMITH. I thank you both for your testimony, and the Committee does have further questions it would like to ask, but I do appreciate your testimony, and the rest of the Committee does as well. Thank you.
I would like to invite our second panel of witnesses to the table, and in the order that they will present their testimony.
Mr. James Woods is vice president of a consulting firm, Cohen & Woods International, specializing in African affairs. He currently is also senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, African Studies Program. From 1960 to 1994, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and from 1979 was the Secretary's primary advisor on crises in programs in sub-Saharan Africa. He retired in 1994 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs.
Dr. Jennifer Leaning is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and is before us today in her capacity as consultant for Physicians for Human Rights. She is also co-director of the Program on Human Security at Harvard Center for Population Development Studies. She is editor-in-chief of Medicine and Global Survival, a quarterly publication that addresses issues of war, disaster and the environment from the perspective of public health. She is a member of numerous distinguished boards. Dr. Leaning received her medical degree from the University of Chicago.
Mr. Woods, if you could begin your testimony.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Mr. Smith, before Mr. Woods begins I would like to ask unanimous consent that my opening statement be submitted for the record.
Mr. SMITH. Without objection your opening statement will be made a part of the record.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. McKinney appears in the appendix.]
STATEMENT OF JAMES L. WOODS, VICE PRESIDENT, COHEN & WOODS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Mr. WOODS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to testify on a subject which is both so important and so timely and where perhaps there is a chance of actually having some impact on a situation which is very fluid in a policy which is so fluid as to be transparent, frankly.
I have submitted a brief written statement of four pages, which I ask be included in the record, but I will make some other points in my verbal statement. In fact, I modified my thoughts a good bit. This has been a very interesting hearing, and I think probably the witnesses are getting as much or more out of it than the representatives.
My plea, as you will see in the points, is for a bit of strategic coherence and a bit of perspective. I would think we ought to be thinking a little more about the fact that this operation has removed the Mobutu regime and created a new opportunity, and that we are getting entirely bogged down too much in—not trivia, but in issues which are only a part of the problem and only a part of the opportunity, if we can correct them. Let me be more specific.
Southern Africa has South Africa to play that role, and we are working actively to support them. The new Democratic Republic of Congo will play that role, or perhaps it will fail to play that role, in Central Africa. If we want to stop the spread of the bloody disorder which is still ongoing and set the stage for renewed growth in Central Africa, we need to help this new government get on the right path.
Second, we need to get both focus and balance, and I think more realism into our expectations and demands for this new government. This is an utterly inexperienced government with mostly utterly inexperienced ministers. It is extremely thin in personnel resources, and it has almost no money to work with. Its writ does not run wide and deep in the country. We talk about Mr. Kabila's army, Mr. Kabila's control. Mr. Kabila had no army and I think he barely has one at this point. He is trying to build one. I do not think he has any effective control over large parts of the country, certainly not the east.
The immediate concerns of this new government and its priorities therefore do not match our own. Its priorities are focused on survival and security. So far the international community, in my opinion, has not been very helpful. It has instead focused on what are very real abuses and very real failures, and in increasing demands for correction. I think this approach is unfair, lacking in balance, unrealistic, and will get bad results.
I say, cut Mr. Kabila and his ministers some slack. Engage, try to work with them for a reasonable period. I would say 6 months is a reasonable test period. In this I would emphasize we would be following the lead of most of Congo's neighbors, led by South Africa. They have opted for a policy of vigorous engagement and practical assistance within their means. I suggest that we seriously consider for once following the African lead.
I think it is time, whether it is AID or DOD, to stop the endless process of planning and the endless monitoring of the DROC's obviously political failure, and get on with a program of useful assistance. In the case of AID, I think that should include a true development component, which I so far find entirely lacking in the AID presentation; and, yes, I do find that $10 million offer pathetic, not because AID has made it but because it shows the lack of seriousness of the United States, and for that matter the international community, in really doing anything about this crisis.
On the military side, I would suggest an immediate expansion of our defense attache office, which is now one person, and give them an airplane so they and our ambassador, and for that matter Mr. Kabila, can get around the country and find out what is going on. Second, work with the Congress to lift the sanctions which prevent a resumption of military aid. I am not advocating grant material assistance other than humanitarian, but I would re-start IMET, and I would emphasize Expanded IMET, which is a program which is focused on democratization training, how to behave like a soldier, professionalization and so on, which they desperately need.
And, third, I think the European Command would be willing if tasked to send down some technical advisors to try to help structure the new armed forces so that we are in on the ground floor.
My fourth and final point, I suggest a sober reappraisal of our own actual influence or leverage in this affair. It is not, in my opinion, very great. Mr. Payne earlier referred to one part of the problem, which I had not really thought about, which is the legacy of the cold war. Now, he and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum in terms of our evaluation of the value of that period, but I agree it had tremendous residual consequences, and I think we have some responsibility to face up to them. So I hope we would find a point of convergence so that we could work out a program—I do not see it as a process of atonement, but let us have some responsibility for thirty-some years of basically helping ruin the country of Zaire and make its people miserable in order to get the cooperation of Mr. Mobutu. And we do not seem to be facing up to that.
Our diplomacy during Mr. Kabila's march to Kinshasa, I think, was short of brilliant, if the intent was to have a warm working relationship at the end of it. We kept asking him to stop and negotiate, and I am firmly convinced, had he followed our advice that he would still be sitting down in Lubumbashi.
So I am extremely pleased that he ignored our advice and went on to take over the country. Since he did take over the country we have held back. We have sent teams. We have had endless discussions. We have talked endlessly about assistance, but we have not done anything. We have levied a great barrage of criticism, and I am going to hear more of it here shortly, and I think all of this essentially is justified. There are some really horrible things going on, particularly in Eastern Zaire.
I do not see any prospect from what I have heard and read from the government, or for that matter, the Europeans, of any serious assistance in the future.
The international community utterly failed to deal with the genocide in 1994. The last time I testified I was still serving and, you know, I had the miserable experience of sitting beside George Moose at the Africa Subcommittee hearing where he could not be brought to say, because he was under instructions, the ''G'' word. ''Well, we are not really sure there is a genocide, perhaps there is some bad stuff going on but, you know, who is to say what it is.'' We could not deal with the genocide. We could not deal with the camps. We, the international community, we were then given basically, I think, an ultimatum by Kagame, ''You fix it or I will fix it.'' And now we have the consequences of all of those years of failure and frustration.
So let us be a little modest as we lay our demands on the new government and its neighbors. I think we can make a substantial difference over time, but at the margin of things. We are not, to be frank, a major player in the region anymore. And as I said earlier, I think we would be better served to adapt our policies and follow the lead of the neighbors, and in particular, South Africa.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Woods appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Woods, thank you for your insights and your suggestions, and the information you provided.
STATEMENT OF JENNIFER LEANING, CONSULTANT, PHYSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Dr. LEANING. Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here. I will move swiftly through my remarks since some of them have already been addressed or introduced in the morning session today.
I have just returned from a 2-week mission to the region with two colleagues from Physicians for Human Rights, who are here with us today.
The PHR is an organization of health professionals, scientists and concerned citizens that brings the knowledge and skills of the medical and forensic sciences to the protection and promotion of human rights.
I participated in this mission not as a consultant but as a volunteer. I am a past board member of PHR, and I now serve on PHR's international advisory committee. And in addition to the points you made in my brief CV, I am also a practicing emergency physician and attending at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School.
We spent a significant portion of our time in Rwanda since we were told at the outset that it would be useful to obtain Rwandan military permission to enter the Congo in view of the fact that we had a human rights ambit, and because we had to travel through Northwest Rwanda to enter the Congo in Goma. So we had traveled this area that is under discussion today.
In so doing we learned a great deal about human rights in Western Rwanda, which relate directly to the human rights situation in Congo, and accordingly, my remarks today will address both countries and the recommendations are crafted for both. A full draft of our remarks and recommendations has been submitted to the record and I think been made available to the Committee Members.
I would like to begin by noting that PHR has been deeply concerned about atrocities in this region since the onset of the Rwanda genocide in 1994; in fact, before that, because as many of you know this has been an area fraught with bloodshed and criminality and atrocity for many years. But PHR is on record and ably on record as having called for action against the genocide as it was unfolding, and also, in 1994, we were early among the groups calling for an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for contributing to the slaughter and leading the slaughter of an estimated 800,000 Rwandan Tutus and moderate Hutus by the Rwandan army, the ex-FAR, the Interahamwe.
Now, I would like to talk first in terms of our findings about what we saw in Eastern Congo. We have received reliable reports from many sources that the Rwandan military, here we are talking about Rwandan military, not forces under Kabila, but Rwandan military under Rwandan command and control, who have committed and are continuing to commit widespread atrocities against civilian populations in Eastern Congo. And I would like to emphasize the fact that history is crucial, but what is also crucial is that right now people are getting killed day by day by Rwandan forces in Eastern Congo.
There are curfews in local towns. It is an extremely insecure environment in Eastern Congo. We have received reports and from eye witnesses of killings of unarmed Rwandan Hutu refugees who are in the North Kivu area, as well as in South Kivu, but also local Congolese, primarily Hutu, but local Congolese who are noncombatants, who are villagers, who live in Eastern Congo, and who are being attacked by soldiers identified as Rwandan military.
They arrive even in midday, slaughter men, women and children, charge all of them are Interahamwe, and then fade into the hills.
We have interviewed staff from the humanitarian organizations and from local human rights groups, both of them spoke with great tension, with great desire for anonymity. We had to approach them circuitously. We spoke with them informally over and under a noise barrier and behind guarded walls. There is a high level of tension and constraint among all humanitarian aid agencies and local human rights groups in North Kivu, and there is a sense that any attempt now to surface some of the human rights issues that they are witnessing because they are on the ground will sharply curtail their capacity to deliver humanitarian relief in that area. And they, rightfully, are trying to get the goods to the people, and here I am talking about the local villagers as well as the refugees.
But the constraint, the chill that is there is a security crisis and the fear of reprisal, not so much from Kabila's Government, as from the Rwandan soldiers that are active in the area.
That is the Eastern Congo, and I can talk more if people are interested about some of the situations that we saw when we witnessed people, talked to those who had been in the villages and had been attacked. We had some very important and thoughtful first-person testimony from people who in fact as we talked to them and examined them had evidence of the wounds and injuries.
Now, I would like to talk to some of the events that are going on in Western Rwanda. The civil war in the Congo, which was precipitated by the Rwandan troops entering the country to break up the large Hutu refugee camps last fall, which we have talked about in some detail already today, is now largely over. Kabila is in power and is the head of the State of the Congo.
But that war has now spilled back into Rwanda, and that war has intensified in Western Rwanda since early 1997. Large numbers of ex-FAR and Interahamwe have returned with the refugees in a period that was initially, yes, a voluntary repatriation. The fall of last year, November, when the camps were disrupted, up to six to seven thousand people swarmed across the border in a lightning fashion, and withion a 1-week period, and the international community was delighted to see so many people released from the Interahamwe actually dying to get home.
The irony is that they are dying now that they are home because most of these repatriated into Western Rwanda. Remember the Zairian refugees coming from Rwanda were coming from the west. If they had lived in the eastern part, they would have gone into Tanzania; south, they would have gone into Burundi. These are inhabitants of Western Rwanda. Most of them are refugees in Eastern Congo who went back voluntarily last fall. Their fate now in the civil war is a matter of high concern to us.
But more recently, in the last 3 or 4 months, the repatriation of the remaining refugees who are hiding in the forest in Eastern Congo is not so clearly a voluntary repatriation back to Western Rwanda. The UNHCR is sending them back there, but acknowledges that although they would like to call this a voluntary repatriation, they are calling it an emergency evacuation from Eastern Congo, because the situation there is unstable, the marauding soldiers, some of whom, if not many of whom, are Rwandan soldiers, are threatening the security and lives of the refugees in Eastern Congo.
We spoke on the record with the press officer from the ICRC in Kigali, who was similarly outspoken for the International Committee of the Red Cross, and he said that between two and three thousand people have been killed, to the best information they have, in the last 3 months in West Rwanda. Two to three thousand civilians. He is making no estimates about the military casualties.
We heard through humanitarian sources that there were large numbers of Rwandan military casualties in the hospitals, but we could not gain access to confirm that point. But on the civilians, when we pushed the ICRC, he said, look, we have no access, we cannot go in there to count, there is too incomplete data from areas, plus we cannot go in there anyway, nobody is keeping listings. Our best hope is when this war is over we can go back in and interview families and find out from those who claim they have disappearances what the actual summation number is.
So, we are in a situation when we were in Kigali we went and spoke to humanitarian organizations, we visited some transit camps and detention centers. But when we spoke with U.S. Government representatives, we got entire conflicting pictures; not just on whether there was a war going on in Western Rwanda; it was denied by U.S. officials as being of significance—it was confirmed as being a matter of high importance and urgency by the U.N. humanitarian organizations and local personnel—but also as to whether there were human rights abuses being committed by Rwandan forces in Eastern Congo. Again, denied by the U.S. representatives and affirmed when we got to the Congo, when we talked to informed people on the ground.
Do we have time for that? Thank you.
Our first principal finding is that the killing of Rwandan refugees in the Congo continues, with Rwandan soldiers often identified as perpetrators. Rwandan soldiers are also implicated in the killing of Congolese villagers in Eastern Congo.
Our second finding is that in addition to the presence of Rwandan soldiers engaging in serious human rights abuses in Eastern Congo, other armed groups contribute to insecurity in the region. It is a welter, none of these soldiers are identified, none of them wear uniforms that you can tell rank, serial number or name on all of these, whether it is Rwandan soldiers, Congolese soldiers or informal soldiers, all of this is in violation of international law. But these groups are known to include former Zairian armed forces, former Rwandan armed forces, Interahamwe militia, Mai Mai Militia as well as armed civilian bandits, of whom are in increasing number.
The civil war in Western Rwanda has had catastrophic consequences for human rights. It is a matter of high irony that peoples' eyes glare over when we have come back and talked about this, the two to three thousand civilians who are being killed in Western Rwanda. They are so used to hearing of hundreds of thousands of people being killed in Rwanda, millions of people being killed in Rwanda. I mean, it starts to sound like Carl Sagan and billions and billions and billions. The point is these are individuals, and these are gross numbers when you consider two to three thousand in 3 months against the baseline population of Rwanda, although it is densely populated, is a relatively small number of total population; somewhere in around six to eight million. This is a lot of people, and each of them is an individual, and it is happening right now.
Repatriation of the Rwandan refugees by the UNHCR from Congo to Western Rwanda is tantamount to sending them back to a war zone. Remember, these are Hutu. These are hold-out Hutus. So when they come back the question for the Rwandan authorities is how come you did not come back earlier. You must be guilty. So these guys are targeted when they come back, and it is violating a fundamental principle of refugee law, the principle of non-refoulement, which means you do not force people back to an area where they will be in high jeopardy.
Our final one—no, our next to last one is that the United States has been and probably is still providing counter-insurgency training to the Rwandan army. We have heard this through military sources, and the Rwandan army, as I have just pointed out, is engaged in carrying out atrocities in the regions of Western Rwanda and Congo. Serious questions need to be asked about whether the United States is therefore implicated in these atrocities.
And I might add that there is a point to be made that if we are there teaching the troops principals of international humanitarian law, and the outcome is as grim and as grizzly as we are finding, we are either lousy teachers or we are not teaching the right thing, or we are in fact allowing things to happen under our eyes, which casts shame upon the Rwandan army, but also shame upon us.
International humanitarian organizations and their local staff are at great risk in both Rwanda and Congo, and have found access to effective populations severely restricted. Constant attacks, blockages and harassment are commonplace. It is essential for us to acknowledge that the humanitarian work that Administrator Atwood and others have talked about as being so important is impossible to carry out in Western Congo given the current security situation. This is a large group of people at risk because there is a failure to act on the security issues, not on the humanitarian issue. And we firmly support all humanitarian aid that can go to Congo and Rwanda, despite the fact that there are ongoing abuses of human rights. Our concern about conditioning of aid relates to the conditioning of security and military aid.
Rwanda, too, is in urgent need of extensive international assistance to help rebuild its economy and infrastructure. And one of the points that is known to many people here that was very, very clear to us, is that the Rwandan Government is in a state of extremity now and dealing with a civil war, massive numbers of returnees, and a major judicial crisis with well over 100,000 in prison without the legal system to engage in dossier production and due process support. The Rwandan Government watches all the intimate humanitarian aid coming to the refugee population with a certain amount of misgiving, if not hostility, because they have suffered enormously. They need ongoing and augmented humanitarian health aid to help them build their country.
Thank you for the time you have afforded me.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Leaning appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Dr. Leaning, thank you for your fine work, and as you heard earlier, I did ask a number of these questions of the Administration, some of which will be answered when they go back and research it, and we will get to questions momentarily. But I do thank you for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF MARINA OTTAWAY, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
Ms. OTTAWAY. Thank you very much for this opportunity to testify. Being the last speaker, I think I can forego a lot of what has already been said and focus just on a few points that I would like to make.
That said, I am also very concerned about the realistic expectations that are being placed on that government concerning how fast the transformation take place, and how we can get from where we are now, that is, a country which is totally devastated with a government with a very low degree of capacity to perform anything to the point where we want to be in the future.
There are, I think, four major obstacles to the transformation of the Congo into a more democratic country, and most of the discussion seems to focus on just one of those. The four points that I would like to stress are, first of all, the attitude of President Kabila and some members of his government themselves there is a real question about their commitment to democracy, their commitment to human rights.
But there are other issues that are equally important to the transformation of Zaire in the direction that we all desire.
Second is the fact that that country does not have a government capable of governing as a result, and does not have the infrastructure to allow effective government to take place as a result of the legacy of the Mobutu regime, of the devastation of the last 30 years.
Third, there is a real question about to what extent Kabila is a free agent. What are the relations between Kabila and some of the neighboring countries, particularly Rwanda?
And, finally, the fourth issue is the fact that this is a military regime because of the way it has come to power; therefore it has to change before we can talk about democracy.
First of all, let me go back to the issue of Kabila and his attitude. If you look at Kabila's past, if you look at his track record so far, it is not very reassuring in terms of what we can expect in terms of a commitment to democracy. I do not think we can prejudge the case, but if you look in the last few years we have seen a number of African leaders, including some to which the United States is very close, now making a very interesting transformation, moving from what I think was the typical position, the typical ideological stance of African leaders during most of the sixties and the seventies to a very different point of view.
The Prime Minister Meles in Ethiopia, President Issayas Affewerki in Eritrea, President Museveni in Uganda were all individuals who at one point in their life embraced very leftist ideologies who were very committed to socialist transformation, and who did come to power through the force of arms. They have changed their position remarkably in the last few years. They have now become leaders with whom the United States can work.
Let me add also along these lines that when the ANC leaders first started returning from exile in 1990, there was a moment of consternation on the part of the international community because most of them were voicing those same ideas that really came from the 1960's and 1970's. What I am saying is that there has been a very quick learning curve on the part of a lot of African leaders, and I think we should give for the time being the benefit of the doubt that Kabila is capable of the same learning.
To some extent, we do not have a choice at this point. There is no ready-made substitute for Kabila. If Kabila fails in making this transformation, the most likely outcome is not that he be replaced by somebody who is more committed to democracy; the most likely outcome is that the country is going to go through a much longer period of instability, and therefore the violation of human rights and all the problems that we are witnessing today are going to continue for a much longer period of time.
You cannot have rule of law if the government cannot be present in many parts of the country, no matter what their intentions are. You cannot have a good government if it does not have a budget because internally there is no formal economic system that can be taxed, and therefore it does not have a regular source of revenue. You are not going to have a disciplined military if the military does not get paid because there is no money in the budget to pay the military. So that in a sense we cannot talk about democracy without also talking about contributing to the reconstruction of that government.
The issue of the relationship between Kabila and the neighboring countries remains one of grave concern. We have heard a lot about it this morning. We just heard more about the presence of Rwandan forces in Eastern Zaire today. I certainly cannot claim to have all the information. I am not sure that anybody has all the information about this. But I think we need to clarify what is going on. And if anything, if that is possible at all, we need to support Mr. Kabila in an attempt to essentially take more responsibility for what is going on in his country, for separating himself as much as it is possible from the countries that have provided support in the past. We do not really know how much we can do at this point.
I am not trying to say that all the problems that are occurring in Eastern Zaire are the responsibility of the Rwandan Government. All I am pointing out is that we really do not understand sufficiently what the relationship between those two groups are.
Defense Minister Kagame recently claimed a lot of credit for the success of Kabila's forces in a statement released yesterday that I have not seen in today's paper actually. Kabila has denied essentially the statement made by Kagame, stating that The Washington Post misquoted Kagame, and he is calling Kagame to account for the statement that he has made. There are clearly tensions between the two. There is something going on, and that is something which certainly is standing in the way of greater transformation.
Countries that I mentioned earlier, like Ethiopia, Eritrea, to some extent Uganda, are still struggling with that problem. Ghana has had two multi-party elections so far, and it is still an open question to what extent the power of President Yoweri is still based on the military rather than being based on the fact that he has been elected. It is a long process of transformation. It is going to take not much reconstruction, but the construction of a professional military which does not exist in the country at the present time before that regime can turn into a civilian regime. To talk about a democratic transformation without talking about what can be done to help Kabila solve those problems is not very realistic.
The last point that I would like to make is that while the United States can help in this process of transformation, and I would like to add that if we want to help, we have to help the government and not just the NGO sector because the main problem is the lack of government capacity in that country, and we do not solve the problem of government capacity by helping the NGO's, no matter how worthwhile the work that the NGO's are doing, but one is not a replacement for the other one; it is not a substitute for the other.
But in addition to trying to help, I think it is also important that the United States tries to avoid doing damage in that situation. And I am very concerned that one part of the U.S. position could be very harmful to the future of the Congo, and that is the insistence that elections be held within a period of 2 years.
I do believe that elections are extremely important, do not misunderstand me. I do believe that that certainly has to happen at some point in the future. I think it is very important that we look at the record of those countries where the international community has pushed for elections to be held very soon after the end of an armed conflict, and the record is not good in those countries.
But I think before we push for elections, we have to ask two things. One is what is the likely outcome of elections at this point; and, two, how much support the international community is really willing to give to those elections; how large an investment we are going to make. And I would like to stress here that the cost of elections, of successful election or elections that have a chance of being successful held 2 years from now, or even less than 2 years from now in the Congo would require an enormous investment on the part of the international community. And before, the elections in Cambodia have been estimated to have cost about $2 billion.
I am not saying that that is necessarily the figure, but what is certain is that it would be a very large figure. And unless we are willing to put in that kind of investment the international community is willing to do that, I think we better rethink our approach to the idea of pushing for elections as soon as possible.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Ottaway appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Dr. Ottaway.
Let me just being the first round and maybe the only round, depending on the Members' wishes of questions.
Dr. Leaning, in your statement you point out that in our discussions at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda that you were alarmed by the remarkable lack of concern of reports of human rights violations in Western Rwanda and Eastern Congo. And as you recall, earlier I asked the Acting Assistant Secretary whether or not he concurred that that was their viewpoint. And, you know, he kind of saw it differently.
But there is this sense of concern about the point of contact, the day-to-day interfaces with the government, in this case in Rwanda.
Could you elaborate on that without breaking any confidences? You know, a discussion like that ought to be more public rather than less because we are talking about very important issues, and we had received insights, our Subcommittee, last December that the same kind of ''see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil'' mentality was very much in evidence? And some of the refugee community and human rights folks that were talking to our Subcommittee were saying, ''They are not seeing it,'' or ''They are in denial. They are just refusing to recognize the gravity of what Rwandan and others are doing, the soldiers, to the refugees.''
Could you perhaps elaborate on that?
Dr. LEANING. Well, there are human and political reasons why what you have just observed as a general phenomenon, occurs. That is, if you are spending time working closely with local leadership, you begin to see the nuances, you begin to see the world their way. You interact with them socially and in an administrative way many times a day, and it becomes very hard not to share at least a part of their world view.
Politically, and we have referenced this many times both Members of the Committee and people testifying, the fact that everything we are talking about is in the shadow of a horrific genocide that occurred in 1994; that we back home have difficulty encompassing. I can tell you people there also do.
So I think coming to terms with that past is going to take generations. And the Administration's political spin that is fundamentally understandable is that everything that happens is in retribution in the light of that genocide is on some level somewhat excusable.
And our point as a human rights group is that you are in fact serving the long-term, the longevity and the integrity of a government to have them recognize that abuses upon their citizens, whatever the past, will only continue to contaminate their own rule, their own reputation, and sow tremendous hatred for the future.
A cycle is about to continue. The Rwandan Government is a minority government. It has to live with millions of Hutus and it is going to have to come to terms. That means there needs to be a judicial process, full vetting and telling of the truth. It does not mean that extrajudicial killings or military killings of civilians should be countenanced. And it is our distinct impression, and Kathi Austin who is a member of our team, received it on the record from the DCM, and if you would like, you could call her to the floor now—she is here with me—for her absolute verbatim statements from the DCM there, but it is our distinct impression that they are actively downplaying any information they get that would suggest that the Rwandan Government is complicit in atrocities, actively downplaying any information that the U.S. military may be involved, or supporting in any way. And I can tell you firsthand that the humanitarian community in Kigali thinks that the United States in its close relationship with the government is creating a sense of contempt and jeopardy for the other humanitarian organizations who try to practice there.
Mr. SMITH. I would ask if your associate could come to the witness table, and relay that information.
Dr. LEANING. Please.
Mr. SMITH. Please identify yourself for the record.
Ms. AUSTIN. Kathi Austin, consultant to Physicians for Human Rights.
I would like to say that this was said by two U.S. Embassy officials. I would not like to say it was the DCM for the record, the information was not for attribution—but was on the record information.
Basically, what the embassy said, and again these are almost direct quotes, that in both Eastern Congo and in Western Rwanda no cadavers had been seen, and no wounds had been documented; that there were no civilian refugees missing in the Eastern Congo; that the UNHCR, the AID community, and the local Congolese population are being untruthful about the situation because they have a vested interest in maintaining their jobs and programs there, which would be justified by still having a refugee population at large; that Kabila himself personally authorized the repatriation process from the Congo at the end of March 1997 to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, and that it was the UNHCR which could provide no acceptable reason for delay of the repatriation process.
It was also said that the UNHCR has been lying about the health and capacity of refugees returning home; that the UNHCR has been untruthful about the safety of refugees returning to certain areas of Rwanda, even—and it was in their opinion, because the Rwandan Government has said that it is safe for these refugees to return to these particular areas; and that the refugees are not being screened upon return to Rwanda.
Ms. AUSTIN. Not being screened.
Mr. SMITH. And what was the source when the U.S. Embassy personnel were saying that they had not seen cadavers, had not seen other evidence of atrocities, did they cite you a source for that?
Ms. AUSTIN. No, they said that there had been no international reports, there had been no press reports, and that there had been no witnesses to these events; that there had been no sightings of cadavers. They were very dismissive of any press reports, of any humanitarian aid agency reports. They said that in fact none of these agencies had seen cadavers, and that they had not seen any evidence to this effect.
Mr. SMITH. Did they indicate that they had undertaken any independent review with their own personnel?
Ms. AUSTIN. No. They did indicate that Kabila himself had stated that he was launching an investigation earlier in the year into these allegations, but said that they were not aware of what Kabila's own internal investigation had led to.
Mr. SMITH. Did they indicate that they would give credence to such an investigation rather than to some outside organization that would have absolutely no——
Ms. AUSTIN. Well, they did in effect, they did say that they had advised Kabila not to allow a U.N. investigation team into Eastern Congo.
Mr. SMITH. Not to allow?
Ms. AUSTIN. Not to allow. That it was in his interest not to allow the——
Mr. SMITH. Can you cite who suggested that we should not allow an investigation——
Mr. SMITH. OK. Perhaps maybe off the record if you would provide us with the names, I would like to follow up on that because where there is alleged wrongdoing, particularly on a massive scale, for any U.S. personnel to suggest that an investigation should not be vigorously undertaken is, I think, a very, very high—let us say it could be a cause for a removal from a job, to say the least, because we should not be in the business of coverup and whitewashing, and so I would hope that we—did I get that right?
Ms. AUSTIN. That is correct.
Mr. SMITH. That they said there should not be an investigation?
Ms. AUSTIN. That is correct. PHR welcomes the opportunity to work with both Congress and with the Administration in clarifying any of these issues if they need to be clarified.
Mr. SMITH. I appreciate that. Thank you.
Let me just ask maybe, Dr. Leaning, you might want to respond to this—and all of you may if you would like to—the characterization of the U.S. military assistance to Rwanda as provided by the Acting Secretary earlier, Mr. Twaddell, is that our view? I mean, you do ask the question, ''The role of U.S. trainers and advisors in this extremely abusive counter-insurgency campaign, what is it? We do not know.''
I do not think anyone on the Committee knows, but as you pointed out, I think, in your testimony a moment ago, either they are very bad trainers or something else is occurring here. If you could respond to that. Did you agree with him? He just categorically said we are not complicit.
Dr. LEANING. No, and could we do a two-part one again? That is, if I could ask Kathi to come back because she was the one who had the most direct interaction with the military people, as well as with U.S. Embassy staff. But could I just respond slightly more broadly to this? The United States is responsible, in our view, on acknowledging the abuses that are taking place; to press Rwanda directly to do no harm; and, to withdraw forces from the Congo; and to control and professionalize its own staff in Western Rwanda; and if Kabila is sincere about his rule of law throughout his country, recognizing that his infrastructure and his capacity to exert that rule of law is extraordinarily limited now, what we should be doing is urging him to acknowledge that incapacity, and work with him to begin to provide the supports to create a rule of law in Eastern Congo. It does him no good, he is a minority Governor also, it does him no good to have the atrocities committed in Eastern Congo, whether we are directly involved with our own soldiers, or whether we are aiding Rwandan soldiers in doing it, or whether the Rwandan soldiers are acting independently. Kabila may need some help.
Ms. AUSTIN. I would like to say that I have been traveling to Rwanda since August 1994, and have had considerable contact with U.S. military personnel on the ground from 1994 and to the present day.
I first learned of U.S. counter-insurgency training in early 1996, when U.S. military personnel distinctly told me that they were providing counter-insurgency training, and that they were also assisting our training in how to launch surgical strikes—those were the exact words—into Eastern Congo.
I have not been able to independently verify that other than the information provided me by U.S. military personnel in the region.
I have observed full-dress military personnel in Western Rwanda since early 1995, and, again, these were the areas where the counter-insurgency training was said to have taken place; and that sort of mitigated against my belief that it was classroom training that was being conducted. It was very clearly military exercises taking place on the ground in Western Rwanda in the border regions as early as the beginning of 1996.
Mr. SMITH. That seems not to sound like benign human rights training. I think that is a cause for this Committee to follow up very vigorously, so we would like to be in touch with you after the hearing on that as well.
Ms. AUSTIN. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. I would like to yield to my good friend, Mr. Payne of New Jersey.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. I am sorry that I missed all the testimony, but I think that once again I am very pleased that there is a tremendous amount of interest in the Congo at this time, and what happened in Eastern Congo. And I do too hope that we should get to the bottom of it.
I do not know whether there is a big guilt complex going on and now we are going to make sure that never again sort of thing. But it is amazing how little interest there was in that genocide. And I finally confronted the President of the United States himself about what is wrong with our country's leadership in this region. It was just an embarrassment. And now I turn around and we see all of this tremendous amount of concern which should be, but I wonder, did I look at that 500,000 to a million people who were killed as something that did not happen? I do not understand it. I did not have the refugee committee organizations coming forth to hearings. It was like it did not happen. It is just unbelievable.
And the way that this whole question—I think we definitely have to get to what happened there and the allegations. There was not even concern about the cross-border intrusions that the ex-FAR and the Interahamwe were going into Rwanda even before the alliance came together in October–November 1996. I mean, it was just—we just simply looked the other way.
And I do think that we need to certainly get to the bottom of what occurred there; what the Bauyamelenge people who were going to be expelled, and the behavior of the ex-FAR and Interahamwe.
Do you feel that just in how we prevent these things, for example, there has to be support for demilitarization. you are not going to have big armies and then send them home and try to have elections, but these things are not discussed.
Maybe all three of you know, Mr. Wood is very expert in this area, if you had a plan that you would give to Mr. Kabila to say this is what ought to be done, and I might just ask each of the three of you if you might comment, what do you think are the most emerging needs if they are ever going to have an inquiry, if there is going to be a government, if they are going to pay their civil servants, if they are going to have a police department, if they are going to have a military that is a trained group rather than a group that was brought together, what are some of the three or four key things that you think could be done to assist in this occurring?
Ms. OTTAWAY. I will defer to Mr. Woods on the issue of the military and what needs to be done there. But I would like to address two areas. One is all the rebuilding of the government's capacity, this is clearly a huge undertaking which calls for very close cooperation among all members of the international community.
I think there is an interesting example of what should be done, and it is what the South Africans are trying to do, which is providing a team to work with the Ministry of finance to try and put together a system essentially to revive the ministry. I think that kind of team assigned to, you know, different countries taking on different departments at different offices would be of tremendous help because the government needs technical expertise. I mean, first of all, all the ministers are extremely inexperienced, and second, there is no cadre of senior civil servants any longer. So it is really starting from scratch.
One step in the right direction was a meeting that took place in mid to late June of NGO's in the country that outlined some of the steps that need to be taken—there are two ideas that I think might be worthwhile supporting. One was that of trying to set up a permanent consultative mechanism between NGO's and the government in the Congo, to try and work out some of the issues that they eventually will have to be addressed. And the second one was to set up a series of local and regional seminars, meetings, to try to diffuse ethnic conflict in those areas where it has been instigated in the past.
These are very long-term steps. I mean, they do not bring us closer to elections soon, but there is no point to get into elections unless those issues can be tackled.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you.
Dr. LEANING. You are asking each of us, is that correct?
Mr. PAYNE. Yes.
Dr. LEANING. As a human rights group, we did not enter to look at issues of longer-term development. But from the standpoint of your question, I have two major points to say.
One is that we think there needs to be an end to the gross abuses of human rights that are occurring in Eastern Congo. That to us is a very, very high priority that Kabila should put at the head of his agenda.
Now, we are not saying democratic transformation. Elections are not along the list of gross human rights abuses or paramount human rights interventions at the moment. We are talking about much more basic things, a stop to the killings and attacks on villagers. And we will defer to those who know the political situation within the Congo far better than certainly I do personally, to talk about the timing for elections. But that is not part of our recommendations at the moment at all, and we acknowledge the accuracy of both witnesses here in saying that the infrastructure and the political capacities are pretty crushed or undeveloped.
And then, third, from the standpoint of the United States aid——
Mr. PAYNE. Are there Rwandan troops in there?
Dr. LEANING. Yes.
Mr. PAYNE. You say that it is affirmative that it is being controlled by Rwanda?
Dr. LEANING. Yes. Our best indications in a number of layers of detail are that there are Rwandan troops in Eastern Congo, and that the security and military and most basic issues around access to the countryside are still mandated by the Rwandan military.
Mr. PAYNE. This is the first I have heard that, and I just left there, but OK.
Dr. LEANING. Now, the third thing that we would say is that a wonderful way to rebuild a country and begin to heal some of the lasting ethnic divides is to get people to work on a common project that relates to a common ethic. And in health care and medicine that is one of the ways that you can bring about a reconciliation in a really fundamental way, more rapidly than many other ways. So we would suggest that a priority be given to rebuilding the health system in Eastern Congo. The people are there, the structures are there, the resources have been devastated. So it is a fragile vessel, but one that actually has a very, very rapid short-term potential if it were filled with the right mix of resources.
And I know that USAID, with UNICEF, has been looking at this quite closely, and I think they are on the right track in their current thinking.
Mr. WOODS. I think if I were giving Mr. Kabila a list of four things he has to do, first he has to get his relationship with the international community on a sound basis because he needs help. If he does not get that help, the chances of survival are greatly diminished. Part of that, he is going to have to show a serious effort to get these abuses in the east and potentially other parts of the country under control. I do not think he has that capability at the present time. But over time perhaps he can assert it. He has to at least appear to be making a credible effort.
Second, and I hope he understands this, he has got to broaden his domestic political base. He has got to reach out to other groups, that he seem not to be abusive, and, yes, I think he has to take the process of folding civil or civic society into this process, and allow them to make their own contribution to the process of a democratic transition.
I must make a little warning. If we push this idea of walking—the international community walks a very narrow line between what will be seen as gross interference in domestic political affairs and running the country, and providing legitimate assistance for this private sector. And they can close us down. Other countries in Africa have done that, and these people are thin-skinned. So, yes, we need to work and build these civil society structures, we need to work at the local level and so on, help them to build it. But if we go in there with what appears to be an attempt to create a parallel government, I think he will close us down.
Third point, they need debt relief. They are $14 billion in the hole. I mean, where did the money go? What have they got to show for it other than a totally ruined country? And what is the international community going to do about it? He needs debt relief and he needs some credit so that he can have a bit of working funds to start reviving the government.
And, fourth, I think he needs a technical plan to revive government administrative structures and the private sector. When we asked Dr. Karaha here last week what were his priorities, he said his first priority was to figure out what his priorities were. They do not know. They need help, and we can do that.
Mr. PAYNE. Yes, it looked like my time is up, but where do you think the ex-FAR and Interahamwe and those armed Hutus are, and where are they roaming around? Was all the engagement—if there were killings, could it have been that there was conflict between the ex-FAR and Interahamwe who did not want to go back, who were perpetrators of the genocide, and maybe some engagement in war and fighting from those who——
Mr. WOODS. I am sure there are armed clashes. Where are they? They are still out in the bush being pursued. Some of them have made their way probably as far as Uganda. Some are certainly over in the Congo, Brazzaville. Others may have gotten as far as the CAR. And this Hutu/Tutsis conflict is far from over, and it is stirring up more serious potential conflicts within Zaire itself. And I do not think the regional powers have a plan for dealing with this in a sensible manner, frankly, because I do not think you can put it down at the point of a gun. There has to be some process of reconciliation. And I do not think the international community has a clue. So I am very worried about the prospects. There are lots of good ideas of things we can do, but only if this situation can be somewhat stabilized and kept somewhat stabilized.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I do not intend to waive my questions. I do intend to make a statement, however. I would like to thank you for inviting such wonderful, thoughtful witnesses to come and educate us on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in the Great Lakes region generally.
It is patently obvious that the international community, the United States, and the United Nations itself is even complicit in what is going on. When Foreign Minister Karaha was here, he talked about this report that the U.N. investigative team is producing as serving as sort of a truth commission for the people of the region as to what has happened.
My only hope is that the international community and all those who have been actors or non-actors as it were in the tragedy that has unfolded will be understandable in their complicity and their accountability for what has happened, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you for your statement, Ms. McKinney.
Well, I want to thank our panelists and forgive us for running back and forth. We have had other hearings and we are about to have another hearing in about 2 minutes in this hearing room.
Did any of the panelists with to make any closing statement? Dr. Ottaway.
Ms. OTTAWAY. No.
Mr. SMITH. Dr. Leaning. And Mr. Woods.
Mr. WOODS. I would just like to say something I said a few minutes ago. I think we learned as much listening to the views of the Congress about what the concerns are as you might have learned from us. I think this kind of hearing has been very timely and very helpful.
Chairman GILMAN. Well, we appreciate your time, your patience, and your expertise.
[Whereupon, at 1:30 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
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