U.N. Report on Congo Massacres Draws Anger
Jeffrey Gettleman and Josh Kron
The New York Times
1 October 2010
(…) No country is depicted favorably in the Congo report. Ugandan forces are accused of torturing civilians. Rwandan troops are blamed for systematically hunting down refugees. Angolan forces are said to have raped women and looted hospitals. Zimbabwean planes carried out indiscriminate air raids, the report asserts, and Chadian troops burned homes.
The final report is slightly watered down compared with the draft copies, with a few more qualifications in the language. (…)
The final version of the report also includes more reasons such attacks may not be considered genocide, citing Rwanda’s willingness to take back hundreds of thousands, if not more, Hutu refugees.
Many analysts said it was precisely the use of the word “genocide” that so angered Rwanda’s leaders. Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president, and his inner circle have built a powerful and morally righteous image by ending Rwanda’s genocide in 1994, when they say the world abandoned them, and rebuilding the country afterward. (…)
But the image of Rwanda is shifting. Human rights groups and others have increasingly accused the Rwandan government of squashing political dissent and donors, including the United States, have begun to air their own concerns.
Analysts say that may be one reason why this Congo report will get a more extensive airing than previous reports that alleged the Rwandans massacred civilians. One such report from 1994 emerged only recently, after some high-level United Nations officials denied it even existed.
Yet the Secretariat itself seemed to distance itself from the report already, saying future steps were in Congo’s hands. Martin Nesirky, the spokesman for Mr. Ban, also denied the link made by other United Nations officials, namely that Mr. Ban had agreed with Mr. Kagame not to pursue court cases based on the report in exchange for Rwanda keeping its peacekeeping troops in Sudan. (...)
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