17 October 2012

Rwanda: Congo UN Experts Doing 'Appalling' Job - Says Govt

A UN report says Rwanda's defence minister is commanding rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It's the second time UN experts have ... ( Resource: UN: Rwanda and Uganda Arming Rebels in DR Congo )

Rwanda's foreign affairs minister has expressed disappointment that the UN Group of Experts on DR Congo continued to engage in what she described as "a determined political campaign to indict Rwanda".

"The leak of the final report of the Group of Experts confirms what Rwanda has maintained ever since Hege's incendiary anti-Rwanda writings came to our attention," said Louise Mushikiwabo in a statement in response to a latest yet-to-be published report.

The international media has been reporting based on a leaked version of the document that is currently in the UN Security Council sanctions committee. The document supposedly alleges that Rwanda and Uganda are jointly arming Congolese rebel group M23. H

Mushikiwabo accuses Steve Hege, experts' coordinator of "pursuing a political agenda that has nothing to do with getting at the true causes of conflict in the eastern DRC."

Rwanda's top diplomat pointed out that any effort to engage constructively with Hege has been twisted out of context and used against Rwanda.

"Rwanda will not allow itself to be dragged any deeper into this farce by responding to the Group's far-fetched but fact-free assertions." said Minster Mushikiwabo.

"Every UN member-state should find cause for concern that these expert panels feel entitled to treat sovereign states in such an appalling fashion. Who are these unelected, unaccountable individuals to abuse the authority granted to them by the UN to pursue political vendettas and deny even basic procedural fairness to a country like Rwanda, a member of the United Nations for half a century?" Mushikiwabo said.

A DC-based law firm, Akin Gump, agrees with Rwanda's assessment that the UN Group of Experts has abused its powers in the course of pinning blame on Kigali for the DRC conflict. Among other shortcomings, the law firm found that the Group of Experts were guilty of "[a] lack of transparency, the reliance on questionable sources and the complete lack of analysis of witness bias, motivation, or contradictory evidence."

Mushikiwabo pointed out that Rwanda was focused on engaging with other countries of the region, including the DRC, to bring about a lasting solution to the crisis - a peace process that has already led to a two- month cease-fire.

"We are fully committed to the ongoing ICGLR process -- the problems in DRC didn't emerge overnight and can't be fixed overnight, but there is a strong belief that a regional solution is not only the best way forward -- it is the only way forward."

About the author

Gahiji Innocent is the chief political columnist for Newsofrwanda.He grew up in Kampala,Uganda before moving to Rwanda.His column is syndicated to newspapers around the country. He has written columns from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel and South Africa. Gahiji , who has a B.A. degree in English from the University of Illinois, has been a Poynter Media Fellow at Yale University,

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