Ban faces Kigali 'outrage' over report

2010-09-08 12:00
Kigali - Rwanda said it would express its outrage to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in talks here on Wednesday over allegations in a UN report that its forces committed war crimes in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ban is expected to have talks in the morning with President Paul Kagame, who has threatened to pull his country's troops out of international peacekeeping missions in a signal of his country's fury over the report.

"We are very happy that the secretary general thought it was important to come here and discuss this DRC mapping report," said Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, who met Ban on Tuesday evening shortly after his arrival.

"Our expectations are that he understands why we have rejected this report, it is important that he understands why we are outraged by this report..., which is bound to cause instability in the region," she told AFP.

The draft report seen by AFP accuses Rwandan troops and their allies of staging genocide style massacres of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1996-97.

The United Nations last week delayed its publication until October 1 to give Rwanda and other nations more time to comment on the contents.

Mushikiwabo reiterated that if the report was officially published by the UN Rwanda would withdraw some 3 550 troops it has deployed in two separate peacekeeping missions in Sudan.

"There is no question that, should this report be released as we have seen in a draft version, with its false accusations and without talking to the interested parties, Rwanda will pull out its troops immediately."

Most severe accusations

"We will never accept the army which fought the genocide being accused of such crimes," she said.

Rwanda has 3 300 troops serving with a joint UN and African Union force in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur, Unamid. Another 256 soldiers serve with UNMIS, which is supporting the implementation of a 2005 peace deal between north and south Sudan.

"The systematic and widespread attacks described in this report... reveal a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide," stated the 600-page probe.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she would publish the comments of the countries concerns in an annex to the report.

Other countries who sent troops into DRC, such as Angola, are also targeted in the report, but attention has focused on Rwanda, which has come in for the most severe accusations.

Ban is accompanied by Roger Meece, the UN special representative for DRC; Alain Le Roy, an undersecretary general for peacekeeping operations and Ivan Simonovic, assistant secretary general for human rights.

- SAPA
Read more on:    ban ki-moon  |  drc  |  rwanda  |  east africa
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