UN discovers possible DRC genocide

2010-08-26 21:39


Paris - UN investigators have uncovered mass human rights abuses in the Democractic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the 1990s, including the possible genocide of Hutu refugees by Rwandan forces, a French newspaper reported on Thursday.

A leaked report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) details massacres, rapes and looting by forces from various countries in two wars that rocked the former Zaire between 1993 and 2003, Le Monde said.

The most serious claims target Rwanda, whose forces along with Congolese troops allegedly shot, clubbed and axed to death vast numbers of ethnic Hutu refugees in the DRC, including women, children and the elderly from 1996 to 1998.

The UN investigated massacres by these forces as long ago as 1997, according to a report received by AFP in 2005, but its efforts were disrupted by the subsequent outbreak of war and that report was never officially published.

'Tens of thousands'

The total number of victims of war crimes by various forces operating in the country, known since 1997 as the Democratic Republic of Congo, is "probably several tens of thousands," the UNHCR report said, according to the newspaper.

After the genocide of minority Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, about a million Hutus fearing reprisals fled across the western border to the DRC. Rwandan Tutsi forces raided refugee camps there in search of Hutu genocide leaders.

Le Monde quoted the UNHCR report as saying that "the systematic and generalised attacks (against Hutus in Congo) have several damning aspects which, if proved by a competent court, could qualify as crimes of genocide."

"The use of non-firearms, mainly hammers, and the systematic massacres of survivors after camps were captured show that the number of dead is not attributable to the hazards of war," it quoted the UN report as saying.

Rights abuses

The acts allegedly involved a coalition of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (APR) of Tutsis and a Congolese force, the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL), led by Laurent-Desire Kabila.

In the first of the two wars, between 1996 and 1998, the AFDL, supported by the APR, ousted the late dictator of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko.

The UN alleged in the unpublished 1997 report seen by AFP that its investigations at that time were obstructed by the administration of Laurent-Desire Kabila - father of the current President Joseph Kabila.

After the elder Kabila toppled Mobutu, a second war raged from 1998 to 2003.

The genocide allegations were among some of "the most serious violations of human rights and international law" according to the report, which accuses forces from several other neighbouring countries of crimes over the 10 years.


Citing unnamed sources, Le Monde said Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who led the APR in its successful campaign to oust the Hutu administration in Kigali after the 1994 genocide, had fought to cover up the report, threatening to withdraw Rwandan troops from UN peacekeeping missions.

The daily cited unnamed Rwandan sources dismissing the allegations as "absurd".

The UN report is due to be published in September, the newspaper said.

The UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva, Rupert Colville, said the newspaper had "the wrong version of the report," having obtained an early draft which "has gone through changes". He would not comment on the details reported by Le Monde.

"It's only a draft from about two months ago and the proper final version will come up very soon," Colville said.

Le Monde cited unnamed Congolese sources as saying that some of the people involved in the alleged abuses still held positions of power in the country.

Read more on:    unhcr  |  drc  |  central africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2820.00

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.