UN praises DR Congo co-operation
Geneva - A UN human rights team compiling a report on massacres in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1993-2003 has had "very good co-operation" from the country's government, a spokesperson said on Friday.
"On that mapping report we have had very good cooperation from the Congolese government, from the beginning," Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told journalists.
A draft of the report obtained by AFP maps out massacres, rapes and looting it says were committed by armed groups in eastern DR Congo.
More controversially, it identifies several countries, in particular Rwanda, as having been involved in the violence especially during the 1996-1997 and 1998-2002 wars in DR Congo.
The final version of the mapping report is due out on October 1, after being delayed because of the controversy created by early reports of its contents.
Colville's remarks came a day after campaigners in DR Congo urged President Joseph Kabila not to sign up to a joint reaction with other Great Lakes countries that might repudiate parts of the report.
Years of impunity
Eighty-two rights groups and civic organisations on Thursday urged President Laurent Kabila to "do everything to prevent the DRC signing a declaration that would undermine elements of the content and the conclusion of the report."
They said in a statement that the DR Congo authorities should "consider the report as an incontestable basis to ask the international community to set up an international judicial mechanism, like the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda".
Colville told journalists that the mapping report was aimed at tackling years of impunity.
"It really gets into that issue, it is very much about grappling with this chronic problem of impunity and lack of justice in DRC," he explained.
"The vast, vast majority of victims are not seeing anything really: justice, compensation, treatment, whatever."
Also on Friday, the UN rights chief's office detailed the results of a separate probe into the rape of at least 303 civilians in the eastern area of Walikale over four days in July and August this year.
The "scale and viciousness" of the mass rapes by local Mai-Mai, Rwandan Hutu rebels and a group connected to an army deserter "defy belief", said Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
She described rape as "a perennial and massive problem for the past 15 years" in eastern DR Congo, warning that impunity helped breed more violence.
Burundi said Wednesday it had demanded that UN chief Ban Ki-moon remove its previous army and an ex-rebel group from the 1993-2003 mapping report, calling the charges of crimes in the DR Congo baseless.
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has dismissed as "absurd" claims in the leaked draft that Rwandan troops committed genocide-style massacres in DR Congo in 1996-97.