Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Thursday, August 26, 2010

UN mapping report leaked: Crime of genocide against Hutu center of controversy

Over a year after its completion, the UN mapping report has finally been leaked to the press. The report was mandated by the UN to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Congo between 1993 and 2003 in the hope that there could be accountability for the violence. To date, almost nothing has been done to bring those responsible to justice.

The report is huge, spanning 545 pages, and deals with war crimes committed by the security forces of Angola, Mobutu's Zaire, Uganda, Chad, Laurent Kabila's government, Joseph Kabila's government, Zimbabwe, the ex-FAR and Interahamwe (and later the FDLR), the Mai-Mai and the many other rebel groups. I will speak at length about the massacres carried out by these forces in later postings. Here, I will speak about the most controversial claim: the massacres carried out by the Rwandan army (RPA) together with the AFDL rebellion (led by Laurent Kabila) against the Hutu refugees in 1996-1997.

The striking conclusion is that the crimes committed by the RPA/AFDL against Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutu could constitute a crime of genocide. This will be a bombshell for Paul Kagame's government, which prides itself for having brought an end to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and has built its reputation and its appeal to donors on its promotion of post-genocide reconciliation. This report will rock the internet for months and years to come. Its political importance is hard to overstate.

A few words of caution. The report was not based on the standards of a judicial investigation; it was intended to provide a broad mapping of the most serious human rights abuses between 1993 and 2003. Indeed, the report says that an international court will have to be the final arbiter of whether the RPA/AFDL did actually commit acts of genocide. Verbatim: "The systematic and widespread attacks described in this report, which targeted very large numbers of Rwandan Hutu refugees and members of the Hutu civilian population, resulting in their death, reveal a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide."

Nonetheless, the mapping team's mandate was to documents crimes of genocide, and it was rigorous: In total, the team gathered evidence on 600 incidents of violence between 1993 and 2003. Their standard was two independent sources for each incident. They interviewed 1,280 witnesses and gathered 1,500 documents. Many of the reports of killings of Congolese and Rwandan Hutu civilians were corroborated by eyewitnesses. While we always knew that there had been large massacres of Hutu refugees in the Congo, this is the first rigorous investigation, and the first time an international body has thrown its weight behind charges of genocide.

Another word of caution: This is the preliminary draft. The report is due to be released on Monday, but it has been leaked, I gather because Secretary General Ban Ki Moon - or othr UN officials - has pressed for the charges of "acts of genocide by the RPA/AFDL" to be removed. The Rwandan government has reportedly threatened to withdraw its troops from the AU mission in Darfur and the UN mission in Haiti. I imagine that it is to prevent such editing that the report was finally leaked.

On to the conclusion of the report:

"Paragraph 512. The systematic attacks [...] resulted in a very large number of victims, probably tens of thousands of members of the Hutu ethnic group, all nationalities combined. In the vast majority of cases reported, it was not a question of people killed unintentionally in the course of combat, but people targeted primarily by AFDL/APR/FAB [Burundian army] forces and executed in their hundreds, often with edged weapons. The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who posed no threat to the attacking forces. Numerous serious attacks on the physical or pyschological integrity of members of the group were also committed, with a very high number of Hutus shot, raped, burnt or beaten. Very large numbers of victims were forced to flee and travel long distances to escape their pursuers, who were trying to kill them. The hunt lasted for months, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of people subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading living conditions, without access to food or medication. On several occasions, the humanitarian aid intended for them was deliberately blocked, in particular in Orientale Province, depriving them of assistance essential to their survival

"Paragraph 513. At the time of the incidents covered by this report, the Hutu population in Zaire, including refugees from Rwanda, constituted an ethnic group as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Moreover, as shown previously, the intention to destroy a group in part is sufficient to be classified as a crime of genocide. Finally, the courts have also confirmed that the destruction of a group can be limited to a particular geographical area. It is therefore possible to assert that, even if only a part of the Hutu population in Zaire was targeted and destroyed, it could nonetheless constitute a crime of genocide, if this was the intention of the perpetrators. Finally, several incidents listed also seem to confirm that the numerous attacks were targeted at members of the Hutu ethnic group as such. Although, at certain times, the aggressors said they were looking for the criminals responsible for the genocide committed against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, the majority of the incidents reported indicate that the Hutus were targeted as such, with no discrimination between them. The numerous attacks against the Hutus in Zaire, who were not part of the refugees, seem to confirm that it was all Hutus, as such, who were targeted. The crimes committed in particular in Rutshuru (30 October 1996) and Mugogo (18 November 1996), in North Kivu, highlight the specific targeting of the Hutus, since people who were able to persuade the aggressors that they belonged to another ethnic group were released just before the massacres. The systematic use of barriers by the AFDL/APR/FAB, particularly in South Kivu, enabled them to identify people of Hutu origin by their name or village of origin and thus to eliminate them. Hundreds of people of Hutu origin are thus thought to have been arrested at a barrier erected in November 1996 in Ngwenda, in the Rutshuru territory, and subsequently executed by being beaten with sticks in a place called Kabaraza. In South Kivu, AFDL/APR/FAB soldiers erected numerous barriers on the Ruzizi plain to stop Rwandan and Burundian refugees who had been dispersed after their camps had been dismantled.

"514. Several incidents listed in this report point to circumstances and facts from which a court could infer the intention to destroy the Hutu ethnic group in the DRC in part, if these were established beyond all reasonable doubt. Firstly, the scale of the crimes and the large number of victims are illustrated by the numerous incidents described above. The extensive use of edged weapons (primarily hammers) and the systematic massacre of survivors, including women and children, after the camps had been taken show that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of war or seen as equating to collateral damage. The systematic nature of the attacks listed against the Hutus also emerges: these attacks took place in each location where refugees had been identified by the AFDL/APR, over a vast area of the country. Particularly in North Kivu and South Kivu but also in other provinces, the massacres often began with a trick by elements of the AFDL/APR, who summoned the victims to meetings on the pretext either of discussing their repatriation to Rwanda in the case of the refugees, or of introducing them to the new authorities in the case of Hutus settled in the region, or of distributing food. Afterwards, those present were systematically killed. Cases of this kind were confirmed in the province of North Kivu in Musekera, Rutshuru and Kiringa (October 1996), Mugogo and Kabaraza (November 1996), Hombo, Katoyi, Kausa, Kifuruka, Kinigi, Musenge, Mutiko and Nyakariba (December 1996), Kibumba and Kabizo (April 1997) and Mushangwe (around August 1997); in the province of South Kivu in Rushima and Luberizi (October 1996), Cotonco and Chimanga (November 1996) and Mpwe (February 1997) and on the Shabunda-Kigulube road (February-April 1997); in Orientale Province in Kisangani and Bengamisa (May and June 1997); in Maniema in Kalima (March 1997) and in Équateur in Boende (April 1997). Such acts certainly suggest premeditation and a precise methodology. In the region south of the town of Walikale, in North Kivu (January 1997), Rwandan Hutus were subjected to daily killings in areas already under the control of the AFDL/APR as part of a campaign that seemed to target any Hutus living in the area in question.

"515. Several of the massacres listed were committed regardless of the age or gender of the victims. This is particularly true of the crimes committed in Kibumba (October 1996), Mugunga and Osso (November 1996), Hombo and Biriko (December 1996) in the province of North Kivu, Kashusha and Shanje (November 1996) in the province of South Kivu, Tingi-Tingi and Lubutu (March 1997) in Maniema Province, and Boende (April 1997) in Équateur Province, where the vast majority of victims were women and children. Furthermore, no effort was made to make a distinction between Hutus who were members of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe and Hutu civilians, whether or not they were refugees. This tendency to put all Hutus together and “tar them with the same brush” is also illustrated by the declarations made during the “awareness-raising speeches” made by the AFDL/APR in certain places, according to which any Hutu still present in Zaire must necessarily be a perpetrator of genocide, since the “real” refugees had already returned to Rwanda. These “awareness-raising speeches” made in North Kivu also incited the population to look for, kill or help to kill Rwandan Hutu refugees, whom they called “pigs”. This type of language would have been in widespread use during the operations in this region.

"516. The massacres in Mbandaka and Wendji, committed on 13 May 1997 in Équateur Province, over 2,000 kilometres west of Rwanda, were the final stage in the hunt for Hutu refugees that had begun in eastern Zaire, in North and South Kivu, in October 1996. Among the refugees were elements of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe, who were disarmed by the local police force as soon as they arrived. In spite of everything, the AFDL/APR opened fire on hundreds of defenceless Hutu refugees, resulting in large numbers of victims.

"517. The systematic and widespread attacks described in this report, which targeted very large numbers of Rwandan Hutu refugees and members of the Hutu civilian population, resulting in their death, reveal a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide. The behaviour of certain elements of the AFDL/APR in respect of the Hutu refugees and Hutu populations settled in Zaire at this time seems to equate to “a manifest pattern of similar conduct directed against that group”, from which a court could even deduce the existence of a genocidal plan. “Whilst the existence of such a plan may contribute to establishing the required genocidal intention, it is nonetheless only an element of proof used to deduce such an intention and not a legal element of genocide.” It should be noted that certain elements could cause a court to hesitate to decide on the existence of a genocidal plan, such as the fact that as of 15 November 1996, several tens of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees, many of whom had survived previous attacks, were repatriated to Rwanda with the help of the AFDL/APR authorities and that hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees were able to return to Rwanda with the consent of the Rwandan authorities prior to the start of the first war. Whilst, in general, the killings did not spare women and children, it should be noted that in some places, at the beginning of the first war, Hutu women and children were in fact separated from the men, and only the men were subsequently killed.

"518. Nonetheless, neither the fact that only men were targeted during the massacres, nor the fact that part of the group were allowed to leave the country or that there movement was facilitated for various reasons, are sufficient in themselves to entirely remove the intention of certain people to partially destroy an ethnic group as such. In this respect it seems possible to infer a specific intention on the part of certain AFDL/APR commanders to partially destroy the Hutus in the DRC, and therefore to commit a crime of genocide, based on their conduct, words and the damning circumstances of the acts of violence committed by the men under their command. It will be for a court with proper jurisdiction to rule on this question."

33 comments:

texasinafrica said...

Paragraph 5, I think you mean "acts of genocide BY" instead of "against."

Wow, wow, wow.

texasinafrica said...

I mean, paragraph 6.

zw said...

This is explosive stuff.

Is there any place to access the report before Monday?

Miss Marmelstein said...

this is huge. i'm absolutely stunned that this was leaked. thanks for publishing it, this could be such a big deal....

ColoredOpinions said...

I read somewhere (can't find that back, maybe french source) a month or a little longer ago, that this report was coming.

ambrose said...

There have been many UN reports which in the past have been watered down or simply disappeared. Human rights activists from around the world, particularly the Greatlakes region should stand up against the attitude of the UN Secretary General towards changing the spirit of the report. It accused explicitly fighting forces of acts of genocide against Hutu refugees according to investigations done on the ground and talking to witnesses. Let's be it. Paul Kagame should not continue to take every one hostage each time someone points a finger to his crimes.

Jason Stearns said...

I will be posting bits and pieces of the report over the next couple of days. I'll also see if I can upload it to WikiLeaks.

Nkunda said...

Jason:

Thanks for sharing this extremely important document. The idea of uploading it to WikiLeaks is heroic.

MissBwalya said...

WOW. Thanks for sharing this information. I'll be waiting to see how the Kagame administration, the AU, and others respond or don't respond.

jobitek said...

Heartbreaking. Now that this document has seen the light, ki Moon and co will have to do some serious back tracking to call it what it isn't. It is what it is and it sucks for us all.

Nell Okie said...

Thank you, once again, Jason!

Damien said...

many congolese have written on this matters,is not new for congolese, only the so called united nations refuse to believe on this issues.Kabila never have an army force, only museni and kagame betwen 1993-2001.betwen 2001-2003 kabila was dead and eastern congo was occupied by rwanda everybody know that.

friends of congo said...

One can only hope this report will be a building block for securing justice for the people of Congo and the Great Lakes region and strike a blow against impunity that exist from the local level to the highest levels of the international community. As you know other institutions in the international community have been out front on these crimes committed by the RPA. The 2008 Spanish indictment (http://jicj.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/6/5/1003) of 40 top officials in the Rwandan government is a case in point. Kagame himself would have been prosecuted if he were not a head of state. The 2005 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling (http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/116/10455.pdf ) against Uganda is another case in point -- Rwanda would have undoubtedly met the same fate as Uganda if they were party to the ICJ and not outside of its jurisdiction like its key sponsor, the US.

We are amazed however to see that The Garreton Report (http://tinyurl.com/garreton-report) of the late 1990s has resurfaced in spite of the Clinton Administration's success in suppressing the report in order to protect Madeleine Albright and Susan Rice’s so-called "Renaissance" leaders in Central Africa (http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_lost_continent), all of whom have the blood of millions of Africans on their hands.

The global community would have missed a central point and drawn insufficient lessons should we focus solely on Kagame or even Jospeh Kabila (his participation in the Tingi Tingi massacres could certainly make him a cell mate of J. P. Bemba at the ICC). What is probably most damning is the concerted efforts of US administrations (see L’Afrique En Morceaux by Jihan El-Tahri - http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xup7u_lafrique-en-morceaux-1_events) in suppressing these reports to protect their strongmen (Mainly Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni) in Central Africa in spite of their commissions of war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide.

A key question coming out of this is whether president Obama will continue the policies of past administration in supporting strongmen in Africa at the expense of millions of innocent Africans or will he breathe life into his 2009 Ghana speech where he called for the support of strong institutions. The delivery of military equipment by AFRICOM to Rwanda on the eve his inauguration is not a good sign.

Bernard Desgagné said...

"It should be noted that certain elements could cause a court to hesitate to decide on the existence of a genocidal plan, such as the fact that as of 15 November 1996, several tens of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees, many of whom had survived previous attacks, were repatriated to Rwanda with the help of the AFDL/APR authorities and that hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees were able to return to Rwanda with the consent of the Rwandan authorities prior to the start of the first war."

Hutus were allowed to return... and die on the way to Rwanda, due to lack of water. Then, the ones who made it to Rwanda ended up, for a large part, as the rest of Hutus, being victims of major discrimination, being tried with the fake justice of gacacas and being sent to prison, where many died in horrendous conditions.

Jean Paul said...

Any confusion, watch that ideo recorded by Guardian:

http://freeuganda.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/genocide-against-the-hutu-people/

rugwironor said...

To Bernard Dédaigné

Recently in June 2010, Kagame himself said in a press conference in Kigali that they decided to kill hutus in congo in 1996-1997 and they did so.
So, there is no doubt that RPA commited the genocide against hutus in congo and even in rwanda.

onedeadbudgie said...

"Their standard was two independent sources for each incident."
So what is a "source" in this context and who decided it was "independent"? I thought I heard JS refer to "witnesses" not "sources" on the BBC. Is a "source" an eye witness?
Many people think HRW is "independent" but it clearly is not.
Or are we talking about people for whom the truth might be whatever they think you want to hear or serves their own particular agenda?
It will be interesting to read the full published report and know who produced it.
Whatever might have happened in the past, the FDLR is still active, funded no doubt by Rwandans who wish to destroy their country (again). They don't seem much like victims to me.

Peter said...

Some genocide. Eighty percent of the Rwandan population is "Hutu". Duh!

Tony said...

Some people try to accuse not only Kagame but also Kabila father and son, the report talks mainly about AFDL/RPA and sometimes AFDL/RPA/BAF. This is to accuse everybody on the African side and to put all the fighting parties on the same side and on the other side you have the West that is holy and synonymous of human rights and civilization. This hypocrisy is disgusting.

Aldo Ajello, special envoyé of the European Union said this: «Nous avons assez d’informations pour savoir que des massacres ont effectivement eu lieu. Nous avons également suffisamment d’informations pour savoir que ces massacres étaient le résultat d’un agenda rwando-rwandais et que Kabila n’a rien à voir avec cela. Il a été laissé complètement en dehors de cette affaire. C’est un bataillon rwandais qui a été à l’œuvre». De Morgen, 24 march 1998.

Emin Pasha said...

There were a number of contemporaneous accounts of the killings in 96-97: Scott Campbell for HRW (What Kabila is Hiding) and Howard French in the NYT, as well as the Garreton report. What I want to know, in far greater detail than I do, is what the US knew and did during those years. Did the US know of and okay Kagame's initial invasion of Zaire in 96? Did it have people posted with the AFDL? What did it know of how many refugees hadn't returned, and when did it learn that large-scale killings were taking place? What role did it play in stymieing the UN inspectors in 97? in derailing the Chretien initiative?

onedeadbudgie said...

513. "enabled them to identify people of Hutu origin by their name or village of origin"

Is this credible? Hutu and Tutsi lived in the same villages. To say you were from a particular village did not identify you as one or the other. And are Rwandans identifiable as Hutu or Tutsi by their names - are there exclusively Tutsi and Hutu names? I do not believe so.

515. "Furthermore, no effort was made to make a distinction between Hutus who were members of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe and Hutu civilians, whether or not they were refugees."

Did they wear uniforms? No. How could you tell who was a non-combatant? A woman with a grenade in her bag to use and a baby on her back. What is she?

"Many of the reports of killings of Congolese and Rwandan Hutu civilians were corroborated by eyewitnesses."

I see. How many is many? And what about the reports not so corroborated? How credible are they? How can they be part of allegations of Genocide?

Finally, most of the killings are said to be the responsibility of "AFDL/APR". Which exactly? Was Rwanda responsible for the AFDL? What was their make up? Were they all Rwandans or under Rwandan command? No. So this making Rwanda responsible for everyone's acts is it?

connect58 said...

I agree with onedeadbudgie. the report makes continuous references to AFDL/APR/FAB --- these are different elements at work. ( although if anyone can enlighten me as to the term APR instead of RPA I would appreciate it.)

fact - Kagame ended the genocide in Rwanda
fact - 800,000 were killed in Rwanda
fact - RPA by the admission of UNHCR office in Kigali was responsible for peaceful repatriation and resettlement of many Hutus
fact - to prove Genocide you need command control from top - and Kagame needs to be implicated. Not only there is no evidence of that, it goes against what has transpired since RPF victory in Rwanda.
you say 10s of thousands of Hutus were killed ? thats it ? only 10s of thousands as opposed to the hundreds of thousands killed by the Hutu ?
a final question: Are we really doing a favor to the world by now making victims of the FDLR ?

Peter said...

"Are we really doing a favor to the world by now making victims of the FDLR?"

That's the point. In these people's demented reasoning, bringing destabilization back into the region is the best way to move forward.

I guess it gives NGOs lots of work as a consequence, making them feel busy and invaluable, the sine qua non of development.

Otherwise what's a disaster-relief NGO to do with his time if there's no chaos around him?

The order and progress represented by Kagame and Rwanda must be grating to many of these people.

onedeadbudgie said...

My point is that a few obvious questions jump out from the text published here. Maybe they will be answered in the full text but it is easy to make allegations, as we all know. Let us see if the report and how it has been produced really stands up as credible.
We all know that the NGO community/international press has been set very much against Rwanda for a long time e.g. HRW who are now again pressing for Aid to be stopped. I am told the "anti-imperialist left" may be behind this but what do they want us to have, rule by HRW?

The fact that one UN investigator quoted comes from Montreal is not encouraging. Of course if the methodology does not stand up much of the damage will already have been done by the leaking which may have been the idea.

connect58 said...

aaah now that is an idea. to stop aid. I think Kagame actually likes to get away from it too. with aid comes the golden strings. true sovereignty means slowly weaning off from aid.

Konga said...

Thanks for sharing this.


@ connect58. "a final question: Are we really doing a favor to the world by now making victims of the FDLR ?"

I suggest you watch 'kisangani diary' and you will see that all these refugees killed by the AFDL/APR coalition (or simply APR as we all know that Kabila had no army except those 'kadogos') were not all FDLR (far from that)and this was just a sample of the extent of the massacres...

Don't get me wrong, I think what happened in Rwanda in April 1994 was an abomination but that does not justify what happened and continues to happen afterward in the DRC.

I am not sure this will happen but I pray Kagame and his Congolese accomplices will one day pay the price for all these innocent lives taken.

connect58 said...

Konga - I know there were many killed by the AFDL/APR. war crimes were committed on all sides. All I am saying is that this report is going to play into the hands of the FDLR as the righful "protectors" of the Hutus. this coming at a time that MONUC is winding down.

RWANDA FREEDOM RADIO said...

I think all Rwandans should bring back thanks to the Lord because now after all we went through since OCTOBER 1,1990 to this daY we can now see the justice beckoning I dont mind whatever BAN KI MOON does with this report the truth is that now there is enough evidence that I was mistreated and dehumanized and saw my parents,siblings being killed in Tingi Tingi when Sadako Ogatha was watching but now freedom is coming tomorrow.

Richard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard said...

Unbelievable how this has been an open secret for such a long time. Thank God now people would have a chance to perceive the Tutsi led government of Rwanda for what it truly is.

It is misleading to think that those wanting accountability to what happened in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide want to destabilise the region. To the contrary, not addressing these issues of impunity (past and current) is just a recipe for yet another ill legacy for future generations in that region.

It is wrong to suggest that dying from genocide is somehow superior to dying from a calculated violence, an assassination, a war crime etc… The death of an innocent person is a very bad thing indeed and those found responsible should be denounced, charged and if found guilty, locked away; regardless of the extent of victim-ness suffered in the past by their ethnic groups.

I can understand the sympathy some are showing for the Rwandan authorities however, this should not be translated into the award of the victimhood monopoly to the Tutsi. As far as I am concerned, the case of Rwanda can be compared to that of an abused child who grew up to become, a child abuser, on his/her own right.

Richard said...

@ onedeadbudgie

Ref # "Is this credible? Hutu and Tutsi lived in the same villages. To say you were from a particular village did not identify you as one or the other. And are Rwandans identifiable as Hutu or Tutsi by their names - are there exclusively Tutsi and Hutu names? I do not believe so."

If one cannot distinguish between living Hutu and Tutsi, I wonder how possible is it to then, identify some thousand lifeless skulls that helped to make a case for the 1994 genocide?

No this is not a competition about who deserves to be called a victim. A crime is a crime and it is only right to denounce those found responsible and when possible, lock them away, regardless of their ethnicity.

Anonymous said...

we were killed in Ituri not by Uganda or Rwanda but buy the gorvenment of kinshasa. One should also read on ituri Covered with Blood. We call Ituri tragedy since there was not ethnic conflict but The future will tell more..........

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