List of individual suspects in UN report on Rwanda-led genocide in DR Congo to remain confidential
Geneva – The perpetrators of the crimes detailed by the final UN report released Friday will only be made public on the request of competent court of law, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, but already, rights groups are demanding criminal investigations.
Releasing the 550-page report, Pillay said while the aim was not to establish individual criminal responsibility, information on the identities of the alleged perpetrators is being held in a confidential database maintained by her office.
However, the 21 armed Congolese groups which took part in the crimes are named as well as military forces of eight other states inside DRC from 1993-2003.
Pillay noted that a leak in August to the French newspaper Le Monde of an earlier draft that had been distributed to six countries in the region, led “to intense focus on one aspect of it” – namely the raising of the possibility that the armed forces of Rwanda and their local allies may have committed acts which could constitute crimes of genocide.
“The report stresses that this question can only be addressed by a competent court,” she said.
The report recommends that Congo’s government and the international community seek ways to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes and assist survivors. Already, rights groups have started calling for criminal investigations.
The release report Friday prompted angry rebuttals from Rwanda and its northern neighbor, Uganda. Kigali and Kampala insist the U.N. human rights office’s $3 million report is flawed and could harm security in Africa’s volatile Great Lakes region.
Among the eight countries named in the report, only Rwanda, Angola, Burundi and Uganda submitted their responses to the document. Rwanda filed a 30-page response dated September 30 in which it advances seven grounds which undermine the final report.
In her foreword in the report, High Commissioner Pillay states that “no report can adequately describe the horrors experienced by the civilian population” in the DRC, “where almost every single individual has an experience to narrate of suffering and loss…
“The report is intended as a first step towards the sometimes painful but nonetheless essential process of truth-telling after violent conflict… it looks to the future by identifying a number of paths that could be pursued by Congolese society to come to terms with its past, to fight impunity, and to face its contemporary challenges in a manner that prevents the re-occurrence of such atrocities.”
More than 1,280 individual witnesses were interviewed to corroborate or invalidate alleged violations, including previously unrecorded incidents, and at least 1,500 documents were collected and analysed by the 34-member team.