DRC: Leaked UN Experts final report(document)

Jambonews has obtained a copy of the UN Experts final report that has been submitted to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee on October 12th, 2012. The report confirms earlier allegations made against Rwandan and Ugandan governments regarding the support of the rebel group M23 in DRC. Jambonews provides you with the main conclusions.

Before the release of this final version, the experts had received a letter from the Rwandan government in response to their interim report. In the letter, the government asked for alterations in the content. In this final version, however, the Group of experts say they ‘found no substantive elements of its previous findings which it wishes to alter’.

The report goes on to state that Rwanda ‘continues to violate the arms embargo through direct military support to M23 rebels, facilitates recruitment, encourages and facilitates FARDC desertions, as well as providing arms and ammunitions, intelligence, and political advice.’ The Rwandan Permament Defence Secretary General Jack Nziza provides strategic advice and oversees logistic support to M23.

Moreover, the report suggests that recruitments for the M23 group were under responsibily of the Rwandan Minister of Defense James Kabarebe and took place in Rwandan villages. Hundreds of young boys and girls are believed to have been recruited in this process. Some boys were used on the front lines as cover for advancing units, often after merely a week of training. In addition, members of the RPF, the current ruling party in Rwanda under General Paul Kagame, are said to have been recruiting sympathizers and raising funds from within Rwanda for the M23.

The report also states that M23 rebels carry most injured soldiers to the military hospital of Kanombe, in Rwanda. The deceased are buried by the RDF.

According to former officers and soldiers of the M23, Bosco Ntaganda is still the highest commander of the rebels, while Makenga is responsible for the operations and coordination of the M23 with allied armed groups. As for Laurent Nkunda, who is assigned to residence in Rwanda, it is said that he has violated the travel ban and has visited M23 at Runyonyi to encourage his officers.

Violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law

Following the creation of the M23, local communities in the eastern DRC have suffered”widespread human rights violations”. The rate of violence endured by civilians from different armed groups, FARDC included, has risen and has since April 2012 caused 400 000 people to flee.

The Group of Experts has identified multiple cases of mass rape by the Rai Mutomboki, the Mai Mai Morgan and the FDLR in 2012. At the end of September, the UN and International Human Rights NGO’s have documented 46 rapes committed by the M23.

Moreover, commanders of the M23 have given orders for extra-judicial executions of at least 15 recruits. Ntaganda and Makenga alone have ordered for the execution of at least 20 prisoners. The RDF, on the other side, has executed M23 escapees.

The Full report

Jane Nishimwe