Friday, September 3, 2010

Documents On The UN Mapping Report

Posted by Jason Stearns on his blog
Congo Siasa

3 September 2010

As I am sure you have seen, the UN High Commission for Human Rights has decided to postpone the publication of the UN mapping report for another month, so as to allow the countries concerned to formulate their responses and publish them at the same time.

In the meantime I have uploaded the leaked draft of the mapping report along with the responses of the Congolese government and the Rwandan government.

UN Mapping Report (June 2010 draft)
Congolese government response
Rwandan government response

Thursday, August 26, 2010


by Jason Stearns

Thursday, August 26, 2010

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 refugee and Congolese Hutu could constitute a crime of genocide. This will be a bombshell for Paul Kagame's government, which prides itself of having brought an end to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and have built their reputation and their appeal to donors on their promotion of post-genocide reconciliation. This report will rock the internet for months and years to come, its political improtance is hard to overstate.

A few words of caution. The report was not based on the same high standards of a judicial investigation, it was intended to provide a broad mapping of he most serious human rights abuses between 1993 and 2003. Indeed, the report says that an international court will have to be the final arbiter whether the RPA/AFDL did 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, it was their mandate to documents crimes of genocide, and they were rigorous: In total, the team gathered evidence on 600 incidents of violence (not just on the genocide allegations). 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 the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon 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 I have even heard that they will withdraw from the UN all together, becoming "associate" or "observer" states. 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.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010





MICHELLE FAUL | 08/23/10 05:17 PM | AP

JOHANNESBURG — Rwandan and Congolese rebels gang-raped nearly 200 women and some baby boys over four days within miles of a U.N. peacekeepers' base in an eastern Congo mining district, an American aid worker and a Congolese doctor said Monday.

Will F. Cragin of the International Medical Corps said aid and U.N. workers knew rebels had occupied Luvungi town and surrounding villages in eastern Congo the day after the attack began on July 30.

More than three weeks later, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo has issued no statement about the atrocities and said Monday it still is investigating.

Cragin told The Associated Press by telephone that his organization was only able to get into the town, which he said is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from a U.N. military camp, after rebels ended their brutal spree of raping and looting and withdrew of their own accord on Aug. 4.

At U.N. headquarters in New York, spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday that a U.N. Joint Human Rights team verified allegations of the rape of at least 154 women by combatants from the Rwandan rebel FDLR group and Congolese Mai-Mai rebels in the village of Bunangiri. He said the victims are receiving medical and psycho-social care.

Nesirky said the U.N. peacekeeping mission has a military company operating base in Kibua, some 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) east of the village, but he said FDLR attackers blocked the road and prevented villagers from reaching the nearest communication point.

Civil society leader Charles Masudi Kisa said there were only about 25 peacekeepers and that they did what they could against some 200 to 400 rebels who occupied the town of about 2,200 people and five nearby villages.

"When the peacekeepers approached a village, the rebels would run into the forest, but then the Blue Helmets had to move on to another area, and the rebels would just return," Masudi said.

There was no fighting and no deaths, Cragin said, just "lots of pillaging and the systematic raping of women."

Four young boys also were raped, said Dr. Kasimbo Charles Kacha, the district medical chief. Masudi said they were babies aged one month, six months, a year and 18 months.

"Many women said they were raped in their homes in front of their children and husbands, and many said they were raped repeatedly by three to six men," Cragin said. Others were dragged into the nearby forest.

International and local health workers have treated 179 women but the number raped could be much higher as terrified civilians still are hiding, he said.

"We keep going back and identifying more and more cases," he said. "Many of the women are returning from the forest naked, with no clothes."

He said that by the time they got help it was too late to administer medication against AIDS and contraception to all but three of the survivors.

Spokeswoman Stefania Trassari said her U.N. Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid was monitoring the situation but that access for humanitarian workers remains "very limited due to insecurity."

Luvungi is a farming center on the main road between Goma, the eastern provincial capital, and the major mining town of Walikale.

Kacha said on one day during the rebel occupation Indian peacekeepers had provided a military escort against the rebels to a large commercial truck traveling from Kemba to Luvungi, which is near a cassiterite mine and about 88 miles (140 kilometers) south of Goma.

U.N. mission spokesman Madnodje Mounoubai promised to get military comment on the assumption that the peacekeepers were protecting commercial goods but not civilians, which is their primary mandate.

Survivors said their attackers were from the FDLR that includes perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide who fled across the border to Congo in 1994 and have been terrorizing the population in eastern Congo ever since, according to Cragin. The Rwandans were accompanied by Mai-Mai rebels, he said, quoting survivors.

Masudi, the civil society leader, said the rebels arrived after Congolese army troops without explanation redeployed from Luvungi and its surroundings to Walikale. He said this happened after some soldiers deserted and joined rebels in the forest.

Rape as a weapon of war has become shockingly commonplace in eastern Congo, where at least 8,300 rapes were reported last year, according to the United Nations. It is believed that many more rapes go unreported.

Congo's army and U.N. peacekeepers have been unable to defeat the many rebel groups responsible for the long drawn-out conflict in eastern Congo, which is fueled by the area's massive mineral reserves. Gold, cassiterite and coltan are some of the minerals mined in the area near Luvungi, with soldiers and rebels competing for control of lucrative mines that give them little incentive to end the fighting.

"The minerals are our curse with the FDLR looting on one side and the soldiers looting on the other," said Masudi.

The Congolese government this year has demanded the withdrawal of the $1.35 billion-a-year U.N. mission, the largest peacekeeping force in the world with more than 20,000 soldiers, saying it has failed in its primary mandate to protect civilians.

Mission officials have said that the peacekeeping army is too small to police this sprawling nation the size of Western Europe, and that its peacekeepers are handicapped by rebels using civilians as shields and operating in rugged terrain where they are difficult to pursue.

The mission also has a difficult mandate of supporting the Congolese army, whose troops often also are accused of raping and pillaging.


Associated Press Writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations

Monday, April 19, 2010

Now The World Is Without Me

An Investigation of Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Report: Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Oxfam America
Article: Oxfam International

Research on sexual violence in DRC is extremely challenging. Sexual violence is deeply stigmatized in Congolese culture and many of those affected live in remote or insecure regions. Thus, rigorous data are lacking and many important questions remain unanswered.

The report presents a retrospective cohort study of sexual violence survivors presenting to Panzi Hospital, with a specific aim of answering the following outstanding questions:

1. When, where and how are women being attacked and what makes them vulnerable to sexual violence?
2. How has the rape epidemic in South Kivu evolved over the last five years?


In South Kivu, sexual violence is pervasive, affecting women of all ages, ethnicities and marital statuses. Women are attacked everywhere, even in the privacy of their own homes. The sexual assaults are ruthless, with horrific reports of gang rape, sexual slavery, genital trauma, forced rape between victims and rape in the presence of family members. Sexual violence survivors often witness the torture and murder of their children and spouses.

An analysis of sexual violence trends over time revealed that the total number of reported assaults at Panzi Hospital had steadily decreased between 2004 and 2008. The analysis also demonstrated a civilian adoption of rape, with a 17-fold increase in the number of civilian rapes. These findings imply a normalization of rape among the civilian population, suggesting the erosion of all constructive social mechanisms that ought to protect civilians from sexual violence.

To the Congolese government and the international community must:

* Ensure that quality care is available for women in all areas, in order to save lives and preserve quality of life;
* Work to reduce sexual violence linked to military action;
* Build on the legal/justice initiatives taken to date, particularly the law on sexual violence and the government’s announcement of “zero tolerance” for crimes against civilians by its armed forces.
* Ensure that their protective deployments are tailored to local realities.

Attachment Size
Now, the world is without me (full report) 1.73 MB
Date of publication: April 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Role of Conflict Minerals in DR Congo

Maurice Carney, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Friends of the Congo

Jason Stearns, Coordinator of UN Group of Experts on DR Congo and PhD Student, Yale University

Thursday, April 15

6:30 – 7:30pm

Room 120, Yale Law School, 127 Wall St.

Join Jason Stearns and Friends of the Congo’s Maurice Carney in a conversation on conflict minerals and their relationship to conflict and human rights violations in the Congo. Minerals such as coltan, gold, and tin originating in the DRC are commonly used in the production of technological devices (cell phones, computers, mp3s…). In current dialogue on how to alleviate the current humanitarian crisis in the Congo, minerals are often mentioned as a driving force behind warfare and violence. In this discussion Mr. Carney and Mr. Stearns will explore the effects of conflict minerals and the benefits and or disadvantages of various initiatives, particularly in the NGO community. Come listen and participate in furthering discourse on the role of conflict minerals and how they may be able to affect the future of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sponsored by New Haven Alliance for Congo and Schell Center, Yale Law School

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RAISE Hope for Congo*


The conflict in eastern Congo is being fueled by a multi-million dollar trade in minerals that go into our electronic products. Over five million people have died as a result, and hundreds of thousands of women have been raped over the past decade. The armed groups perpetuating the violence generate an estimated $183 million each year by trading in four main minerals, the 3 Ts and gold. Read full details on the crisis.

Urge your Representative to support legislation for conflict-free cell phones, laptops and other electronics.

Urge your Representative to cosponsor the Congo Conflict Minerals Trade Act of 2009 (HR 4128). The bill will indentify any conflict minerals from Congo imported into the United States. It is the strongest effort to stop the scourge of conflict minerals in Congo.

Contact these influential members of the Foreign Affairs Committee now:

Mike Pence (R-IN)
Email Rep. Pence urging for support
Call (202-225-3021) Rep. Pence’s office directly
Send Rep. Pence a message on Facebook
Tweet Rep. Pence @RepMikePence about conflict mineral legislation (HR 4128)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Email Rep. Ros-Lehtinen urging for support
Call (202-225-3931) Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s office directly
Send Rep. Ros-Lehtinen a message on Facebook
Tweet Rep. Ros-Lehtinen @IRL to support conflict mineral legislation (HR 4128)

Ed Royce (R-CA)
Email Rep. Royce urging for support
Call (202-225-4111) Rep. Royce’s office directly
Send Rep. Royce a message on Facebook

Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Email Rep. Smith urging for support
Call (202-225-3765) Rep. Smith’s office directly
Send Rep. Smith a message on Facebook

Contact Your Own Representative
CALL, CONTACT, or EMAIL your Representatives's office urging him or her to support conflict mineral legislation (HR 4128)

Commit to purchase conflict-free cell phones, laptops and other electronics.

Help us increase demand for conflict-free electronics. Email the electronics industry leaders and urge them to make their products conflict free. The message is clear: “If you take conflict out of your cell phone, I will buy it.”

Urge your school, or other institution to go conflict-free.

Urge your campus or school to go conflict-free. Get your school to pass a resolution that publicly calls on electronics companies to make conflict-free computers and printers for your campus.

Help us grow the conflict-free movement!

Urge your friends to join you in coming clean for Congo.

Publicly call for support of conflict minerals legislation

Write an opinion editorial (op-ed) or letter to the editor of your local paper. Publicly urge your Senators to support conflict mineral legislation. Click here for tips on writing your editorial, or check out our Media Toolkit.

Raise money to support the conflict-free cause.

Millions of people living in Congo are affected by the scourge of conflict minerals. Host a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to strengthen the conflict-free movement. Your contribution will support our Congolese partners on the ground.

Recycle Electronics
Recycle your old electronics

By recycling your old cell phones, computers and other electronic products, you'll cut down on the need for new minerals. Visit electronic recyclers like Eco-Cell for more information.

RAISE Hope for Congo


A Proposal for a Third Party Monitoring & Enforcement Mechanism
By Jason Stearns and Steve Hege
A Compelling Proposal on Conflict Minerals

In early December, Enough participated in a small gathering of organizations working on the connection between conflict and natural resources in eastern Congo, convened by the Center on International Cooperation. The idea behind the workshop was to identify points of consensus particularly related to short to medium term efforts to combat the militarization of mining. Congo specialists Jason Stearns and Steven Hege recently published a proposal that encapsulates much of the thinking from the workshop, available here.

The concept note, “Independent Oversight for Mining in the Eastern Congo? A Proposal for a Third Party Monitoring & Enforcement Mechanism,” posits the need for greater independent oversight of mining and the minerals trade as an important means of supporting wider efforts to demand increased accountability both from companies involved in the trade, as well as the Congolese institutions that are responsible for its regulation.

Importantly, Stearns and Hege underscore the importance of making this independent monitoring team a joint effort between the Congolese government and the international community, and charging it with working together with the Congolese to establish a definition for the illegal trade in minerals. Moreover, they propose merging this mechanism with the burgeoning efforts to develop a map of Congo’s militarized mines, work pioneered by the International Peace Information Service and more recently assigned to U.S. government agencies in a law passed last year. They anticipate the mechanism would cost $3-5 million annually and be funded by international donors. The proposed mechanism would eventually facilitate the handover of its responsibilities to Congolese leadership, and is explicitly framed as one part of a wider effort to formalize the mineral trade.

Given the complexities of the mineral trade and the many powerful vested interests who continue to profit at the expense of Congo’s crisis, it can tempting to say that it’s just too difficult to do something about this problem. This proposal powerfully and succinctly suggests otherwise. It deserves to be widely read and thoughtfully considered.

Daniel Sullivan
Jenn Altoff contributed to this post.
The Enough Project/RAISE Hope for Congo