In an internal memo, seen by Reuters on Friday, the United Nations' Office of Legal Affairs wrote to peace-keeping chief Alain Le Roy soon after the offensive began outlining the strict conditions under which MONUC could back the anti-rebel drive.
"MONUC cannot participate in any form of joint operation with (army) units, or support an operation by those units, if there are substantial grounds for believing there to be a real risk of them violating international humanitarian law, human rights law or refugee law," the memo said.
Clearly, human rights and civilian protection are non-sequiturs in DRC.
"Continued killing and rape by all sides in eastern Congo shows that the UN Security Council needs a new approach to protect civilians," said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The Security Council should send a group of experts to Congo to kick-start a serious civilian protection plan."
Whatever happened to Hillary Clinton's promises to train a 3,000 women police force?
If anyone thinks that the United States is off the hook, think again. The final report of the United Nations Group of Experts that was originally leaked to the press two weeks ago, is now available. The United States and China, among others, are cited for arms embargo violations and "irregularities," including but not limited to the delivery of a Boeing 727 aircraft by an American citizen, Mr. Tim Roman of Pennsylvania. Roman and his family are involved in mining operations in the United States and World Bank construction projects in the DRC. Roman has also been the private pilot for Congo President Joseph Kabila, and operates Wimbi Dira Airways which has been blacklisted by the European Union as unsafe and which has also been implicated in gunrunning and illegal weapons transfers.
The Group has continued to monitor compliance with the notification requirement incumbent upon all States of deliveries of military equipment and training to the FARDC. The Group has highlighted a number of irregular deliveries of military equipment and training from a number of different countries, including, but not limited to, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Sudan, but also irregularities regarding deliveries and training by China and the United States... 286. At the time of writing, the Group has been unable to obtain information on the sale and export of this aircraft to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and requested further information from the Governments of the United States and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Group contacted Mr. Roman, who said that the aircraft was sold by his company in Pennsylvania to Wimbi Dira Airways in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a company in which he serves as the Chief Executive Officer.
While news reports maintain that Nkunda's CNDP has "formally" integrated into the FARDC, it has retained most of its heavy weaponry. Parallel command structures and local taxation networks continue to operate under the CNDP faction loyal to General Bosco Ntaganda, who is now the deputy operational commander for Kimia II. Ntaganda is a war criminal, wanted by The Hague, and Congo President Joseph Kabila refuses to turn him over, perhaps because Ntaganda has gained control of mines in the region.
The faction loyal to General Nkunda "remains a singular force on the ground" and has not fully integrated into the FARDC. Nkunda's legal team has petitioned the Rwanda Supreme Court for a hearing. Nkunda has been held with no formal charges under house arrest in Rwanda since January.
Will it ever end?
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