Obama Administration Accused of Blocking UN Report on Congo Rebels to Protect Dictator AllyJune 24, 2012
Paul Kagame with Michelle and Barack Obama (photo: Lawrence Jackson, White House)
A United Nations Group of Experts has uncovered information revealing Rwanda’s support for a Congolese rebel leader who is wanted internationally for using child soldiers. But the UN report, completed earlier this month, has not been released because of the section about the Rwandan involvement. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has been accused of applying pressure at the Security Council in order to protect the United States’ Rwandan ally, President Paul Kagame. Kagame was reelected president in 2010 with 93% of the vote.
At the center of the controversy is Bosco Ntaganda (aka “Terminator”), a former general fighting the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government. Wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2006 on charges of forcibly recruiting children as soldiers, Ntaganda and his forces have been aided by the Rwandan military, which has provided safe haven, as well military supplies, to the rebel army.
The assistance by Rwanda represents a violation of UN sanctions imposed against the providing arms to rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Rwandan government denies the charges.
Human Rights Watch has accused the U.S. government of using its influence to keep the UN report from surfacing.
Since the 1994 genocide between Tutsis and Hutus, the U.S. has sought to protect the government of Rwanda. Some observers say this is why the Obama administration is blocking the report to shield the actions of President Paul Kagame.
Spokesmen for the Obama administration have denied suppressing the controversial report, arguing that they are only asking for a delay to allow Kagame and his government to review the accusations.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
DR Congo: Rwanda Should Stop Aiding War Crimes Suspect (Human Rights Watch)
Is the U.S. Blocking a Controversial U.N. Report to Shield Rwanda? (by Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy)
Obama Trade Advisor Linked to Illegal Gold Deals in Congo (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)