Congo Action Alert: Comply with International Criminal Court

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Summary:

CPT-Africa Great Lakes urges supporters to
contact their governments and the embassies of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC) and Rwanda to encourage compliance with the processes of the
International Criminal Court (ICC). 

Background:

During the past fifteen years, millions of
civilians have been displaced in the Congo and over five million have been
killed.  Armed groups have swept across
population centers, killing, abducting children, raping women and destroying
homes and farms.  Some of those
perpetrators are being brought to justice at the ICC in the Hague but others
are still at large.

Specifics:

1.    Gen. Bosco Ntaganda assumed command of
the CNDP (Congrès national pour la défense du peuple) rebel forces in late
January and immediately asked to merge his troops with the DRC military,
becoming part of a joint DRC/Rwandan military operation against the FDLR
(Forces democratiques pour la liberation du Rwanda).  These are former Rwandan Hutu forces, some of
whom had been involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.  The ICC charged Bosco with war crimes, but
the DRC is willing to use his forces to kill and chase back Hutu militias.  To allow Bosco to operate in the present
military operation is to loose a person charged with war crimes back into the
same arenas where those crimes were perpetrated.  Human Rights Watch is one of several groups
advocating that the DRC arrest Bosco Ntaganda and turn him over to the ICC.

2.    In early February Rwanda reported that
it had arrested Gen. Laurent Nkunda, former commander of the CNDP.  The CNDP has identified its primary goal to
be protecting Tutsis living in the Congo from Hutu FDLR militias.  (However, evidence suggests that Nkunda’s
forces also played a key role in funneling DRC’s mineral wealth to Rwanda.)  Nkunda is charged with mutiny from the DRC
military and has been accused of war crimes throughout the eastern part of the
Congo.  DRC has requested his extradition
so he can be tried in the Congo, but it is likely that war crime charges will
also be brought against him.  Rwanda
appears reluctant to have him extradited to the DRC because he has been waging
a proxy war in the Congo on their behalf.

3.    Civilian Congolese communities in the
path of the joint operation against the FDLR are at risk.  A negotiated settlement, leveraged by Rwanda’s
backers, the United Kingdom and the United States, would be a much more
practical and successful process than this dangerous DRC/Rwandan military
operation.

Action:

1.    Write to the embassy of the Democratic
Republic of Congo (President Kabila) urging the arrest of Bosco Ntaganda on
existing warrants pending with the International Criminal Court in accordance
with DRC’s international obligations.

2.    Write to the embassy of Rwanda
(President Kagame) to cooperate with extradition requests of Laurent Nkunda to
the DRC for trial.

3.    Ask your own government to urge Rwanda
to hold negotiations with the Hutu majority in its country so that a resolution
might allow Hutus in the Congo to return home.

Even
though the USA and Rwanda have not ratified the ICC agreements, asking them to
uphold these processes is still appropriate and important.

Addresses:

      USA: 1) Embassy of the Democratic Republic
of Congo; 1800 New Hampshire Ave.; Washington, DC 20009; Tel: 202-234-7690;
Fax: 202-237-0748; 2) Embassy of Rwanda; 1714 New Hampshire Ave. NW;
Washington, DC 20009; Tel: 202-232-2882; Fax: 202-232-4544; e-mail:
rwandemb@rwandemb.org

      CANADA:
1) Embassy of the
Democratic Republic of Congo; 18 Range Road; Ottawa, ON K1N 8J3; Tel: 613-230-6391;
Fax: 613-230-1945; 2) Embassy of Rwanda; 153 Gilmour St.; Ottawa, ON K2P 0N8; Tel:
613-569-5420; Fax: 613-569-5421; e-mail: generalinfo@ambarwaottawa.ca

UK:
1) Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo; 24 Southwark Bridge Rd.;
London, England SE1 9HF; Tel: +44-207-336-0101; 2) Embassy of Rwanda; 120-122
Seymour Pl.; London, England W1H 1NR; Tel: +44- 207-224-9832; Fax:
+44-207-724-9642; e-mail: uk@ambrwanda.org.uk

For current advocacy suggestions on
issues affecting the people of the Congo, contact Friends of the Congo at
https://friendsofthecongo.org

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