Thursday, July 26, 2012

U.S. Statement on Withholding Aid From Rwanda

In light of information that Rwanda is supporting armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Department of State has decided it can no longer provide Foreign Military Financing (FMF) appropriated in the current fiscal year to Rwanda, considering a restriction imposed by the 2012 appropriation act.

As a result, we will not obligate $200,000 in Fiscal Year 2012 FMF funds that were intended to support a Rwandan academy for non-commissioned officers.  These funds will be reallocated for programming in another country.

We will continue to provide assistance to Rwanda to enhance its capacity to support peacekeeping missions.

The Department continues to assess whether other steps should be taken in response to Rwanda’s actions with respect to the DRC.

The United States government is deeply concerned about the evidence that Rwanda is implicated in the provision of support to Congolese rebel groups, including M23.

The United States has been actively engaged at the highest levels to urge Rwanda to halt and prevent the provision of such support, which threatens to undermine stability in the region.

Restraint, dialogue, and respect for each other’s sovereignty offer the best opportunity for Rwanda and the DRC, with the support of their partners, to resume the difficult work of bringing peace and security to the broader region.

We are encouraged by the ongoing high-level dialogue among the states of the Great Lakes region, and we join the Security Council in taking note with interest of the communiqué issued by the eleven member states of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on July 12.

Developing a disciplined and unified army as part of a comprehensive security sector reform process remains critical to the stabilization of the DRC.

We support efforts to bring to justice alleged human rights abusers among the mutineers, including Bosco Ntaganda, who is the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant. We are concerned by reports that the mutineers have forcibly recruited child soldiers.

Hilary Fuller Renner
Bureau of African Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Sunday, July 01, 2012

UN Group of Experts Addendum

Excerpts from the UN Group of Experts Report on 
Rwandan Complicity in the Armed Rebellion in Eastern Congo

Since the outset of its current mandate, the Group has gathered evidence of arms embargo and
sanctions regime violations committed by the Rwandan Government. They include:

Direct assistance in the creation of M23 through the transport of weapons and soldiers
through Rwandan territory:
• Recruitment of Rwandan youth and demobilized ex-combatants as well as Congolese refugees for M23;
• Provision of weapons and ammunition to M23;
• Mobilization and lobbying of Congolese political and financial leaders for the benefit of M23;
• Direct Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) interventions into Congolese territory to reinforce M23;
• Support to several other armed groups as well as FARDC mutinies in the eastern Congo;
• Violation of the assets freeze and travel ban through supporting sanctioned individuals.

Other Transgressions:
The Rwandan Defense Force (RDF) has also deployed demobilized former FDLR combatants to reinforce M23.

The RDF has been providing military equipment, weapons, ammunition, and general supplies to M23 rebels.

RDF units themselves have also been deployed to reinforce M23 for specific operations at Runyoni.

Senior Rwandan officials have also been directly involved in the mobilization of political leaders and financial backers for M23. They include figures such as: General Jacques Nziza, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence,General James Kabarebe, the Rwandan Minister of Defense,General Charles Kayonga, the RDF Chief of Staff.

Experts on Whether Rwanda Had Opportunity to Address Claims in Report
58. The Group has made extensive efforts to engage with the Rwandan Government regarding its findings, with some limited success. All six members of the Group participated in an official visit to Kigali from 12 to 14 May 2012, though the Rwandan Government did not receive them for any substantive meetings to
discuss these issues.

FOTC Recommendations:
1. United Nations should impose sanctions on the Rwandan regime for its violations.
2. United States Congress should hold a hearing to review aid to the Rwandan military and discern whether the Leahy Amendment has been violated.
3. United States Secretary of State should enforce U.S. Law - Section 5 of The Democratic Republic of Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act or PL 109-456.

Download complete addendum here: