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UN Stearns report released

December 14, 2008

Source :UN News centre

In its final report to the Security Council the Group of Experts, set up in 2004, said that while there is little documentation available to prove Rwandan material support to the rebel National Congress in Defence of the People (CNDP), it had found evidence that Rwandan authorities have been complicit in recruiting soldiers, including children, facilitated the supply of military equipment, and sent their own officers and units to the DRC to support the CNDP.


“The Group has identified at least three Congolese army commanders who are guilty of providing support to the FDLR,” Mr. Stearns said. “While this collaboration is widespread and regular, the Group has not been able to prove to what extent the top leadership of the army is involved in this practise but it”s cleat that they know and have done nothing to bring it to an end.”


The report noted that the FDLR obtains millions of dollars a year from the minerals trade, mostly through taxation of mines and traders, and that many traders are complicit since they know the gold, cassiterite, coltran and wolframite come from FDLR-controlled zones.

“We believe that the burden should be on the Congolese buying houses as well as on international mineral traders to conduct due diligence into the source of the product,” Mr. Stearns said of one of the planks in enforcing the embargo.

What every single person in North Kivu knows is now “official”: Rwanda supports CNDP and the FARDC forces cooperate with FDLR.

“The enemies of my enemies are my friends” is a principle as old as war.

This being said, the cake in North Kivu is very big. So big that, sometimes, enemies in the field can arrange things in order to share the cake, simply because there is enough for all. Meanwhile, ordinary people suffer the consequences. It is similar to what different mafia families have done in Italy for decades.

In the Kivu conflict money comes first, then politics. Greed is substantive, ethnicity is adjective.

I am sceptical about the consequences of this report. I remember the release of the report of the former panel experts in October 2003.  There was much noise, but for a short time, and business as usual continued. Unless a very strong (and continued) pressure from Western public opinion takes place, this text will follow the steps of former reports: oblivion. Unfortunately, too many powerful people want this text to go directly to the dustbin.

I will go in depth on the report when I find a little time. Colette Braeckman has already expressed her point of view.

You can download the full text here.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2008 12:27 pm

    My own, rather superficial, reading on what is happening in the Congo appears sufficient to tell me a number of things. Firstly, only an idiot would deny the cooperation between Nkunda’s CNDP and Kagame’s government in Kigali. Secondly, it is obvious that there is a similar link between Kinshasa’s FARDC and the FDLR. Moreover, the evidence that both these groups are committing atrocities is readily available.
    More sinister, however, is the role of the West, and the hypocrisy that accompanies that role in a conflict that has already cost the lives of millions and is in the process of costing the lives of millions more. With UN forces spread thin on the ground and already unable to protect the people in North Kivu, it is important that a signal be sent from Europe quickly. However, this signal will not come and, while this could very well be a case of the Europeans putting their own interests first, one can at least speculate as to the role of the United States in this decision, after all, just as the link between Nkunda’s CNDP and Kagame’s Rwanda should be clear enough even to the most myopic, obvious too is the CDNP’s and Kigali’s support from Washington.
    Europe will not send troops to the Congo and we can only hope that the United Nations can get reinforcements on the ground as quickly as possible. With an “Uncle Sam” that has already facilitated genocide in the region, involved in the bigger picture we should not, however, be too optimistic.

    • Blog admin permalink*
      December 15, 2008 6:33 pm

      Right. Obama is a man of values, though. But how many times before have we been deceived by politicians holding the flag of integrity? (I remember Tony Blair´s speech when he was elected). Let´s see what Obama is made of. We can not see that now, because for the moment he is just a man of words. He has to proof now that he is a man of deeds.

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