Rwanda dismisses UN report detailing possible Hutu genocide in Congo
Rwanda responded angrily to a leaked UN report that said the country’s Tutsi-led Army might have carried out a Hutu genocide in the Congo.
The Rwandan government has angrily dismissed a leaked United Nations draft report that accuses the country’s Tutsi-led Army of committing a possible genocide against Hutus in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo during the 1990’s.Skip to next paragraph
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A government statement released today calls the UN draft "malicious, offensive and ridiculous."
But the 545-page report, seen by The Christian Science Monitor, is being widely hailed as a landmark document. It is the first time the UN has comprehensively catalogued serious human rights abuses committed between 1993 and 2003 in Congo, which was the stage for two brutal regional wars. A finalized report is expected to be published in the coming weeks.
While the report charges armies from around the region with serious abuses, the most controversial accusation is that tens of thousands of Hutus, including women, children, and elderly were slaughtered by the Rwandan Army and allied rebels in a series of systematic attacks between 1996 and 1997 that “could be proven as crimes of genocide” if it were to go to court.
The draft was verified by Luc Cote, the Canadian war crimes prosecutor who headed the 34-member UN probe. "All this [evidence] put together, submitted to a court of law, this may constitute elements from which you can infer the intent to destroy a group as such, which is genocide," he today told Agence France-Presse.
The accusations come as a major blow for Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Since 1994, he has won strong international support as the rebel leader who stopped the genocide in Rwanda, reconciled warring ethnic groups, and rebuilt the country. But that narrative would be massively undermined if the UN officially accuses his forces of genocide.
Claims that a genocide might have been committed against the Hutus may also shift international perceptions of Hutus as perpetrators and Tutsis uniquely as victims. The 1994 Rwanda genocide saw an estimated 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis, killed over 100 days, mostly by Hutus.