Three Great Lakes states – Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda – are trading charges of subversion, each accusing another of sponsoring rebels based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Outside powers should help the Congolese president resolve these tensions, lest a lethal multi-sided melee ensue.
Pressure increased on govt over alleged military presence in neighbouring DR Congo (DRC); security forces faced allegations of abuses amid COVID-19 lockdown. Local authorities and civil society in eastern DRC’s North Kivu province 15 April condemned alleged rise in presence of Rwandan military forces there. President Kagame 27 April denied presence of govt forces in DRC and claimed instead that Burundian military were operating in DRC’s South Kivu province. Armed group Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) 27 April denied allegations of involvement in 24 April attack in Virunga national park in DRC’s North Kivu Province which left eighteen dead including thirteen park rangers; rebels accused Rwandan govt forces of attack. Military 4 April detained five soldiers suspected of physical and sexual violence against civilians while enforcing COVID-19 lockdown – in place since 22 March – in capital Kigali’s Nyarutarama district. NGO Human Rights Watch 24 April accused security forces of having “arbitrarily arrested scores of people”, including journalists, for allegedly violating lockdown.
One year ago, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was mired in trouble, under serious time constraint because of the firm date by which its work had to be finished.
While a transition government is scheduled to be installed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in June 2003, the program of the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) for voluntary disarmament and demobilisation, repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration (DDRRR, henceforth DR) of foreign armed groups has remained a failure.
Nine years after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has reached another crossroads. The transition period defined by the Arusha Accords will be concluded in less than a year by a constitutional referendum and by multi-party elections which should symbolize the successful democratisation of the country.
There are just over five years left for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to complete the mission conferred upon it by the United Nations Security Council in November 1994. The Tribunal is halfway through its mandate, and in the past eighteen months, a number of new trials have begun.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda were once called the “new breed” of African leaders but hopes that they can deliver peace and prosperity to their countries are being severely shaken.
Seeking the leadership of the Francophonie is clearly part of Rwanda's goal for a greater continental and global role.
It’s been essentially the Paul Kagame show [in Rwanda] for the last two decades, and not too many people see that changing.
President Tshisekedi’s plans for joint operations with DR Congo’s belligerent eastern neighbours against its rebels risks regional proxy warfare. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to encourage diplomatic efforts in the region and Tshisekedi to shelve his plan for the joint operations.
Testimony by Mark L. Schneider, Senior Vice President, International Crisis Group to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on “Examining the Role of Rwanda in the DRC Insurgency”.
Originally published in Le Soir
Originally published in The Africa Report