IRIN-CEA Update 773 [19991006]

IRIN-CEA Update 773 [19991006]

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

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IRIN-CEA Update 773 for the Great Lakes (Wednesday 6 October 1999)


RWANDA: ICTR gives go-ahead for first "mega-trial" RWANDA: Early deployment of UN peacekeepers sought RWANDA: Human rights commission starts work DRC: Kisangani residents angry DRC: OAU calls for JMC funding BURUNDI: FRODEBU denies asking Muluzi to facilitate talks BURUNDI: World Bank approves second social action project GREAT LAKES: Interlinked conflicts cause critical refugee problems

RWANDA: ICTR gives go-ahead for first "mega-trial"

Judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the first joint trial of six top Rwandan genocide suspects, the independent Internews agency reported. It cited ICTR spokesman Kingsley Moghalu as saying the decision "could have an important implication for the course of other trials". The six are accused of conspiring to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Butare prefecture. They include former minister for family and women's affairs Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who was initially jointly charged with her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, an alleged Interahamwe militia leader. Others include Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nterziryayo, both of whom were former governors of Butare. Joseph Kanyabashi and Eliye Ndayambaje, initially charged separately, are former mayors of Ngoma and Muganza respectively in Butare prefecture. The trial is expected to begin next year.

RWANDA: Minister urges early deployment of UN peacekeepers in DRC

Foreign Minister Augustin Iyamuremye has called for the earliest possible deployment of UN forces in DRC, as all the conflicting sides have now signed the Lusaka peace accord. Addressing the UN General Assembly on Saturday, he accused the Kinshasa government of training, equipping and recruiting ex-FAR and Interahamwe militias who were creating insecurity and promoting the ideology of genocide in the region.

Earlier, in an address to the UN Security Council, Iyamuremye warned the international community that if it did not contribute "energetically" to the struggle against the ideology of genocide, peace and security in the entire region would be endangered. He again stressed that the Lusaka accord be implemented as soon as possible. "As we speak, these forces of evil are still marauding around Rwanda," he said. "They are ready to recommence their odious work of extermination and destabilisation in the Great Lakes." The Lusaka accord was the "bearer of peace", he added. "Its failure will have disastrous implications."

RWANDA: Human rights commission starts work

The Rwandan human rights commission, established in May, has officially begun its work, DPA news agency said, citing Rwandan radio. Its president Gasana Ndoba said that over the next five years, the commission would research and investigate possible causes of past human rights violations. It would also track down those who violated human rights, in conjunction with Rwandan and international justice. The commission will work with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Meanwhile, Rwanda's representative to the ICTR Martin Ngoga said he would soon arrive in Arusha, Tanzania. He told the Hirondelle news agency he was still working out the definition of his tasks with the justice ministry. An ICTR spokesman said Ngoga's appointment followed discussions between the tribunal and the Rwandan government which expressed interest in having a liaison officer.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kisangani residents angry at Rwanda, Uganda

The people of Kisangani have reportedly protested against the involvement of Ugandan and Rwandan soldiers in their town's affairs. Sources in Kisangani told IRIN that residents held talks with the Kisangani governor in a meeting broadcast over local radio and television. They called for the immediate implementation of the Lusaka ceasefire accord and the withdrawal of all Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers from Kisangani. Furthermore, they requested the presence of UN observers in key towns in eastern DRC and an end to the "looting" of DRC's riches. Finally, the people demanded that the newly-announced "provinces" of Kibali-Ituri and Ruwenzori be dismantled and their "creators supported by Uganda" arrested.

DRC: OAU statement calls for JMC funding

The 59th session of the OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution on Monday expressed its satisfaction that the Lusaka ceasefire was "holding since the signing of the Agreement". It urged member states of the OAU and the international community to extend concrete support - in the form of urgent financial and logistical assistance - to the Joint Military Commission (JMC) mandated with implementing the peace agreement.

A statement from the grouping encouraged OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim to consider ways of mobilising financial resources for the DRC peace process, especially to support the JMC but also to allow the proposed opening of an OAU liaison office in the DRC, and support OAU efforts to facilitate the choice of a neutral mediator for the planned inter-Congolese talks. Finally, it requested that any financial assistance to the DRC peace be channelled through the OAU Peace Fund.

BURUNDI: FRODEBU denies asking Malawi's Muluzi to facilitate talks

The external wing of the opposition FRODEBU party has denied involvement in an alleged joint communique with Bujumbura that requested Malawian President Bakili Muluzi to co-mediate in the country's peace talks, 'The Guardian' newspaper said. In a press statement, FRODEBU chairman Jean Minani on Monday said his party opposed the idea that President Muluzi should take on the role of former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere who is undergoing medical treatment in London. The paper also quoted an official of the Nyerere Foundation, Mark Bomani, who said he was "not aware" of the proposal.

BURUNDI: World Bank approves second social action project

The World Bank on Monday approved the equivalent of US $12 million credit towards Burundi's second social action project, a World Bank statement said. The project will help diverse community groups to work together to maintain their priority investments. To achieve this, the project will address three components: mobilising and strengthening community capacity, reconstructing and constructing small-scale community infrastructure, and improving early child development. The poorest and most vulnerable groups will be targeted, the statement said.

GREAT LAKES: Interlinked conflicts cause critical refugee problems

The Great Lakes region is one "in which refugee problems have been particularly critical", with the extremely complex pattern of the DRC conflict creating "a fertile environment for the outbreak of smaller, violent sub-conflicts, likely to cause further population movements," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata said in a statement on Tuesday. Situations in which it had "little or no presence", such as parts of DRC, were particularly worrying for UNHCR, given that its core mandate was "the protection of refugees and the search for solutions to their problems," she added.

Central African conflicts continued to be connected and interlinked, not only due to their geographical proximity, but also through coalitions of defeated or disbanded armed groups, often complicating the protection task by moving along with refugees, Ogata told a meeting of UNHCR's executive committee. Refugee flows from the DRC conflict into Gabon and the Central African Republic marked "a progressive widening of the spiral of refugee crises" and - in spite of the Lusaka Agreement - UNHCR was concerned at the possibility of fresh and sudden refugee movements in DRC, the Republic of Congo and Burundi, she added.

Nairobi, 6 October 1999, 14:15 gmt


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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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