US War Crimes Chief Stephen Rapp in Kinshasa: Rwanda support to M23 undermines stability in the regiSaturday, August 11, 2012 - 12:54, by Alex Engwete
(PHOTO: Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp)
Stephen J. Rapp, United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes
Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice, is visiting the
African Great Lakes region, visited Kinshasa this week.
According to the State Department, "Ambassador Rapp is on foreign
travel to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, where he will
participate in official meetings on global criminal
Rapp was recently apparently misquoted in a report by The Guardian
that claimed he was threatening the indictment of top Rwandan leaders
by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes committed in
the DRC by the Rwandan-backed M23 insurgents.
On Thursday, August 9, Rapp held a press briefing at Kinshasa American
On Friday, August 10, he flew to eastern Congo, before heading to
Kigali for talks with Rwandan authorities, according to news reports.
At his press briefing, Rapp made the following statement (my
translation from the French):
" We are very concerned, and we continue to monitor the deteriorating
security and humanitarian situation in eastern Congo, as well as the
increase, noted by various international and Congolese humanitarian
organizations, of cases of gender-based violence, abduction and forced
recruitment of children by some armed groups.
"We firmly condemn such acts of violence.
"The United States government will do everything possible to help the
government of the DRC bring to justice those responsible of such acts,
so as to have the rule of law prevail, and to ensure that they are
promptly held to account for their acts.
"The UN Security Council and the High Commissioner on Human Rights
Navi Pillay have recently cited five senior officers who have in the
past participated in atrocities against civilians and who should be
brought to justice: Bosco Ntaganda, Sultani Makenga,
Baudouin Ngaruye, Innocent Zimurinda and Innocent Kaina.
"The increasing unrest in eastern DRC is the direct consequence of the
mutiny issued from the Congolese armed forces and triggered by the
armed group called 'M23.'
"That has forced the Congolese armed forces and the UN peacekeeping
force to redirect resources slated for other regions that are prey to
"We support efforts by the DRC to put an end to the M23 mutiny and to
bring to justice Bosco Ntaganda, who is under an arrest warrant of the
International Criminal Court, as well as any other alleged author of
human rights violations among the leaders of the mutiny, who,
according to various reports, are allegedly recruiting child soldiers.
"The United States is very concerned by the support of Rwanda to M23.
"We have asked Rwanda to stop and to prevent such support from its
territory, to the extent that that support has undermined stability in
"Violence must stop and a long-term peaceful solution needs to be
found, which respects the sovereignty of the Congolese state and which
allows the DRC government to fully control its territory and its
PHOTO CREDITS: Via: international.ucla.edu
Alex Engwete is the nom-de-plume of a Congolese-American freelance writer, consultant and blogger based Kinshasa, DRC, and Washington, DC. (Read on!)