The final version of the UN mapping report on Congo

The final version of the UN mapping report on DRC is finally public and it appears very little changes have been made to the draft. It is the form rather than the substance that has been altered, as the "genocide" word has not even been taken out. Instead it has just been dressed with more "allegedly" and "it is up to a court to decide".
The final version of the UN mapping report on DRC is finally public and it appears very little changes have been made to the draft. It is the form rather than the substance that has been altered, as the "genocide" word has not even been taken out. Instead it has just been dressed with more "allegedly" and "it is up to a court to decide". Read Column Lynch's article for a more detailed comparison. The report also offers various counter arguments to the genocide thesis, stating that proving the intent (a requirement to qualify the massacres of genocide) may not be possible given the complexity of the context.

“In the absence of direct evidence of intent to destroy the group, such intent can only be inferred from circumstantial facts and evidence, that is, from the conduct of the alleged perpetrator, if it is the only reasonable inference possible. Where an alternative inference can be drawn from the conduct of the alleged perpetrator, the clear ‘intent to destroy’ required is difficult to establish. A number of alternative explanation or inferences could be drawn from the conduct of the RPA/AFDL in attacking the camps in Zaire in 1996 and 1997. The intent underlying the killings could be deemed as collective retribution against Hutu civilians in Zaire suspected of involvement with the ex-FAR/Interhamwe, reinforced by the RPA/AFDL’s conviction that upon destroying the camps, all Hutu remaining in Zaire were in sympathy with the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.”

Given the politics that have surrounded this report, it is impossible not to wonder what the main factor that led to the changes was: lawyers’ cautiousness or Kagame’s threats? I personally do not understand the UN need to qualify the facts in its report. The facts are there, they are damning and in the immediate it is all that is necessary to mobilise the international community. As Jeffrey Gettleman writes in The New York Times “Many analysts said it was precisely the use of the word “genocide” that so angered Rwanda’s leaders”. Using the word “genocide”, so unfortunately connoted in the context of Rwanda, is undiplomatic and impedes the chances to set up a tribunal that will actually bring justice to the victims (and compensation), instead of a mere sympathetic pat on the back. International justice sadly is political. It will be interesting to see what will be the outcome of the report, but my guess is absolutely nothing will happen for the victims. In fact, the UN secretariat has already stated that future steps were in Congo’s hands. I’ll spare you the sarcasm on DRC justice system. Not to mention that by doing so, the UN is putting the Congolese government in front of a classic peace vs. justice scenario (read what Jason Stearns of Congo Siasa wrote about the DRC government’s reaction).

First written for Going with The Wind

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