Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DR Congo peace talks to go on despite failure to sign deal

Good People,

DR Congo does not need to sign peace with M23. M23 need to be pushed to ICC Hague for grave crimes against humanity they committed in Congo.

Museveni is an interested party who is trying to confuse and implicate the DR Congo Government in his quest to force DR Congo to sign an agreement with M23 so Museveni can also escape from ICC Hague as the Chief Masterminder and coordinator of M23.
Check out and See Explainers here under about UN and Corporate Special Business Interest with its networking.............

I am mostly concerned about the pressure from UN Mary Robinson and Russ Feingold whose strong involvement to force DR Congo in a signed agreement could be based on vested interest on behalf of the Corporate Special Interest that are opposed to the people of Congos interest to achieve its freedom from the insurgency of M23 to escape justice. This should be viewed critically by the good people of the world as the signal of the two is viewed as engaging conflict of interest that is posing risk with great loses to the people of Congo.

All people of the world must stand together and reject the mission of the two that involve Musevenis interest and call for their investigation for the sake of Peace in the DR Congo.
All must comply and observe the law of the International Human Rights crime, violation and abuse; and all must respect the rule of law and all must play by the same set of Rules without discrimination or favor......... and all who have caused loses, pain and sufferings to the Congo people with other injustices must face the law irrespectively.
The DR Congo must not sign any agreement with the M23 and Museveni must be taken to ICC Hague.
Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

DR Congo peace talks to go on despite failure to sign deal

Burnt truck used by M23 rebel fighters is pictured after the rebels surrendered to the Congolese army in Chanzo village in the Rutshuru territory near the eastern town of Goma
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A burnt truck used by M23 rebel fighters is pictured after the rebels surrendered to the Congolese army in Chanzo village in the Rutshuru territory near the eastern town of Goma, November 5, 2013. Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebel group on Tuesday called an end to a 20-month revolt after the army captured its last hilltop strongholds, raising hopes for peace in a region where millions have died in nearly two decades of violence. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: SOCIETY CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)
Kampala (AFP) - Peace efforts between the Democratic Republic of Congo government and defeated M23 rebels will continue, Uganda said Tuesday, a day after the two sides failed to sign a much hoped for agreement.
The last-minute failure to sign a deal on Monday was a blow to international efforts to stabilise the African nation's conflict-prone east.
"Both parties are still here in Uganda... the talks have not been officially called off," Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told reporters.
Negotiations fell through after Kinshasa demanded changes to the agreement, but despite the failure to sign, DR Congo Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda insisted the government is committed to peace.
Uganda, which is hosting and mediating the long running talks, said it was expecting new rounds of talks but gave no date.
"As and when the DRC delegation will be ready, the facilitator will communicate a new date," Opondo said.
Tshibanda returned to Kinshasa on Tuesday, although the rest of the government team remained in Kampala.
The M23 rebels, one of the many armed groups operating in the mineral-rich but impoverished east of the DR Congo, have been routed by the national army backed by a 3,000-strong special UN intervention brigade.
The United Nations had accused both Rwanda and Uganda of backing the M23, a charge both countries have repeatedly denied.
With support from Rwanda notably whittled away to nothing in the face of concerted international pressure, the M23 announced last week that its 18-month insurgency was over.
The M23 said in a statement that the government had wanted to revise the text that already had been agreed, calling the demand "unacceptable".
It said the agreement had been settled earlier this month and "other stages preceeding the signature had been accomplished".
However, since that stage of the talks, the rebels had suffered a series of crushing military defeats, changing the situation on the ground and leaving government troops with the upper hand.
'Negotiations difficult'
The lack of a deal on Monday was a disappointment to many in the international community, who had hoped it would be a key step towards building peace in the troubled region.
UN special envoy to the Great Lakes Mary Robinson, the UN secretary-general's special representative in the DRC Martin Kobler, and US special envoy Russ Feingold voiced regret that the signing had not happened.
But they noted in a joint statement that the parties involved "expressed no differences on substantive points within the draft document".
The M23, a mainly ethnic Tutsi force of mutineers from the Congolese army, have no military leverage left and little room for manoeuvre.
A key outstanding issue is the fate of about 1,500 M23 fighters who have crossed into Uganda and whom Kampala has refused to hand over to the DR Congo. Around 100 more injured rebels have crossed into Rwanda.
More complicated is the fate of some 100 M23 commanders. These include M23 leader Sultani Makenga, accused of participating in several massacres, mutilations, abductions and carrying out sexual violence, sometimes against children.
"Any solution must allow the pursuit of accountability for those who have committed war crimes, crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, including those involving sexual violence and recruitment of child soldiers," added the statement from Robinson, Kobler and Feingold, which was also signed by African Union and EU officials.
Opondo said Uganda would continue to host Makenga until a peace deal was struck, at which point the UN and US sanctioned leader would be "forwarded to the appropriate authorities", without clarifying exactly who that might entail.
"He is not a prisoner, he surrendered himself... If you are being sanctioned by UN it does not remove from you from your international rights to be protected," he said.
"As of now, we have received no (arrest) request and even if we had, we would not have proceeded until the agreement is signed."
Delegations from both Kinshasa's government and the rebels turned up Monday to Uganda's State House in Entebbe, a town close to Kampala on the shores of Lake Victoria, but the two sides never met, only eyeing each other through a window, Opondo said.
"Negotiating with the Congolese is difficult generally, and negotiating for a peace agreement is even more difficult," he added.
Even if a deal is signed, stabilising eastern DR Congo will not be easy, with multiple other rebels groups still operating. Previous deals have foundered because they were not implemented or did not address underlying problems.


sambwa a17 hours ago
THE WAR IS OVER AND IT IS ALL OVER.                   
Mr. Wheel4 hours ago
Peace is difficult in Africa as they are a continent consisting tribal savages ! Nothing has changed in Africa in millennia ! Nor will it change in the future !
The truth does not cease to exist just because you choose to ignore it !

Jay5 hours ago
No one seems to be aware of the realities involved here. 1. Do not sign anything with the M23, it is an illegal rebel entity and signing anything with them is tacit recognition of their position as a legal organization, 2. The M23 have lost, why sign anything with them. 3.The entire discussion about "integration" is insane, why absorb sworn enemies who will, and I heard this personally, be segregated and you will be back to the same thing that caused them the first time around to rebel.4. The very fact that the DRC continues to discuss this shows weakness and indecision. 5. There are more than 40 armed maniacal groups still killing raping kidnapping stealing and extorting from the population in the Kivus, the time to move against them using the Brigade, which is what they were created for, is now. Don't let MONUSCO #$%$ foot around with them but demand there true intervention against any known mai-mai groups as well as others. Stop playing around and think,

malko8 hours ago
Uganda and Rwanda are accused of backing the M23 movement and still Uganda is involved in negotiating the peace deal between the DRC and the M23. Uganda made it clear that Sultani Makenga will stay in Uganda. Rwanda and Uganda governments want LANDS in the rich region of the eastern DRC and their puppets running the DRC will help them to achieve their objectives. The people of the DR Congo has only one option and that is to have a strong army made exclusively with Congolese citizens i.e both parents are of Congolese origin. As long as there will be people of mysterious origin in the DR Congo army and government there is nothing to expect from peace deal. Former president Mobutu had a Rwandese Bisengimana as chief of staff, Leon Kengo another as prime minister and many more. Laurent Kabila had a Rwandese James Kabarebe as chief of staff in the army. During the 2006 election process in the DR Congo it was forbidden to raise the question of the origin of another Rwandese Joseph Kabila.


tw18 hours ago
"DR Congo, M23 rebels fail to sign peace deal." Has anyone informed the M23 that an "X" will suffice as a signature.

Onward Christian Soldiers10 hours ago
Annihilate the Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebels.
Don't fall victim to insincere calls for a ceasefire, it's a ploy.
Kinshasa is stalling to gain time and logistics.                   

Mbanda1 day ago

The Irish woman is a lair. She is not in for peace, but for the interests of her masters.

white knight 19611 hours ago
Don't sign a deal with the M23 rebels. Go in and finish them off and kill them so you don't have to deal with these ones ever again. Kill every last one of the M23 rebels. Send in the Army and call in the reserves and crush the M23 rebels once and for all.

Rodney Dangerfield10 hours ago
Why sign peace deal if you're winning? Finish them off once and for all. Otherwise, they will continue to terrorize your people.

chris b14 hours ago
It is evident that uganda has vested interests,so pse get another mediator who is neutral.
Nathan1 day ago
M23 are buying time, they should be arrested and jailed!!!!

Nick17 hours ago
peace is very difficult to achieve in Africa because people don't forget

SwineFlew21 day ago
high hopes?
so true, with the current trend in Africa going strong, Congo can be one of the fastest growing economies very soon, because of its vast resources.
..... Remember Rwanda? Genocide in mid-1990s? Now one of the fastest growing economies of the entire world...................... The 21st century will be the African Century

Mbanda4 hours ago
Well, Kerry will sign for the rebels and Hollande for Kinshasa.


M23 General: Evolution of rebel leader at centre of Congo conflict

The man whom everyone here knows as “Brigadier General Sultani Makenga,” or simply “Afande,” is a man of few words. Instead, his actions against a government that considers him a renegade have seized the attention of the region and, from time to time, the world. TEA Graphic
The man whom everyone here knows as “Brigadier General Sultani Makenga,” or simply “Afande,” is a man of few words. Instead, his actions against a government that considers him a renegade have seized the attention of the region and, from time to time, the world. TEA Graphic
By JOINT REPORT The EastAfrican

Posted Tuesday, November 12 2013 at 16:47
In Summary
  • The man whom everyone here knows as “Brigadier General Sultani Makenga,” or simply “Afande,” is a man of few words. Instead, his actions against a government that considers him a renegade have seized the attention of the region and, from time to time, the world.

The network of derelict mud trails finally came to an end as we approached the gate to perhaps one of the most heavily guarded compounds in the Northern Kivu province of DR Congo.
A guard directed us to proceed into a spacious makeshift military base. Our mission was to meet the generals behind the M23 group that is at the centre of the current conflict in eastern DRC.
That was three weeks ago, well before last week Tuesday, when the group declared an end to its violent insurgency, following a string of military defeats at the hands of Congolese army forces backed by a new UN combat brigade. Then on Thursday, General Sultani Makenga surrendered himself along with hundreds of M23 fighters to the Uganda army in the Mgahinga National Park, in Kisoro district, Western Uganda.
As we reached the top of a hill overlooking the compound, from an imposing house there emerged an even more imposing man.
The man whom everyone here knows as “Brigadier General Sultani Makenga,” or simply “Afande,” is a man of few words. Instead, his actions against a government that considers him a renegade have seized the attention of the region and, from time to time, the world.
And yet long before he became supreme commander of the Congolese Revolutionary Army (the armed wing of the 23 March Movement rebel group) he was a young man from North Kivu searching for his vocation. It seems Makenga found his calling in life when the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) launched an armed struggle to topple Rwanda’s long-time dictator Juvénal Habyarimana, whose policies of ethnic discrimination had transformed his country into a powder keg.
Although he is not Rwandan, the young Makenga became one of the many people who joined the RPA to help it realise its goal of creating a more equitable and prosperous society, free of ethnic discrimination — work that became still more imperative in 1994 as the RPA raced against time to halt the genocide.
“In 1990, I was serving as a soldier in Uganda. After that, we went to help the Rwandans. They had a problem returning to their country,” he said. Nonetheless, General Makenga becomes tight-lipped about his personal experiences at the time. He prefers to frame the situation in terms of ideas rather than men; the focus should not be on him, but on the movement he has created.
Since its inception, M23 has been the object of allegations that it has committed crimes against civilians and has destabilised the region. Meeting leaders of M23 face to face, they are keen to tell their side of the story.
Seamlessly switching between Kinyarwanda and Swahili peppered with bits of French and English, Makenga explained that he was unaffected by sanctions and a travel ban placed by foreign powers on his person, insisting that M23 was a force for good in the region and that it had been created specifically to address some of the many problems plaguing the DRC.
“We fight the government because it refused to put in place a mechanism for mutual understanding. In the past, we were the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP). We fought the government for five years until we reached an agreement in 2009. However, there began to arise disagreements and the government began to arrest and kill people. I formed a group and went to a place called Runyoni in Rutshuru Territory — perhaps the government would listen to me or understand what we were saying. I created M23 on 6 May [2012].”

Makenga and his associates are keen to stress the date of M23’s formation. It has been widely reported in the international media that M23 was created in April 2012 when Bosco Ntaganda defected from the Congolese government army. Nevertheless, it was a press communiqué signed at Rutshuru on May 6, 2012, that announced the creation of M23 within the fold of the CNDP and the designation of Makenga as “co-ordinator” and sole commander of the movement.
Today, Bosco Ntaganda is a prisoner at The Hague. He had been named at one point as founder and leader of M23, a claim Makenga vehemently denies.

“We used to be together in the CNDP. The leadership of M23 is here. You know us. Bosco Ntaganda was not with us. He was not in M23. There was an international warrant for his arrest because of crimes he has committed, which he must respond to.”
To understand Makenga’s distaste for Ntaganda, a look at the political history of the CNDP sheds some light, on the schism that was to cripple the movement later on. The mention of Bishop Jean-Marie Runiga Lugerero, who was at one point president of M23, does not go down well with Makenga.
It was said Runiga promoted Colonel Baudouin Ngaruye to the rank of brigadier general against Makenga’s wishes in a deliberate attempt to undercut his authority.
Many observers consider Ngaruye to be close to Ntaganda; Makenga, on the other hand, is widely considered to be carrying on the tradition of Laurent Nkunda, the charismatic general who led the CNDP until his arrest in January 2009 in Rwanda following a push by Ntaganda — up until then his right-hand man.
Indeed, Makenga today still praises Nkunda as the senior figure in “the CNDP revolution” and hopes to see him return to the field. It might take Makenga some years to meet his friend Nkunda as Rwanda has shown no signs of releasing him soon.
“He’s Congolese like all of us. He must come.” At the time, Makenga shrugged off talk of a rift between pro-Nkunda and pro-Ntaganda camps in M23, noting that as president, Runiga had the authority to make promotions regardless of Makenga’s views.
Makenga said M23 is more organised and under one leadership. “There are no divisions in M23 — none. M23 was created by me. It is one organisation and we have one leadership.”
During bishop Runiga’s tenure as M23 president, which began with his appointment by Makenga in 2012, Runiga provided the movement with charisma and diversity.
However, tensions and mutual suspicions between the Runiga and Makenga camps gradually developed, culminating in the schism of February 2013.
The Makenga camp claims that Runiga was caught communicating with Bosco Ntaganda on the sly, harbouring the fugitive in secret, embezzling funds, supplanting Makenga’s authority and placing M23 members with a history of ties to Ntaganda in high-ranking positions.
Specifically, they claim that Runiga took advantage of the defection of Congolese parliamentarian Roger Lumbala to the movement to shake up the composition of M23’s delegation to the Kampala negotiations so as to favour the pro-Ntaganda camp.
The Runiga camp responded to these accusations by alleging that Makenga had been bought off by Kabila and is co-operating with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), remnants of the Interahamwe militia that carried out the 1994 genocide, who are known for their long-running conflict with the CNDP in all its manifestations. After several weeks, Runiga’s side lost the battle for control of the M23 name, and the bishop accepted internment in Rwanda, where he is still held today together with other M23 fighters.
Three days after Runiga’s surrender, Bosco Ntaganda emerged from hiding and turned himself in to the US embassy in Kigali. In Rwanda, Runiga explained his version of the story.
“I have never been with Ntaganda and his surrender to the American embassy for the ICC is a personal act. Whenever I would receive a call from him, I would tell him to gather courage and present himself before international justice so as not to give Kabila the chance to use the Bosco issue as an excuse for bad governance and obscure the legitimate demands of a whole people through M23.”

M23 puts forth a transparent, media-friendly image, and you will always find someone ready to answer the more controversial questions you ask.
On reports by the UN and human rights organisations accusing the movement of a litany of abuses, including killings, rapes, looting and forced recruitment of child soldiers Makenga said: “The UN is just spreading whatever news makes Kinshasa happy. They’re accusing us of killing people. If we were killing people, everyone in the area would flee. There is a refugee camp in this area. Activities are going on like normal. If we were killing people, no such activity would be present. On the contrary, in the area we control, there is more positive activity than in government-controlled territory. Our soldiers reject rape, murder and looting. But for anyone who makes mistakes, there is justice. We also don’t take anyone under the age of 18. We take recruits from the age of 18 and above.”
But one soldier we talked to said he was 17. In response, Makenga said that many of the people growing up in refugee camps do not know exactly when they were born, and that others might doctor their ages to gain admission.
But the allegation with the most dramatic geopolitical implications is that M23 has been receiving crucial supplies from Rwanda and Uganda. Not surprisingly, Makenga dismissed the idea outright.
“Any time someone in the Congo does well for himself and he is Rwandaphone, they call him a Rwandan. However, M23 is an organisation for all Congolese. But normally in the Congo, there is extremism in the government; when Rwandaphones speak out, stand up or ask questions, they are told they’re from Rwanda. In the past, when they controlled Rutshuru, the Armed Forces of the DR Congo (FARDC) worked with Rwandan Special Forces. Rwanda can’t be helping the FARDC and then be helping us. This is also the case for Uganda. Nine of our soldiers crossed into Uganda and were arrested; if they were helping us, they would have given them back. This is Kinshasa’s propaganda portraying us as non-Congolese.”
A defining moment in M23’s struggle, and an event that brought the movement to the world’s attention, was the capture of Goma in November 2012, and the decision by M23 10 days later to withdraw.
“The leaders of the countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, requested that we leave Goma, and in return, they began the Kampala talks. We respected what the presidents and the international community requested of us. If we talk with one another, we will talk about the protection of the general population. They are all our people; they are all Congolese.
“We fight against everyone who threatens security in this region because we want stability and security. That’s why we’re fighting the instability provoked by all those people — the FDLR, ADF-NALU, Joseph Kony, Mai-Mai and so on — they all work with the FDLR. It is they who caused the civilian population to flee. They are responsible for the camps you see in this region. So that’s why we’re fighting.
“We have the strength to take Kinshasa or anywhere else. But what we want is to talk about our problems, to talk about what the government isn’t doing. We want peace.”
By Ignatius Ssuuna and John Doldo IV

See Explainers................

Why Corporate Pillage Is a War Crime
Last Updated: November 2013

Why Corporate Pillage Is a War Crime

men mining
About this Image
Men mine for gold in Beni, Ituri province, Democratic Republic of Congo. Access to gold mining is one of the reasons for the ongoing conflict in the eastern regions of the country. Most of these artisan miners are combatants, who control these mineral-rich areas and profit from its exploitation. The majority of the gold mined in this region leaves the DRC illegally and is sent to Uganda.
Photo Credit: © Marcus Bleasdale/VII Photo
men mining

So pillage is a war crime?

The laws of war, also known as international humanitarian law, have long protected property against pillage during armed conflict. In the 1863 Lieber Code, which established the law of war for Union forces in the American Civil War, “all pillage or sacking, even after taking place by main force […were] prohibited under the penalty of death, or such other severe punishment as may seem adequate for the gravity of the offense.” In the Hague Regulations of 1907, two provisions categorically stipulate that “the pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, is prohibited,” and that “pillage is formally forbidden.”
After the end of World War Two, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 again reaffirmed that “pillage is prohibited.” These provisions bind all states. Codification of pillage as an offense in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and in the statutes of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone establish the prohibition as also binding upon non-state actors.

But what is the definition of pillage?

According to guidelines used by the International Criminal Court (ICC), pillage occurs when a perpetrator takes property from the legitimate owner for his or her private or personal use, without consent, in an armed conflict. Essentially, pillage is theft under the cover of war.
The requirement that the taking be perpetrated for the pillager’s “private or personal use” is controversial and likely only applies, if at all, to the ICC. Numerous cases brought after the Second World War successfully targeted representatives of companies that seized goods to support the Nazi or Japanese war effort; and jurisprudence in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and in the Special Court for Sierra Leone also dispenses with any “private or personal use” limitation.

Have people been prosecuted for pillage?

Most recently, Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, was convicted of war crimes charges that included aiding and abetting pillage during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former deputy president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is also accused of responsibility for pillage in the Central African Republic.

But what about companies or corporations?

Numerous businessmen and other officials, including representatives of companies such as IG Farben, Krupp and Dresdner Bank were convicted of pillaging goods from Nazi-occupied territory to support the German war effort and/or for more directly commercial ends. No business representatives have been prosecuted for such activity since the late 1940s. Nor have companies (as distinct from businessmen) ever been prosecuted for pillage.

Why revive prosecutions for corporate pillage?

Because pillaged natural resources are often among the principal sources of funding for regional conflict. Since the end of the Cold War, the illegal exploitation of natural resources has become a prevalent means of financing conflict in countries ranging from Angola and Afghanistan to Liberia, Burma, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The armed groups who perpetrate pillage rely on supposedly legitimate businesses and middle-men to turn pillaged goods into hard cash on the international markets.
In Cambodia, in the 1980s, rain forest timber shipped to Thailand provided funding for a decade long civil war. In Sierra Leone in the 1990s, rebel leaders traded the country’s diamonds for weapons, fueling a brutal conflict that left tens of thousands dead or maimed. Illicit trafficking of coltan, gold, diamonds, and copper continues to sustain hostilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The sale of pillaged natural resources fuels war. Businesses that knowingly buy, process and trade in these pillaged goods are all accessories to the war crime of pillage. They should be prosecuted as such.

What is Open Society doing about it?

The Open Society Justice Initiative has supported legal work to bring about prosecutions for corporate pillage and related crimes. This has included supporting the investigation and development of a legal case against Argor-Heraeus S.A., a Swiss precious metals refiner, over its role in processing almost three tons of gold illegally pillaged form the Democratic Republic of Congo during fighting there.
We have also published a manual for prosecutors, Corporate War Crimes: Prosecuting the Pillage of Natural Resources. This is part of a larger anticorruption strategy which seeks to target the go-betweens and middle men who facilitate, and profit by, corruption related to natural resources, as well as our broader efforts to create a more open and transparent political and economic environment.


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