Sudan Aiding Lord’s Resistance Army?

I was doing some research this weekend when I came across this BBC news story about recent allegations that Sudan is still aiding the Lord’s Resistance Army — one of the most brutal paramilitary groups anywhere in the world. Their brutality is especially chilling because they so frequently target children in their ongoing war against the government of Uganda.

Numerous leaders of the LRA are wanted by the International Criminal Court, but this hasn’t stopped Sudan from aiding the LRA numerous times over the years, and according to the BBC,

. . . the International Crisis Group says there are credible reports that elements of the Sudanese military are still aiding the LRA.

And yet despite this and the ongoing genocide committed by Sudan in Darfur, a resolution to do something about Sudan’s crimes against humanity cannot make it through the UN Security Council thanks to opposition from China.

When he visited Rwanda in 1998 to apologize for his administration’s sabotaging of efforts to prevent the genocide there, U.S. president Bill Clinton said that, “And never again must we be shy in the face of the evidence.” He would have been more accurate to have said that the international community would again and again ignore evidence of mass murder and genocide.


Sudan military ‘still aiding LRA’. Karen Allen, BBC, January 11, 2006.

Clinton meets Rwanda genocide survivors. CNN, March 25, 1998.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko Denies Rwandan Genocide Charges

Lawyers for Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the first woman to be charged with genocide by the international tribune prosecuting those alleged to have participated in the Rwandan genocide, maintained their clients innocence as the defense began its part of the trial.

Nyiramasuhuko and her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, are accused of organizing and inciting troops in the Rwandan town of Butare to carry out genocide. According to the prosecution, Butare was a town in which Hutu-Tutsi relations were generally good before the genocide, so the government sent Nyiramasuhuko and her son to the town to ensure that soldiers their followed through on the genocide plan.

Witnesses have testified at her trial that she instructed soldiers to rape the best looking Tutsi women before killing them. Ntahobali is accused of participating in the raping and killing of Tutsi women.


Rwandan denies genocide charges. The BBC, January 31, 2005.

International Criminal Court Convicts Rwandan Official for Genocide

More than four years after his 1999 arrest, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda convicted former minister of higher education Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda of both genocide and crimes against humanity. The 51-year old Kamhuanda personally led militias to a church and school to slaughter Tutsis who had sought protection there.

Kamuhanda was sentenced to life in prison. He is only the 17th person convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the eight years since it was established, though he is the fifth person convicted in the past two months.

In addition, thousands of people have been tried for genocide-related crimes in Rwanda where, unlike the International Tribune, defendants face the possiblity of the death sentence for their role in the genocide.


Genocide minister gets life term. The BBC, January 22, 2004.

Trial of First Women Accused of Genocide

In March the Christian Science Monitor ran a profile of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the first woman formally charged with genocide for her actions in allegedly facilitating Rwanda’s nightmarish violence in 1994. Not only is Nyiramasuhuko charged with genocide, but she is also charged with a crime against humanity for using rape as a tool of political violence.

The Monitor describes how Nyiramasuhuko became a rising star in the Hutu-dominated government. From starting out as a social worker in the Rwandan town of Butare, she became one of the highest ranking individuals in the Rwandan government.

When that government decided to carry out genocide against the Tutsi population, it ran into a problem in Butare. Hutu/Tutsi relations in Butare were generally marked by an absence of the sort of ethnic conflicts that manifested themselves in other parts of Rwanda. So when the genocide began, Tutsis fled to Butare where they hoped they would receive protection.

The government dispatched Nyiramasuhuko to the town to ensure that this did not happen and that the genocidal program was carried through. Nyiramasuhuko is accused of bring her only son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali and four others to create and carry out a plan which relied upon genocidal violence and rape. According to The Monitor,

It is alleged that they organized, ordered, and participated in massacres against the population, trained and distributed weapons to militiamen, prepared lists of those to be eliminated, and manned roadblocks to identify Tutsis and ensure that none escaped.

Witnesses at Nyiramasuhuko’s trial have testified that they witnessed her instructing Hutu gangs to pick out the nicest looking Tutsi women and rape them before killing them. Nyiramasuhuko’s son is accused of raping ten Tutsi women and of killing several dozen others.

The extent to which rape was explicitly used as a weapon on the Rwandan genocide is staggering. Some estimates put the total number of rapes at around 250,000.

One thing The Monitor doesn’t mention is that these international genocide trials are very controversial within Rwanda for a number of reasons. First, the United Nations failed to stop the genocide when it had the chance, then helped protect those who organized the genocide when they fled Rwanda, and then turned around and said only they had the ultimate authority to judge those accused of genocide (there have been numerous genocide-related trials in Rwanda, but many of the key participants have ended up in the custody of international agencies who have turned them over to the International Criminal Court).

Second, the length of these trials is something of a bad joke. Consider that the main Nuremberg trial that held former Nazi officials responsible for their crimes took just 10 months. Nyiramasuhuko first entered a not guilty plea before the ICC in September 1997, and her trial is unlikely to conclude until 2005.


A woman on trial for Rwanda’s massacre. Danna Harman, The Christian Science Monitor, March 7, 2003.

African Nations Squeezing Congo

The United Nations didn’t make any friends in releasing a report accusing highly placed political and military officials in the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe of setting up criminal cartels to exploit mineral and gem resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe withdrew their armed forces from the DR Congo as part of an agreement to bring a halt to that country’s civil war. But the United Nations report maintains that the military officials who were using their armies to strip DR Congo of precious minerals and gems have simply set up deeply entrenched criminal organizations to accomplish the same thing in their absence.

According to the report,

Three distinct criminal groups linked to the armies of Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe and the Government of the DRC have benefited from overlapping micro-conflicts [and] will not disband voluntarily even as the foreign military forces continue their withdrawals.

. . .

The looting that was previously conducted by the armies themselves has been replaced with organised systems of embezzlement, tax fraud, extortion, the use of stock options as kickbacks and diversion of state funds conducted by groups that closely resemble criminal organizations.

The report cites 54 specific individuals and recommends a variety of actions be taken against them, such as freezing their assets and barring them for travel, if they do not cease such activities within a few months.

Of course the real problem is less that these individuals are willing to pay large bribes and use other means to gain access to the DR Congo’s wealth, but rather that the DR Congo government is so weak and corrupt that this appears to be the normal, accepted way of doing business in that country.

The reaction of the African nations was predictable — the report was all lies. After all, who ever heard of official corruption on the African continent?


Focus on UN Panel report on the plunder of the Congo. UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, October 21, 2002.

Africa fury at U.N. looting report. Reuters, October 22, 2002.

States set up cartels to plunder Congo UN. Jonathan Katzenellenbogen, Business Day (Johannesburg), October 22, 2002.

First Quantum denies U.N. accusations on Congo. Reuters, October 22, 2002.

Rwanda May Indict French Military for Their Role in 1994 Genocide

Last month Reuters reported that Rwanda may try to indict several French military officers for their alleged role in aiding the 1994 genocide in that country as well as providing protection for the former Rwandan government as it fled the country in the summer of 1994.

In 1998, a French parliamentary commission looked into the charges and found that there had been “errors of judgment” but no direct French participation in genocide.

Beginning in 1990, the French government had been a major supporter of the Hutu-led government, supplying it with large amounts of military aid and training, including the loaning of French officers. The charges surrounding the French involvement with the genocide include:

  • The French continued aid and training even after the Rwandan army began training the militias that would ultimately carry out the genocide.
  • According to some witnesses, the French continued to supply arms to the Rwandan military even after the genocide was underway.
  • That France’s humanitarian intervention, Operation Turquoise, in June 1994 allowed those who masterminded the genocide to flee to Zaire

Operation Turquoise is interesting, especially given France’s habit of complaining about U.S. military actions in the world. Basically they sent 2,500 soldiers backed with 100 armed vehicles and limited air support. The soldiers largely stood around while the genocide continued just beyond their reach. They did save an estimated 10,000 Tutsis, but they also did the job of providing a rear guard for the Hutu government to escape the advancing Rwandan Patriotic Front army (who the French had saved the Hutu government from on previous occasions). France also did much to create a false impression that the RPF was engaged in genocide as well.

French President Francois Mitterand best expressed his government’s view of the genocide when, at its height, he reportedly quipped that, “In those countries, a genocide is not really important.”


Rwanda to indict French officers for alleged role in genocide. Marco, Domeniconi, Reuters, August 20, 2002.