By: Rpf Gakwerere
On Friday, October 1st, 2010, it is when the United Nations published a groundbreaking report on the mass killings, rapes and displacement in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On Thursday, October 1st, 2020, was the 10th anniversary for the UN Mapping Report, a UN report that was compiled after a thorough investigation into mass killings, rapes and displacement in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is a milestone report that documents crimes against humanity in DR Congo.
The UN team investigated human rights crimes over a 10 year period, between 1993 and 2003, and a total of 617 war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide were committed in Congo by 21 rebel groups supported by foreign entities.
For the past 10 years, different organisations have pressured the international community most especially the UN to set a special Tribunal for crimes committed in DR Congo, but nothing has happened. The consequences of doing nothing has set a bad precedent for the greatlakes region, and international criminal justice as a whole.
DR Congo’s justice system lacks the capacity and will to prosecute crimes documented in this UN report. In other words, the UN Security Council should establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Congo to try these crimes and end impunity that are fuelling violence in the greatlakesregion, and delaying justice in DR Congo has led to continued human rights atrocities and human crises, including more killings, mass rape and mass displacement, famine and widespread hunger.
After publishing the 2010 UN Mapping Report on crimes committed in DR Congo, survivors of mass human rights atrocities finally thought justice is going to be given to victims, they thought justice is finally coming to punish perpetrators of the most despicable crimes. However, for the past ten years, victims of these crimes have seen their hopes for perpetrators of these crimes to be arraigned in courts of law being dashed.
On this day, October 1st 2020, Congolese allover the world especially in DR Congo and Europe, carried peaceful demonstrations demanding for the UN to set up international criminal tribunal for crimes committed in DR Congo.
With the 2010 UN Mapping Report on crimes committed in DR Congo, for the first time in history, the UN established a database of people responsible for the worst atrocities, with solid evidence for convictions. Their names are held in Geneva and dictator Paul Kagame’s names come on top.
According to the UN Mapping report, Paul Kagame’s troops committed some of the terrible mass killings of Congolese civilians; including in Kasika, Makobola, Kisangani and elsewhere in Congo.
Of recently, The Congolese hero and Nobel peace laureate Dr Denis Mukwege is currently under UN protection after Rwanda’s top Military official, Gen James Kabarebe, went on Rwanda’s national Television and started intimidating him with all forms of threats, this was because Dr Denis Mukwege dared to mention facts of the 2010 UN Mapping Report and called for justice.
For victims, there is nothing to celebrate, not until an International Criminal Tribunal for DR Congo is created. Since the UN published this report in 2010, indeed, for the past 10 years, the killings, rapes and displacements have continued in DR Congo, the type of mass atrocities the report was supposed to prevent; receiving scant attention in international media. And for 10 years, the world has done nothing.
The 2010 UN Mapping Report on crimes committed in DR Congo showed clearly that ending mass atrocities in DR Congo was possible and within reach. The final tick box for justice, however, is the UN Security Council which has continuously prevented justice from prevailing.