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Six Months Before Rwanda Joins UN SC, Congo Urges Report Not Be Censored

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 20, updated -- When Inner City Press covered the Democratic Republic of the Congo Sanctions Committee meeting a week ago, several UN Security Council members mentioned that "one Permanent member," as they put it, seemed troubled by and might want to block the release of the Group of Experts report.

   This was ironic, because the member mentioned is one what has criticize others for blocking the release of similar reports on Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. But the member's ally Rwanda featured in the Group of Experts' Power Point presentation on June 13, including Rwandan bullets, as exclusively reported by Inner City Press.

   That Rwanda is, for now and probably definitively, set to join the Security Council in January was also reported by Inner City Press, giving rise to surprise in some quarters, and anger at Inner City Press in others.

  On June 19, Inner City Press was told by a major Council member that, yes, the member moving to block release. The chairman of the Committee, on the other hand, assured Inner City Press that "the report will be released."

   Now on June 20, Congolese Ambassador Atoki Ileka has gone public with a letter sent to the Security Council (Inner City Press is putting it online here), and a

"a few words about the UN Group of Experts. This Group has – as part of its mandate – documented military support coming from Rwanda to the so-called mutineers in eastern Congo. The UN sanctions committee now needs to do its job and publish the information, denounce the violation of the arms embargo and put pressure on Rwanda to halt any support to Bosco Ntaganda and the M23 mutineers. The findings of the Group of Experts should not be buried, ignored or pushed to a later date until they are published. Efforts by any Security Council members to try to avoid publication of the findings is shameful and does nothing to help the people of eastern Congo.

"The Security Council will lose its credibility by seemingly siding with people (leaders of CNDP and M23) who are the worst perpetrators of human Rights violations in the DRC. Their leaders are Bosco NTANGANDA, Sultani MAKENGA, Baudoin NGARUYE, Innocent ZIMURINDA and Innocent KAINA. Those are the wars criminals that are being protected by some members of the Security Council."

  For now we note that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself, and his head of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, have as a Senior Advisor an alleged war criminal, Sri Lankan general Shavendra Silva, so it wouldn't be the first time. But will this report be blocked?

  Or perhaps changed before being finalized, as took place with the last Western Sahara report and, as exclusively reported by Inner City Press, is taking the currently pending Eritrea report, allegedly with involvement of the same member?

The spokespeople for the member alleged as blocker were not immediately available prior to publication. Their position will be added here upon receipt.

Update 11:41 am -- for now it is understood that blocking may not in fact be the issue, but rather putting this "new" information about Rwanda through the same scrutiny as the rest of the report: that is, for a few weeks.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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