Johannesburg: A leaked UN draft report
says the Rwandan army and its Congolese rebel allies now in
power committed massacres in Congo in the 1990s that could be
classified as genocide, using hoes and axes to kill people and
burning others alive.
The report, leaked yesterday by the French newspaper
Le Monde, says that Rwanda`s President Paul Kagame threatened
to withdraw troops from the UN-African peacekeeping mission in
Darfur if the genocide allegation was published.
It was not immediately possible to get comment on Friday
from Rwanda`s government.
About 1 million Hutus including perpetrators of
Rwanda`s 1994 genocide fled to neighboring Congo in the
aftermath of the slaughter. Rwandan troops invaded and
thousands were slaughtered in UN refugee camps, the report
"The extensive use of non-firearms, particularly
hammers, and the systematic massacres of survivors after camps
were taken prove that the number of deaths cannot be put down
to the margins of war," the leaked report says.
The draft from the High Commissioner for Human Rights
states that the systematic and widespread attacks "could be
classified as crimes of genocide" by a competent court,
according to Le Monde.
The Rwandan government says their forces were hunting
down perpetrators of the 1994 genocide during which more than
half a million people were slaughtered, mostly ethnic Tutsis
and moderate Hutus. However, the leaked draft report said most
of the Hutu victims in Congo were women and children, along
with the sick and the elderly.
The 546-page report, which should be published next
week, covers Rwanda`s 1996 invasion of Congo, then called
Zaire, and a second invasion two years later that exploded
into a regional war involving eight countries.
The report says that while Rwanda has permitted large
numbers of Hutus to return home, that "does not rule out the
intention of destroying part of an ethnic group as such and
thus committing a crime of genocide".
The Rwandan president has tried to downplay the role
of ethnicity in post-genocide Rwanda, and people in the
country rarely refer to themselves as Hutu or Tutsi and can
face charges for speaking publicly about ethnicity.