DRAMA IN U.N over Congo

DR Congo 'genocide' report delayed by UN

Rwandan Hutu refugees wait at the Zairean (now DR Congo) border post of Goma - 22 August 1995 Rwandan and Congolese troops are accused of slaughtering Hutu refugees

The UN has postponed the release of a draft report that accuses the Rwandan army of possible genocide in DR Congo.

It follows angry protests from Rwanda about details in the leaked draft, with Rwanda threatening to pull its troops out of UN peacekeeping missions.

The UN high commissioner for human rights says when the report is finally published on 1 October, it will have comments from concerned countries.

Rwanda has described the claims in the report as "insane".

The document, which was due to be published this week, accuses Rwanda's Tutsi-led army of killing Hutus in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1990s - acts it says may amount to genocide.

"Following requests, we have decided to give concerned states a further month to comment on the draft and I have offered to publish any comments alongside the report itself on 1 October, if they so wish," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement.

Troublesome neighbours

  • April-June 1994: Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda
  • June 1994: Tutsi rebels take power in Rwanda, Hutus flee into Zaire (now DR Congo)
  • Rwanda's army enters eastern Zaire to pursue Hutu fighters
  • 1997: Laurent Kabila's AFDL, backed by Rwanda, takes power in Kinshasa

The UN draft report, which was leaked last week, says in the years following the genocide, the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan army went into neighbouring Zaire (now DR Congo) and killed tens of thousands of ethnic Hutus - including women, children and the elderly.

Extremist Hutus killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda during 1994.

Rwanda contributes thousands of peacekeepers to the joint UN-African Union mission in the Sudanese region of Darfur, and the commander of the force is a Rwandan.

Analysts say the possible withdrawal of these troops would be a massive blow, especially as it comes at a time of increased violence in Darfur.

Rwandan officials have always said their forces entered the former Zaire to pursue the Hutu militias responsible for carrying out mass killings of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

The UN report covers the wider conflict in DR Congo, which dragged in several neighbouring countries in what has been called "Africa's world war".

The document lists alleged rights violations by security forces from all the countries involved.

It accuses Congolese troops of involvement in the slaughter of ethnic Hutus - both Rwandan refugees and Congolese Hutus.

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