Susan Ricist Protects Rwanda-backed M23 Criminals in Congo
December 6, 2012 • 10:00AM

According to Foreign Policy magazine, on Oct. 1, Susan Rice met at the French mission in New York with top diplomats from Britain and France to discuss the crisis in eastern Congo. France's U.N. ambassador, Gerard Araud, pressed Rice and Britain's U.N. envoy, Mark Lyall Grant, to apply pressure on the M23's chief sponsor, Rwanda, that stands accused by a U.N. panel of sponsoring, arming, and commanding the insurgent M23 forces.

As the article entitled "How Rice Dialed Down the Pressure on Rwanda" explains: "Since last summer, the United States has used its influence at the United Nations to delay the publication of a report denouncing Rwanda's support for the M23, to buy time for a Security Council resolution condemning foreign support for the rebellion, and opposing any direct references to Rwanda in U.N statements and resolutions on the crisis.

"On November 17, the M23 mutineers, allegedly backed by Rwanda and Uganda, launched a major offensive against the Congolese army in eastern Congo. Within three days, the M23 had vanquished the ragged Congolese army, whose forces fled, and marched on the regional capital of Goma, triggering limited resistance from the U.N. peacekeeping forces, which initially clashed with the rebels before announcing it [sic] had no mandate to continue the fight if the Congolese army refused to resist the rebellion.

"With M23 in control of Goma, the 15-nation Security Council on November 20 adopted a resolution that "strongly" condemned the M23's conduct — including summary executions, sexual- and gender-based violence, and large-scale recruitment of child soldiers — and voiced "deep concern" at reports of external support for the mutineers. But at the insistence of the United States, the resolution stopped short of naming Rwanda.

"The latest conflict in eastern Congo began in April 2012, when Bosco Ntaganda, a former Congolese militia leader who stands accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, began an armed mutiny against government forces in eastern Congo. Ntaganda, once fought along the Rwanda Patriotic Front — which toppled a pro-French government in Kigali and drove government forces responsible for genocide into eastern Congo, then known as Zaire.

"An independent U.N. Security Council panel, known as the Group of Experts, claims that Rwanda military leadership, including Defense Minister James Kaberebe, have armed, trained and commanded the mutineers under Ntaganda, who goes by the grim nickname, The Terminator. In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, the Group of Experts coordinator, Steve Hege, accused Rwanda of leading the overthrow of Goma.

"Philippe Bolopion, Human Rights Watch's U.N. representative, said that Washington should publicly acknowledge Rwanda's support for the M23 and ratchet up pressure on the government to rein them in.

"It's puzzling that the United States continues to remain silent while Rwanda is putting weapons in the hand of notorious M23 abusers, who are using them to kill civilians, rape and recruit children. It's even more inexplicable since the M23 is attacking U.N. peacekeepers that the United States has supported and financed to protect civilians."