Nkunda stands trial in RwandaRNW International Justice Desk
Posted by sarkout on April 20 2009 16:23:47
Former Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda is to face trial in the Rwandan town of Gisenyi, on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


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Observers question the rationale behind Kigali's decision to prosecute the former rebel leader whose insurgency took place mainly within neighbouring DRC.
Kigali captured Nkunda early this year after he crossed the border into Rwanda while attempting to resist arrest by a joint Rwandan-Congolese military force in DR Congo.

But Kigali has so far refused Kinshasa's request to extradite Nkunda so that he may stand trial in the DRC, where is he wanted for committing atrocities in 2002 in Kisangani and as a result has been referred to as the "Butcher of Kisangani".

But there are suspicions surrounding Kigali's refusal to hand over the former rebel leader for trial in DRC. Kinshasa has so far been quiet about Friday's trial.

Some Congolese say Rwanda detained Nkunda apparently as part of an agreement with Congo that opened the way for thousands of Rwandan soldiers to cross the border in a joint operation to hunt down Rwandan Hutu rebels.
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Nkunda stands trial in RwandaRNW International Justice Desk


Former Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda is to face trial in the Rwandan town of Gisenyi, on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


Related

Observers question the rationale behind Kigali's decision to prosecute the former rebel leader whose insurgency took place mainly within neighbouring DRC.
Kigali captured Nkunda early this year after he crossed the border into Rwanda while attempting to resist arrest by a joint Rwandan-Congolese military force in DR Congo.

But Kigali has so far refused Kinshasa's request to extradite Nkunda so that he may stand trial in the DRC, where is he wanted for committing atrocities in 2002 in Kisangani and as a result has been referred to as the "Butcher of Kisangani".

But there are suspicions surrounding Kigali's refusal to hand over the former rebel leader for trial in DRC. Kinshasa has so far been quiet about Friday's trial.

Some Congolese say Rwanda detained Nkunda apparently as part of an agreement with Congo that opened the way for thousands of Rwandan soldiers to cross the border in a joint operation to hunt down Rwandan Hutu rebels.

Congolese analysts say Rwanda was under intense international pressure to use its influence over the Tutsi rebellion to end the crisis. At the same time, Rwanda and an alleged clique of rebel commanders had grown disenchanted with Nkunda.

Nkunda, a Congolese born Tutsi, has close ties with Rwanda. He has fought with the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which took control of Rwanda in 1994, ending the country's 100-day genocide.

In 1998, he reportedly became a senior officer in the Rwandan-backed Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma (RCD), the main rebel group which controlled most of eastern DRC during the five-year civil war.

Nkunda has always claimed that he was defending Congo's Tutsi minority against Rwandan Hutu rebels, but indicated last year that he wanted to liberate all of the DRC and install a new government.

Weeks before Nkunda's arrest, his rebel group, had forced President Kabila's government to negotiate at peace talks in Kenya after his fighters advanced to the outskirts of North Kivu's regional capital, Goma, forcing more than 250,000 people from their homes.

Kinshasa hailed the surprise arrest of the former rebel, hoping it would herald a new era of peace and mark the end of Congo's Tutsi rebellion.

But few believe the country's problems are over and many fear the deal with former enemy Rwanda is a risky gamble that could unleash more bloodshed.

Meanwhile, the Rwandan Hutu militia are said to have regrouped and are targeting civilians who allegedly cooperated with the joint Rwandan-Congo military campaign.

(VOA)


Tags: Congolese, Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC , Gisenyi, Laurent Nkunda, rebel leader, Rwanda, trial