[JURIST] The UN Organization Mission in DR Congo (MONUC) [official website] has given funding and support to military groups that are committing human rights abuses [press release], according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Tuesday. HRW detailed the alleged attacks, rapes, and murders of civilians, calling them war crimes. HRW senior researcher Anneke Van Woudenberg said:
Some Congolese army soldiers are committing war crimes by viciously targeting the very people they should be protecting. MONUC's continued willingness to provide support for such abusive military operations implicates them in violations of the laws of war.
MONUC suspended financial support to the Congolese army's 213th Brigade until a report and investigation can be completed [UN press briefing]. HRW urged MUNOC to suspend support to all operations "until abusive commanders are removed and effective measures are in place to protect the civilian population."
In December, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that rape and sexual warfare have been employed by both the DRC military and by rebel forces. In November 2008, MUNOC head Alan Doss [appointment release] condemned [JURIST report] recent killings of civilians by militias in the country as war crimes. MONUC has been operating in DRC since 1999. The conflict there has claimed more than four million lives and has been ongoing since 1983. MONUC has overseen elections and continues to provide armed protection for civilians in certain areas, particularly the North and South Kivus provinces.