UN officials warn of ‘war crimes’ and ‘genocide’ as Congo killings continue

UN officials warn of ‘war crimes’ and ‘genocide’ as Congo killings continue

[JURIST] UN Peacekeeping Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (MUNOC) [official website] head Alan Doss [appointment release] on Saturday condemned [UN News Centre report] recent killings of civilians by militias in the country as war crimes. Doss made the statement after MUNOC announced [press release] that it had received "credible reports" that civilians had been targeted by militia groups the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) [official website], the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), during fighting over control of the town of Kiwanja last week. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] on Friday called [statement; UN News Centre report] for the militias to recognize a cease-fire agreement in the conflict and urged regional leaders to take "historic responsibility" by supporting UN efforts against the violence. Also on Friday, Ki-moon advisor Francis Deng [appointment release] said that those who encouraged or supported acts of genocide in the country would be held accountable [AP report] for their actions.

Last week, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] reasserted [ICC press release; JURIST report] that the ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed in the Congolese province of North and South Kivu in the wake of renewed fighting there [BBC report] and that his office intends to punish those responsible. Tensions have recently increased between rebels and the pro-government militia, with talks intended to help hundreds of refugee civilians recently breaking down [AP report]. The ICC president has urged all parties, including regional and international organizations, to support and work together with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [JURIST news archive; ICC materials] authorities, particularly in the execution of the arrest warrant [JURIST report] issued by the ICC against Bosco Ntaganda, who is accused of committing war crimes in the DRC from July 2002 until December 2003.