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Rwanda condemns UN 'genocide' Congo report

By Lindsey Hilsum

Updated on 16 September 2010

A leaked UN report has accused Rwanda of committing genocide in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in the nineties - allegations Rwandan President Paul Kagame tells international editor Lindsey Hilsum are "absurd".

Rwanda allegations

Warning: viewers may find some pictures in this report disturbing.

Today, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is in London to deliver the Annual Oppenheimer lecture at the IISS.

It's a sign of international respect for a leader who has spearheaded 15 years of development and economic growth, and is seen by the British and US governments as a model for the rest of Africa.

His Rwandese Patriotic Front took power by bringing to an end the genocide of his Tutsi people in 1994 – while the UN stood by.

But a new UN report, to be released on October 1st, accuses President Kagame's RPF of committing appalling atrocities in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo as they pursued Hutu genocidaires. The report even suggests that the very soldiers who stopped the genocide of the Tutsis committed a second genocide, against the Hutus in the forests of the Congo – an allegation which robs President Kagame of his legitimacy.

The president has reacted angrily, threatening to withdraw Rwandese peacekeepers from Darfur, saying the UN's failure to stop genocide against the Tutsis invalidates any criticism of the RPF.

He told Channel 4 News: "To accuse Rwandan forces, or Rwanda, of committing genocide in the Congo or anywhere else for that matter, other than what happened in our own country, it is just absurd. To say people feel insulted and very angry is an understatement."

But we have obtained footage, from filmmakers Ofelia de Pablo and Javier Zurita, of the first training in forensics of Congolese police and army personnel who will excavate of graves where the RPF's victims are believed to lie, and interviews with survivors from those massacres in the late 1990s, which suggest that – at the very least – President Kagame has a case to answer.

And we've gone back to our own archive, and found pictures of some of the massacres cited in the UN report.

We saw just a little of what was happening, and the UN report confirms our worst fears.




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