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Uganda warns UN over Congo report

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th September 2010 03:00 AM

UGANDA has warned that a United Nations report implicating it in war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo jeopardised its commitment to regional peace missions, according to a letter obtained by AFP yesterday.

UGANDA has warned that a United Nations report implicating it in war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo jeopardised its commitment to regional peace missions, according to a letter obtained by AFP yesterday.

By Vision Reporter and Agencies

UGANDA has warned that a United Nations report implicating it in war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo jeopardised its commitment to regional peace missions, according to a letter obtained by AFP yesterday.

Uganda leads an African Union force of 4,000 men in Somalia and smaller numbers of military and police personnel in southern Sudan, Darfur, Ivory Coast and East Timor.

“Such sinister tactics undermine Uganda’s resolve to continue to, and participate in various regional and international peacekeeping operations,” said the letter by foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa to the UN.

Kutesa said Uganda “rejects the draft report and demands that it is not published.”

The report, which is to be published on Friday, is based on data collected by UN investigators from July 2008 to June 2009. It aims at exposing “crimes never documented” during the 10 years of the conflict in Congo.

The draft report into the conflicts from 1993 to 2003 details several incidents where Ugandan troops are accused of atrocities such as the massacre of civilians, torture and destroying infrastructure that led to civilian deaths.

Its publication was delayed to give the states time to comment.

Ugandan and Rwandan troops as well as Rwanda’s Congolese allies are accused of having switched off the turbines of the Inga hydro power dam, causing the death of an unknown number of patients at a local hospital.

The document also blames the UPDF of establishing a “reign of terror for several weeks with complete impunity” in a Congolese town.

“They executed civilians, arbitrarily detained large numbers of people and subjected them to torture and various other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” said the report.

Ugandan forces backed the Congolese rebels who toppled the then president, Mobutu Sese Seko, in 1997 and occupied various parts of eastern Congo until 2003.

But Kutesa termed the document “a compendium of rumours, deeply flawed in methodology, sourcing and standard of proof.”

In a 2005 ruling, the International Court of Justice found that Uganda had violated the human rights law during its occupation of parts of Congo.

The court ordered Uganda to pay damages to Kinshasa, but Kampala is yet to comply.

Rwanda has also said the draft report would have an impact on its participation in peacekeeping. It later backed down on a threat to withdraw forces from Darfur after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Kigali for talks with President Paul Kagame earlier this month.

A spokesman for Ban Ki-moon on Sunday said the UN chief was happy “to learn that Rwanda would continue its important role in peacekeeping, especially in Darfur.”

Authorities in Burundi have also demanded the removal of the country’s previous army and an ex-rebel group from the report that also accused them of war crimes in the vast central African nation.

Uganda warns UN over Congo report

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