Renewed clashes in east Congo send residents fleeing
An Amnesty International report on the recent violence in Central Africa puts the number of victims at 1,000, and says that the abuses are similar to those that took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2003.
The report says that the abuses began after the rebel movement of Mai-Mai was driven out by the security forces. Amnesty is calling for the international community to support Congolese authorities who have been accused of genocide and crimes against humanity.
The Government of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) authorities have been accused of committing crimes against humanity when they used heavy weapons against thousands of civilians in Central Africa, including those who had taken shelter in UN peacekeepers’ positions.
The victims included mainly children, women and elderly people who were tortured and killed by the security forces.
The DRC authorities had already said earlier that they would not take part in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to investigate crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Mai-Mai rebels.
The Court issued arrest warrants for President Joseph Kabila and his key aides on May 22. On May 23 they were arrested by the military for what they called an alleged breach of the peace agreement signed by the then-Congo-Kinshasa government and Mai-Mai rebels.
The ICC has repeatedly called on the DRC authorities to cooperate in the process of the ICC investigation because of the large number of witnesses to the alleged crimes, including those who have fled the country.
The ICC has also called on the DRC authorities to provide access to the victims of crimes against humanity and to provide protection to victims, witnesses and their families in the country.
The ICC has already asked the DRC authorities to turn over the evidence and victims’ testimonies obtained during the previous peace process, to submit the evidence to the ICC and to make available all information for the investigations.
The DRC authorities have refused to comply and, in fact, the ICC has said that the refusal is an important factor in its decision to open an investigation into crimes against humanity.
The ICC says that the victims are victims of crimes