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Archive for Rwanda

Newsline: Rwanda to Open Embassy in Angola

Rwanda will soon open an embassy in Angola to strengthen cooperation between the two countries. This was announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, shortly after the Angolan Minister for External Relations, Georges Rebelo Chikoti, met President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro in Kigali. Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is the current chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.


Newsline: Rwandan Embassies Faulted for Poor Financial Reports

The Auditor-General has cited lack of supervision in the expenditure of public finances at Rwandan diplomatic missions across the globe, calling up the missions and the line ministries “to get their acts together.” In an exclusive interview with The New Times, Obadiah Biraro said avoidable hitch in public financial management is the lack of proper accounting records, which he said the audit for the fiscal year 2011/2012 found lacking in five of the 25 embassies audited. Biraro presented the report to a joint parliamentary session. The report noted improvement in the way entities accounted for funds.


Newsline: DR Congo war crimes suspect taken from US embassy in Rwanda to ICC prison

Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda spent his first night in custody at the International Criminal Court Saturday, having turned himself in to face charges ranging from murder and rape to using child soldiers. The first ever suspect to voluntarily surrender to the ICC, Ntaganda is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during his years as a warlord in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The man known as “The Terminator” walked into the US embassy in Rwanda on Monday and asked to be sent to the Hague-based court. Ntaganda was allegedly involved in the murder of at least 800 people in villages in the volatile east of the DR Congo. He is also accused of having kept child soldiers in his rebel army and using women as sex slaves between September 2002 and September 2003. He was taken into ICC custody in Kigali and flown to Rotterdam airport late on Friday. The ICC tweeted shortly after that “Bosco Ntaganda arrived to the ICC detention centre”, under Dutch police escort in The Hague’s seaside suburb of Scheveningen. US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed a major step for “justice and accountability.”


Newsline: Congo warlord remains at US Embassy

Wanted on an international warrant for alleged war crimes, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda lived openly in Congo for years, playing tennis at exclusive clubs and dining at lakeside restaurants in full view of foreign diplomats and U.N. peacekeepers. That all ended when the 39-year-old known as “The Terminator” suddenly turned himself in Monday to the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda and asked to be handed over to the International Criminal Court — a surprise move that followed a split in Ntaganda’s rebel group and apparent loss of support from his backers in the Rwandan government. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday that Ntaganda would remain at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali while U.S. officials worked to “facilitate his transfer to The Hague at his own request.” Ntaganda was then told by his Rwandan contacts to go to the U.S. Embassy, he said, noting that the United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court and has no obligation to hand Ntaganda over to the court. Nuland said the U.S. had no prior contact with Ntaganda or advance notice that he would turn up at the embassy. “It was a walk-in in the truest sense of the word,” she said. She declined to say why he chose the U.S. Embassy or whether he may have feared for his safety.


Newsline: Congo “Terminator” warlord surrenders at U.S. Embassy in Rwanda

Fugitive Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda walked into the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda on Monday and asked to be transferred to the International Criminal Court, where he faces war crimes charges racked up during years of rebellion. By surrendering in Kigali, where an embassy official said staff were “shocked” by his sudden arrival, Ntaganda ended a career that saw him fight as a rebel and government soldier on both sides of the Rwanda-Congo border during nearly 20 years of conflict in Africa’s Great Lakes region. Ntaganda’s whereabouts had been unknown after hundreds of his fighters fled into Rwanda or surrendered to U.N. peacekeepers at the weekend following their defeat by a rival faction of M23 rebels in the mineral-rich eastern Congo. “He specifically asked to be transferred to the ICC in the Hague,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington. “We are currently consulting with a number of governments, including the Rwandan government, in order to facilitate his request.” Ntaganda faces charges of conscripting child soldiers, murder, ethnic persecution, sexual slavery and rape during the 2002-3 conflict in the Ituri district of northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. But according to a U.N. panel of experts, Ntaganda, nicknamed “The Terminator”, was most recently a leader of the M23 rebellion, which has pursued a year-long insurgency that embarrassed Kinshasa and U.N. peacekeepers by seizing the capital of North Kivu province, Goma, in November.


Newsline: Rwandan Foreign Minister Pledges to Open Israel Embassy Within Six Months

Rwanda plans to open an Embassy in Tel Aviv within six months The Algemeiner has learned. Speaking to a small group of reporters at a press conference on Friday hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo said, “We are going to open an embassy in Tel Aviv,” in video footage of the event seen by The Algemeiner, “I should say in the next six months.” “My President was very clear,” she continued, turning to Rabbi Shmuley, who had posed a question on the subject, “he gave me orders when you were there that he wants an embassy opened very soon.” However, Ilana Stein, a spokesperson for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told The Algemeiner that no formal steps had been taken by the Rwandans towards opening the embassy in Israel. “Usually if you want to open an embassy the first thing they [Rwanda] would do is talk to your counterpart— which would be us. We have not heard anything official about an embassy being opened here is Israel.” But Stein did not dismiss the idea.”In general Israel is always glad to have closer ties to countries around the world,” she said, adding, “The relations between Israel and Rwanda are very good.”


Newsline: U.S. Embassy Says Ambassador Misquoted on Rwanda

The United States Embassy in Kigali has said the media reports suggesting that senior Rwandan officials faced possible prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged support to DRC’s M23 rebels were inaccurate. The reports, initially published in The Guardian of the UK, were attributed to Ambassador Stephen Rapp, the head of the US Office of Global Criminal Justice. “Ambassador (Stephen) Rapp was not calling for any specific prosecution in this case,” Susan Falatko, the Public Affairs Officer, at the American Embassy in Kigali told The New Times, saying the official was misquoted by the newspaper. In The Guardian interview, Falatko explained, Rapp may have been misunderstood since the context of the interview was Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president who was, in May, sentenced by a UN-backed war crimes court to 50 years in prison for his role in aiding and abetting crimes in the neighbouring Sierra Leone. The Guardian story had suggested that Rwandan leaders, who have been accused of supporting Congo rebels – despite the lack of credible evidence – risk prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, a senior ICC official said the Hague-based court was not investigating any Rwandan leader. The court’s focus is on the arrest of the rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda of the M23 rebel group, Phakiso Mochochoko, head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division at the ICC, told reporters during a visit to Nairobi. Kigali has challenged the report by a UN Panel of Experts on the Congo, which accused senior Rwandan officials of supporting M23 rebels, largely composed of former members of the ex-CNDP rebel movement, who deserted the army in April citing Kinshasa’s failure to honour its commitments under a March 23, 2009 peace deal.