Today is a day unlike others for the Congolese victims of the 1996 invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. It is also a new day for all citizens of neighboring nations, particularly the Rwandan citizens of Hutu ethnic background who, at the time, were refugees in eastern Congo and the primary target of the invading troops.
A Tetela (a tribe from the D.R.Congo) proverb says that no dead body can refuse to decay. For a long time many institutions, non-profit organizations, civil societies, and individuals across the globe have been asking for justice for the crimes committed in Congo during this invasion, but super powers consistently got in the way. Like in the Tetela proverb, the dead body is the truth about what happened which remains unchanging despite constant denial.
“No report, however, can adequately describe the horrors experienced by the civilian population in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where almost every single individual has an experience to narrate of suffering and loss,” says the report. How many books would it take to describe the fear, the loud bombing, the dying, the killings and rapes witnessed, the crying, the fleeing, and the other atrocities the Congolese have been affected by? What kind of justice can restore the victims and the Congo from all the agonies they have suffered? A lasting peace for Congo and its neighbors is surely on the list of expectations and hopes for any kind of justice mechanism that will deal with this case.
The official release of the UN about the atrocities committed in the Dem. Rep. of Congo between 1996 and 2003 is a major step toward justice. This report is an opportunity for the Congolese people to re-invigorate their government, which is seriously weak as of now, and rise from the ashes of these crimes while making justice the rule of the land. Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner in charge of creating the report said that the report has “the potential to stimulate much-needed debate, soul-searching and concrete changes in the DRC… Because – as the recent horrific mass rapes in August, of hundreds of women and girls, and some men and boys, has so starkly illustrated – significant and lasting change is desperately needed in the DRC. The fact that 220 Congolese NGOs have already signed a joint message of support for the report is, I think, an expression of the hopes that are invested in it.”
More on the UN report , click on the links for more on the liiking of hutus in Rwanda