IRIN Update 787 for the Great Lakes
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for Central and Eastern Africa
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GREAT LAKES: Rwanda, Burundi challenge admissibility of ICJ case
Rwanda and Burundi are challenging the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in cases brought against them by the DRC. In complaints filed against Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda in June, the DRC charged the three countries with invading its territory and committing massive human rights violations. It called on the Court to order the three countries to withdraw their troops and pay compensation. According to an ICJ press release issued on Monday, Rwanda and Burundi on 19 October "indicated their intention to raise preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and the admissibility of the [DRC's] application". The Hague-based ICJ gave Rwanda and Burundi up to 21 April 2000 to submit written documents in connection with their jurisdiction challenge, the statement said.
GREAT LAKES: Deadlines set for case against Uganda
Meanwhile, the ICJ set 21 July 2000 as the deadline for the DRC to submit its written arguments for the case against Uganda, which has not contested the Court's jurisdiction in the matter. Uganda will then have until 21 April 2001 to file its written reply, the statement said. Uganda and the DRC are among 62 countries that have issued formal declarations recognising the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court in disputes involving each other, an ICJ registry official told IRIN on Tuesday. While Burundi and Rwanda have made no similar declaration, they must still abide by the Court's rulings as members of the UN, the official added.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN survey team again fails to get clearance
A second attempt to deploy the technical survey team of MONUC, the UN observer mission to the DRC, failed on Tuesday because security assurances had still not been received by the authorities, sources in Kinshasa told IRIN. Kinshasa "continues to be very suspicious about MONUC" and it now seemed very clear that it believed UN military liaison officers (MLOs) should be deployed in rebel-controlled areas only.
It was foreseen that, with clearance and security guarantees having been received from Rwanda and the Goma faction of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), a survey team would be deployed in Goma by Thursday, IRIN sources said. Urgent needs had been identified in the Kivus, both in relation to the peace process and humanitarian interventions, but Kinshasa's reaction to MONUC's planned deployment there was not yet known, they added.
DRC: Security Council to be briefed on delays in deployment
Meanwhile, a UN statement on Monday said Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bernard Miyet was scheduled to brief the Security Council on delays experienced in trying to deploy the initial MLOs throughout the Great Lakes region. "Fewer than half of the 90 [MLOs] authorised are where we want them to be, and I think he will be discussing with the Council how to move onto the next phase," the spokesman said. Some 500 military observers are envisaged in that next phase, for which the current mission is doing the groundwork
DRC: Opposition seeks Kabila's isolation
The opposition Union pour la democratie et le progres social (UDPS) on Sunday said the "political, diplomatic, economic and military isolation" of President Laurent-Desire Kabila's regime was the only way to move the DRC towards peace and democracy. In a statement released in Brussels, the UDPS said Kabila continued to violate civil and political liberties, sabotage implementation of the Lusaka ceasefire accord and introduce economic measures that discourage investors and "asphyxiate" the population. "Kabila's big excuse today for impoverishing people and rapidly enriching himself is the war effort," the statement said. All acts of complicity, complacency or support to the regime only encouraged Kabila "to further plunge the Congo into chaos", it said.
DRC: US funding for JMC
The United States intends to provide US $1 million to support the operations of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) charged with overseeing implementation of the Lusaka accord, the State Department said on Monday. In a statement, it said the contribution was subject to "congressional consultations and availability of appropriated funds". The US welcomed the successful outcome of the first JMC meeting held in Uganda on 11-12 October. "In two days of discussions, participants put aside quarrels and differences and reached significant agreements that will greatly increase the chances of regional peace," the statement said.
DRC: Angolan reinforcements reported
Angola has sent more troops to the DRC to contain UNITA rebels who fled into the country as a result of the Angolan government's recent offensive, AFP reported on Monday. Citing aviation sources, it said an Angolan army battalion, with heavy weapons, had landed in Kinshasa from Angola at the weekend, and other army units had been deployed in southwest DRC in an attempt to stop Angolan rebels entering the country.
DRC: More victims from Kahungwe clash
Fourteen bodies have been recovered at Kahungwe market near Sange, north of Uvira, following Saturday's clashes between rebels and a "resistance group", rebel-controlled Uvira radio reported on Monday. "The wounded are being treated at the central hospital and reports of the dead continue reaching us," it said. The exact circumstances of the clash remained unclear, the radio added.
BURUNDI: Bujumbura gripped by fuel shortage
Bujumbura has been hit by a fuel shortage since Saturday with long queues forming outside the city's petrol stations, Burundi radio reported. It said civil servants and other employees were unable to reach their places of work on Monday. Trade Director Terence Nzeyimana explained that the shortage was due to supply problems over the last few days. Burundi's fuel comes via the Tanzanian ports of Kigoma and Dar es Salaam where activity was temporarily halted due to the death of former president Julius Nyerere, he said.
BURUNDI: Three killed in rebel attack
Three people have been killed in fresh fighting between rebels and the army in Bujumbura's Gihosha suburb, Burundi radio reported on Monday. It cited a military officer as saying the clashes broke out Sunday after rebels mounted an attack on the area.
BURUNDI: Belgium says peace accord not necessary for aid
Belgium has said resuming cooperation with Burundi is not conditional on the signing of a peace accord in Arusha, according to Burundian media sources. Secretary-General in the Belgian foreign ministry Jan de Bock, who is currently visiting Burundi, held talks on Monday with President Pierre Buyoya. "Belgium is not one of those countries demanding the signing of a peace accord before resuming cooperation with Burundi," he was quoted as saying. Buyoya told him the people of Burundi needed help now, not in the future. He added that Burundi was committed to continuing the peace process. Last week, French Cooperation Minister Charles Josselin also suggested the resumption of aid was not conditional on a peace accord. Observers have criticised donor countries which in the past said a peace accord must first be signed in Arusha before cooperation could resume. The Arusha process has been thrown into disarray with the death of the facilitator, Julius Nyerere.
Nairobi, 26 October 1999, 14:55 gmt
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