DR Congo + 3 more

IRIN Update 848 for the Great Lakes

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UNITED NATIONS
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN vows to act "promptly"

The UN Security Council on Wednesday said it would act "promptly" on a resolution authorising an expanded mandate of the UN mission in DRC (MONUC). In a statement read out by its president, Richard Holbrooke of the US, the Council said it would consider, "at the appropriate" time, preparations for an additional phase of UN deployment and further action in the DRC. The statement urged all parties to the Lusaka ceasefire accord to "build on the momentum" of the meetings held in New York this week to create the necessary climate for implementing the agreement in full. It expressed support for a coordinated MONUC-Joint Military Commission (JMC) structure, calling it a "vital step" towards enhancing the UN's ability to support the Lusaka accord. The statement also stressed the "absolute need" for security and access for UN personnel deployed in support of the Lusaka process.

DRC: Rebels deny Lodja has fallen

Rebel troops of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) have denied the retaking of Lodja town by government forces. AFP quoted RCD military leader Jean-Pierre Ondekane as saying the town, in Kasai Oriental province, was "not in danger". The claims were made by the Kinshasa daily 'La Reference Plus', which said government troops arrived in the town on Tuesday. "Lodja is not in danger, the frontline in that region is miles from Lodja, near Dekese and Dimbelengue," Ondekane said. "We have just called our troops there and everything is calm."

DRC: Franc devalued

The Congolese franc was devalued by 100 percent in relation to the US dollar over the weekend, the PANA news agency reported. The Central Bank put the new exchange rate at 9 francs to one dollar, compared to 4.5 the week before. A statement from the Bank said the move was taken to reduce the gap between the official and parallel market rates.

RWANDA: ICTR finds former tea factory manager guilty of genocide

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday convicted the former tea factory manager, Alfred Musema, of genocide and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The Internews agency, describing the trial as one of the most compelling and complicated cases before the Tribunal, said 50 year-old Musema stood impassively as the charges and sentence were read out. He was convicted of genocide, extermination and rape. "Musema committed these acts with the specific intent to destroy the Tutsi group," said presiding judge Lennart Aspegren. Musema was manager of the Gisovu tea factory in Bisesero, western Rwanda, at the time of the crimes during the 1994 genocide. His is the fifth conviction by the ICTR.

RWANDA: 20 deputy prosecutors appointed

Twenty deputy prosecutors have been sworn in by Prime Minister Pierre Celestin Rwigema, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. He urged them to "keep to the truth" and reminded them that the government, in collaboration with the justice ministry, "is taking an upper hand in fighting corruption in the judicial system". He warned them against "traps and temptations" within the profession. "As judicial officers, you are pillars of justice and reconciliation eagerly awaited for in Rwandan society following the 1994 genocide," he told the deputy prosecutors. "What is required is not only the number, but also the ability of lawyers."

BURUNDI: Sides agree in principle on investigative commissions

Six Burundian delegations holding consultations in Dar es Salaam have agreed in principle on establishing commissions of enquiry to investigate political and ethnic killings in Burundi, the Tanzanian 'Guardian' daily reported. A national commission would deal with amnesty issues in the spirit of national reconciliation, while a proposed international commission would investigate suspected killers, the newspaper said. The six sides meeting in Dar es Salaam include the government, the national assembly, the mainly-Tutsi UPRONA party, the mainly-Hutu FRODEBU party, the rebel Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD) and the hardline Tutsi PARENA party. Discussions are still continuing on the make-up of the commissions, observers said.

BURUNDI: RADDES party applies to rejoin Arusha process

Meanwhile, another Tutsi party has asked to rejoin the Arusha peace process, the Hirondelle news agency reported. It said the RADDES party, which withdrew from the talks in protest over the former facilitator Julius Nyerere's handling of the process, had made an official application to take part. Hashim Mbita, spokesman for the facilitation team, told Hirondelle that RADDES' request would be submitted to the next plenary session of the negotiations, due to take place in February.

UGANDA: More ADF rebels killed, prisoners moved

The army killed 14 rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) following an attack on Butogo displaced people's camp in Bundibugyo district earlier this week, the semi-official 'New Vision' reported. Three people were killed and three others injured in the rebel attack. The paper said the army "responded quickly" and was still pursuing some of the rebels. The 'New Vision' on Thursday also reported that some 200 prisoners of Katojo jail in Fort Portal had been transferred to Kampala's maximum security Luzira prison "to ensure their safety". The newspaper noted that the transfer was effected to safeguard Katojo against further ADF attacks. Late last year, about 200 rebels attacked the prison and abducted 365 inmates.

Meanwhile, Ugandan Interior Minister Edward Rugumayo has said rebels currently under detention will also be covered by the country's amnesty act, but they must first renounce their rebel activities. The 'New Vision' quoted him as saying they must also apply for an amnesty before the director of public prosecution could drop the charges against them.

Nairobi, 27 January 2000

[ENDS]

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