Uganda + 2 more

Report to Security Council says Uganda, Rwanda delay answers on DR Congo

News and Press Release
Originally published
Faced with Rwandan and Ugandan delays in providing information on a variety of security and economic matters relating to neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), United Nations-appointed monitors have recommended that the UN Security Council extend DRC arms and other sanctions well beyond the elections scheduled to take place later this year.
In a report to the Council, the five-member Group of Experts on the DRC said the questions which have received unsatisfactory answers or no response over several of its mandates include statistics from all three Governments on the production, import and export of precious metals in which the experts found "significant inconsistencies," meetings between Ugandan officials and armed eastern DRC dissidents and the activities in Rwanda of rebel DRC leaders Jules Mutebutsi and Laurent Nkunda.

The Governments of Rwanda and Uganda have been cooperative or constructive, they say. On the other hand, "with the exception of the area of civil aviation, little of the other information requested by the Group was provided" by Rwanda. In the case of Uganda, its Permanent Mission to the UN was said to have failed to send the questionnaires home and "a number of the Group's requests for information were not satisfied."

The Group called for sufficient resources to be allocated to the peacekeeping UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) so that it can deploy troops on the porous eastern borders and in airports to support the national customs agency and monitor air space and airport activities.

"The weak border controls allow for lucrative alliances between leaders of armed groups and unscrupulous businessmen and the diversion of wealth to fund their arms-related activities and their destabilization efforts in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo," the report on the five-week fact-finding visit to eastern DRC says.

"The Group found, for example, that traders associated with FEC (Fédération des entreprises du Congo) in Aru territory use their influence to perpetuate a climate of illegality which enables them to maintain the infrastructure required in support of embargoed parties."

The DRC Government should be required to report to the Security Council about the development and implementation of enhanced systems for tracing all of its important natural resources and it should ask the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for help with improving national aviation security standards, the experts say.

The report tells of "certain areas of opacity in the implementation of the arms embargo," with private aviation companies still violating regional airspace. The Group's efforts to interview three crew members of one company who have been jailed since March in Rwanda were fruitless, the report adds.

The DRC Transitional Government, meanwhile, had so far failed to investigate or take measures against individuals and entities for their roles in violating the arms embargo, including at least one person associated with the "sanctions-busting network" of Russian-born arms dealer Victor Bout.

The Group says it has continued to gather testimony that FEC founder Ozia Mazio was not a victim of former Armed Forces of the Congolese People (FAPC) leader Commandant Jérôme Kakwavu, "but a key architect of Commandant Jérôme's economic interests." Mr. Mazio's activities included smuggling 15 to 18 kilogrammes of gold to the Ugandan capital, Kampala, every 10 days, the report says.