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Vol 51 No 18

Published 10th September 2010


Kigali wins another round of the blame game

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held an emergency meeting with President Paul Kagame in Kigali on 8 September after the Rwandan government threatened to withdraw from UN peacekeeping missions. Kigali’s logic was unassailable. A draft UN report had suggested that Rwandan troops might have committed ‘crimes of genocide’ in eastern Congo-Kinshasa in 1997; if the UN endorsed those claims, Kigali said it would have no choice but to withdraw its 3,500  troops from the UN force in Darfur, Sudan.

The credibility of the United Nations is on trial again after the leaking of its draft 545-page report mapping human rights violations in Congo-Kinshasa in 1993-2003. It seems almost certain that the draft report’s criticism of regional governments, especially Rwanda, will be substantially amended before the document is formally published on 1 October. That will spare the UN another round of regional protests during the summit meetings on 22-23 September and save the very pressed Secretary General Ban Ki-moon the effort of more restorative diplomacy. The organisational cost may be the resignation of a few UN officials in protest and yet more criticism that the UN has covered up evidence of atrocities by member states.

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