Political Conflict Escalates As DR Congo Drags Rwanda To East African Court Of Justice

Political Conflict Escalates As DR Congo Drags Rwanda To East African Court Of Justice

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

The conflict in eastern Congo is taking a legal turn after Kinshasa sued Kigali at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) in Arusha.

The application is actually dated September 2023 but was amended early this year. And the Democratic republic of Congo accuses Rwanda of abetting war as well as violating its territorial integrity.

“Over the past 25 years, Rwanda has on innumerable occasions violated the DRC’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence,” the application reads in part.

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The application details what it calls a list of atrocities committed allegedly by the DRC against Rwanda going back more than 25 years ago.

“States and Regional organizations have undertaken several bilateral and multilateral diplomatic initiatives to end the conflict. These initiatives include the International Conference on the Great Lakes and the EAC led by former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta as African Union’s peace envoy and EAC’s facilitator.”

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The DRC has sought orders to bar Rwanda from infringing on its territory and has asked Rwanda to withdraw its troops it claims are based on its soil.

 “A declaration be and is hereby issued that Rwanda’s action of violating the DRC’s territorial integrity through the deployment of its RDF’s troops within the DRC’s territory has violated the EAC Treaty,” reads part of the prayers in the application by the DRC’s Minister for Justice Hon Mutombo Kiese Rose.

“A declaration is hereby issued that Rwanda’s material, financial and logistical support of the M23 has led to numerous violations of human rights that violate the EAC Treaty.”

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The DRC, the UN and Western countries have on several occasions accused Rwanda of supporting the rebels in a bid to control vast mineral resources, an allegation Kigali denies.

The rebels have conquered vast swathes of North Kivu in the last two years.

The latest fight has pushed tens of thousands of civilians to flee towards Goma, which stands between Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border and is practically cut off from the country’s interior.

According to a confidential UN document that circulated earlier this year, the Rwandan army is using sophisticated weapons such as surface-to-air missiles to support M23.

A “suspected Rwandan Defense Force (RDF) mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM)” was fired at a UN observation drone last Wednesday without hitting it, the report said at the time.

UN forces have been in DRC for nearly 25 years, but stand accused of failing to protect civilians from armed groups.

The UN Security Council voted in December last year to accede to Kinshasa’s demand for a pullout despite the volatile situation.

With multiple diplomatic efforts failing to quell the violence in DR Congo, now the East African Court of Justice has been put to the task to find solutions for the long term conflict between the two neighboring countries.

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