UN Security Council Sanctions On M23's Rwanda-picked Political Chief

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The sanctions pre-empts a "press conference" that Jean-Marie Runiga plans to hold on January 4 inside Congolese territory. Also added on the sanctions list is M23's Lt. Col. Eric Badege.


[Global: Africa]
 
Jean-Marie
Runiga the M23's political leader who was handpicked by Rwanda's
defense minister has been added on the United Nations sanctions list by
the Security Council.

Sanctioned officials are subjected to having their assets frozen and a travel ban.

The Security Council also yesterday
imposed an arms embargo on M23, which briefly seized the Congo city of
Goma with Rwanda's support in November.  Following sharp international
outcry the rogue Rwanda- and Uganda-backed army, which was accused of
"widespread war crimes" by Human Rights Watch, withdrew from the city.  

Separately,
the U.S. Senate earlier voted on sanctions "on those providing
financial, material, or technological support to the M23 rebel group in
the Democratic Republic of Congo" while noting that according to "a
report by the U.N. Group of Experts, the group is reported to be
receiving significant assistance from neighboring Rwanda." 

The
United Nations report by the Group of Experts said M23's nominal
leaders who include Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the ICC and facing a
travel ban, and Sultani Makenga, also on the sanctions list received
"direct orders" from Rwanda's military chief of staff Gen. Charles
Kayonga, who in turn reported to defense minister, Gen. James Kabarebe.
 
The UN report said Ntaganda
also owns two homes in Kampala, the Ugandan capital and M23's leaders
held regular meetings with Gen. Yoweri Museveni's presidential advisor
on military affairs, who is his brother Gen. Salim Saleh; and, also met
with Uganda's police chief Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura.  
 
According
to the UN report Gen. Kabarebe, in addition to picking Jean-Marie Runiga
as political leader of M23, also selected other officials who didn't
know they were in a "cabinet" until after they met together for the
first time.
 
The sanctions pre-empts a "press conference" that
Jean-Marie Runiga plans to hold on January 4 inside Congolese territory.
Also added on the sanctions list is M23's Lt. Col. Eric Badege.

Previously the Security Council had sanctioned M23's Makenga, Baudoin Ngaruye and Innocent Kaina; now the entire outfit is under sanctions.

The
Security Council also announced sanctions on the FDLR (The Democratic
Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), an army made of ex-Rwanda soldiers
who are accused by the Kigali regime of wanting to destabilize Rwanda
and of including fighters who participated in the 1994 genocide. Congo says FDLR is now in alliance with M23.

"We
urge the rank and file of both the M23 and the FDLR to defect and
demobilize in order to disassociate themselves from the sanctioned
groups," U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said in a statement. 
 
New York Times  article on December 9 reported that Rice had been
accused by human rights organizations of protecting Rwanda's Gen. Paul
Kagame by blocking the release of the UN's critical report on Rwanda's
support for M23, then insisting that Rwanda not be directly referred to
in the report's final version.

Rwanda joined the 15-member Security Council  today, as a non-permanent member for a two-year term, a move criticized by Human Rights groups.


"Speaking Truth To Empower."


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