Congo files new complaint with ICC against Rwanda’s military and M23 rebels

KINSHASA (Reuters) – The Democratic Republic of the Congo on Tuesday filed a formal request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) again to ensure the court could focus on the so-called systematic looting of its natural resources in eastern Congo by the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF). concentrated) and the rebel group M23.

The ICC has been investigating eastern Congo since 2004 and it is not clear whether the new referral would shift the court’s focus.

“The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains deeply concerned about the suffering of the population in the part of its territory affected by the acts referred to in this case,” the Congolese Justice Ministry said in a statement.

The aim of the transfer is to investigate and prosecute all persons involved in human rights abuses between 2022 and 2023, it said.

The Tutsi-led rebel group M23 launched a new offensive in eastern Congo in March last year, seizing towns and villages in the border region with Uganda. The fighting forced more than a million people to flee.

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Congo has accused neighboring Rwanda of backing the M23. The government of Rwanda has denied any involvement.

The ICC Prosecutor’s Office has not provided any further details, other than that the focus is on alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since July 2002 in the Ituri region and in the provinces of North and South Kivu.

So far, the ICC has convicted three different Congolese militia leaders, one on war crimes charges, the others on war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in atrocities in eastern DRC.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan is expected to visit rebel-affected provinces of Kinshasa and Congo on May 28-31.

(Reporting by Ange Kasongo in Kinshasa and Stephanie Van Den Berg in The Hague; Text by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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