Human Rights Watch warns against appointments of war crimminals to the Congolese Army:
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s transitional government should investigate and prosecute militia leaders responsible for massacres and other grave war crimes in the northeastern Ituri district, not reward them with high-ranking posts in the country’s newly integrated army, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 10, the Congolese Chief of Staff appointed five former warlords from the Ituri district in northeastern Congo to serve as generals in the country’s army. Four of the five new generals—Jérôme Kakwavu, Floribert Kisembo, Bosco Taganda and Germain Katanga—are alleged to have committed serious human rights abuses including war crimes and crimes against humanity. Hundreds of witnesses have told Human Rights Watch that these four commanders ordered, tolerated or personally committed ethnic massacres, murder, torture, rape, mutilation and the recruitment of child soldiers. According to United Nations estimates, the conflict in Ituri has cost the lives of more than 60,000 civilians. “Appointments like these raise serious questions about the Congolese government’s commitment to justice and human rights,” said Alison Des Forges, senior advisor to the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. “The government needs to take these warlords to court, not give them responsible positions in the army.”


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