DRC Rebel Group Rejects War Crimes Charges

Posted September 11th, 2012 at 3:05 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is denying allegations it has committed widespread war crimes.

Human Rights Watch accuses the March 23 Movement of rapes, killings, torture, abductions and recruiting children to work as soldiers.

The report issued Monday says M23 is leaving behind a “horrific trail of atrocities” in eastern Congo.

In an interview with VOA Tuesday, M23 spokesman Vianney Kazarama strongly rejected the accusations.

“Frankly, it is a false information, a false report. We reject this entire report. We invited Human Rights Watch to investigate these allegations. They never accepted it,” he said. “We consider HRW on Kinshasa's side.”

Human Rights Watch says M23 has executed 33 of its own fighters for trying to desert. The rights group reports that 15 civilians have been killed in rebel territories since June.

The U.S.-based group cites findings based on interviews with nearly 200 Congolese and Rwandan victims, family members, witnesses, local authorities and current or former M23 fighters.

M23 is made up of army mutineers who launched a rebellion in April and eventually drove Congolese troops from some areas in the east.

The United Nations has accused the Rwandan government of actively supporting M23, which is made up of ethnic Tutsis. The Rwandan government has denied the accusation.

International talks have failed to end the violence, which has forced at least 220,000 people to flee.