The Democratic Republic of Congo and
neighboring Rwanda are considering a neutral country to try former renegade
army general Laurent Nkunda for his rebel insurgency in Congo. This comes after
Kigali refused to extradite the former rebel leader for prosecution, saying
Rwandan law prevents it from handing him over to Congo while Kinshasa still
favors the death penalty. The
Democratic Republic of Congo wants Nkunda extradited for crimes committed
during a brutal five-year rebellion in restive North Kivu province, during
which he captured vast amounts of territory and threatened the regional capital
Journalist Jack Kahora, who covers the DRC for the Voice of America told VOA that Kinshasa seems displeased with the neutral country
agreement worked out with Kigali.
minister of justice of DRC was in Kigali to meet his counterpart in Rwanda in a
discussion around the extradition of Nkunda to the DRC. During the discussions,
Rwanda said that it would be difficult for the country to send Nkunda to DRC
because he can be sentenced to death," Kahora said.
said Kigali proposed a third country which does not favor the death penalty to
handle the former rebel leader's trial.
authorities wish Nkunda could be extradited to a neutral country rather than
DRC," he said.
said both Kigali and Kinshasa are yet to select a country to handle the former
rebel leader's trial and "there are some rebels in Kinshasa holding
discussions…with the government."
He said Nkunda's former
rebel movement is currently in peace talks with the government, but the
discussions have so far reached a stalemate.
"The discussions seem not to
advance because they (government) want to see first the outcome of Nkunda
before they discuss with the new rebels of the CNDP (The National Congress for
People's Defense)," he said.
Kahora said the CNDP accuses
the Kinshasa government of failing to live up to terms of a previously signed
"In fact, the agreements
which are clear up to now, you know, there are some issues which are not known
by the public up to now. And that is why most of the other groups are
complaining like the civil society… so even the local people would want to know
exactly the content of the agreement which was signed," Kahora said.
He said there seems to be
confusion among the former combatants who are not sure what their role would be
in the recently signed agreement with the government.
"What is true is that the
rebels of CNDP are not happy because up to now, they have been divided. But
they don't know what responsibility has been given to them. It is true that the
military officers have already have been integrated in the national army with
their ranks. But the political leaders would also like to be integrated into
political positions," he said.
Kahora said the government
faces a stiff challenge in bringing in the political wing of the former CNDP
"In Kinshasa, power was
shared among the winners of the election during the 2006 elections, and that is
how the power was shared. Now the
question is to know how the CNDP, which didn't win the elections, can be also positioned
at the national level. These are the discussions which are taking place in
Kinshasa up to now," Kahora said.
He said the former
combatants have been taking their frustration about the current stalemate with
the government one step further by carrying out actions detrimental to public
"On the ground, the soldiers
who belong to the CNDP have blocked trucks carrying food to Goma. About 60
trucks are blocked and cannot reach Goma up to now, and have now created a kind
of shortage of food in the area up to now," he said.