New AMiA Bishops

If there is something that Anglicans are good at, it is making bishops. The Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has two new bishops: Gerry Schnackenberg and Carl Buffington. Schnackenberg was one of the first wave of AMiA priests way back in 2000, as you can see in this article. According to the website of his church:

Fr. Gerry Schnackenberg, Rector of Epiphany has his license for ordained ministry with the first Bishop of the Diocese of Kibondo, the Rt. Rev. Sospeter T. Ndenza. Fr. Gerry is also Bishop Ndenza’s Commissary or representative in the U.S.A. and serves as his Canon to St. Hilary’s Cathedral Kibondo.

AMiA publicized Schnackenberg’s April 2013 visit to Tanzania:

During the services, Gerry participated in the Holy Spirit falling on many in attendance and delivering others from demonic influence.

“This sort of ‘Power Ministry’ has been largely unknown to the people which means they are really, really open to it under the godly leadership of their Bishop whom they trust,” Gerry says. “Bishop Sospeter told me last February after experiencing the evening of healing prayer at Winter Conference that this is what he very much wanted for his Diocese. I believe he is setting a pattern for healthy and powerful ministry of releasing the fullness of the Holy Spirit in a gentle, but moving way.”

 

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Gerry Schnackenberg

 

Carl Buffington joined AMiA in 2004. Last year, Buffington went to Rwanda to attend the funeral of retired Archbishop Kolini’s son, John. Buffington’s article relating this experience mentions Pierre Habumuremyi and Rwigamba Balinda, both prominent Rwandan regime insiders, as being at the funeral. Habumuremyi was Prime Minister until 2014 when Kamage sacked him, see here. Balinda was part of a triumvurate of M23 supporters that included Bishops Kolini and Rucyahana, as the U.N. pointed out:

RPF members have been recruiting sympathizers and raising funds for M23 from within Rwanda. Politicians, former Rwandan armed forces and CNDP officers told the Group that Rwigamba Balinda, a Rwandan senator and Rector of the Free University of Kigali, and John Rucyahana, a bishop (see S/2012/348/Add.1, para. 29), both RPF members, had overseen those activities in Rwanda and abroad.

It is fascinating that these regime insiders attended the Kolini funeral, and is more evidence that both PEARUSA and AMiA are tied to the Rwandan regime, although they may not even realize it.

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Carl Buffington

H. Miller has left AMiA for Holy Trinity Brompton, to serve a dual role as Associate Pastor at St. Barnabas Kensington and as the Church Planting Network Developer for the HTB Network (Holy Trinity Brompton). This leaves a very top heavy structure as follows:

College of Consultors

Rector The Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini
Vice Rector The Most Rev. Yong Ping Chung
Secretary The Most Rev. Moses Tay
Consultors:

The Rt. Rev. Charles H Murphy, III

The Rt. Rev. Sospeter T Ndenza

The Rt. Rev. William B Mugenyi

General Secretary

The Very Rev. Mike Murphy

 

Conference Of Missionary Bishops

The Rt. Rev. Alexander Maury (Sandy) Greene
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Silas Tak Yin Ng
The Rt. Rev. Charles H Murphy, III
The Rt. Rev. Gerry Schnackenberg
The Rt. Rev. Carl Buffington
The Rt. Rev. Thomas William (TJ) Johnston, Jr.
The Rt. Rev. John Hewitt Rodgers, Jr.

The communication from AMiA follows:

Last week the Anglican Mission was pleased to announce that at a recent College of Consultors meeting Gerry Schnackenberg+ and Carl Buffington+ were elected Bishop Emissaries for the Diocese of Kibondo and Boga, respectively. A bishop emissary, in Anglican custom, represents the respective mission partner diocese in matters that might assist or affect them outside of their dioceses. As both men are members of the Society, they will be given responsibilities in the Society as delegated from my office for confirmations, ordinations, etc, which our Concordats provide for. As one of our main values is spiritual oversight for clergy, the addition of Gerry+ and Carl+ will help greatly in that area. I will be meeting in Dallas with both bishops-elect soon to work on their portfolios for their ministry in The Mission. They will continue to serve as senior pastors of their respective churches. Their consecrations will be scheduled during Eastertide as plans are being finalized mindful of the schedules of the partners who will be attending, the available venues, etc.

We in the Society are excited about the election and grateful to our partners for sharing the emissaries, Bishop-elect Schnackenberg and Bishop-elect Buffington. Please keep them in your prayers as they go forward to serve your missionary interests.

Rwandan Soldier Serving with the UN and M23

The UN Group of Experts on the DRC have released their latest report. It shows M23 executing prisoners last year prior to their defeat:

Executed by M23
Executed by M23

It also discusses a Rwandan soldier who at one point served on one of Rwanda’s many peacekeeping missions for the UN, and later served with M23, showing the clear link between Rwandan forces and M23, as well as the problem the UN has with using Rwandan forces in peacekeeping operations. This is one reason why Rwanda gets a pass in the West, because we want their army to do our dirty work. The report says:

In addition, a Rwandan Special Forces soldier who had previously served with RDF as part of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (see annex 18) told the Group he had deployed in August from Mudende as part of a reinforcement operation. While some RDF soldiers joined M23 directly, he escorted a commander to the slopes of the Karisimbi volcano, from where they had visual surveillance of the M23-controlled area and communication links with RDF forces operating with M23.

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Rwandan Recruitment for M23 in 2013

The latest report of the United Nations Group of Experts on the DRC says this about ongoing Rwandan support for the murderous M23 “rebellion” in 2013:

20. The Group interviewed 23 people from Rwanda who served in M23. Of these, 18 were Rwandan citizens and five were Congolese citizens living in Rwanda. The Group also interviewed 31 ex-combatants from DRC, Uganda, and Burundi who told the Group there were Rwandan citizens and/or Congolese refugees from Rwanda serving with them. Between 1 January and 8 December 2013, MONUSCO repatriated 78 Rwandan citizens who had served with M23.

21. Of the 23 recruits from Rwanda, 18 were adults and 5 were children. They ended up serving with M23 through a variety of means. The Group interviewed 3 Rwandan citizens who were forced to join M23, including one 16-year-old boy. The Group also interviewed 13 Rwandan citizens who joined M23, including boys aged 13, 15 and 17, who were recruited either as volunteers or through false promises of employment. The Group interviewed one RDF Special Forces soldier who deployed at the Rwanda-DRC border in August 2013 during an RDF deployment into DRC in support of M23, and later deserted.

The Group also interviewed 5 Congolese citizens recruited in Rwanda, including one 17-year-old boy.

22. The Group has confirmed that some of the M23 recruits from Rwanda were demobilized RDF soldiers. Former M23 officers and soldiers told the Group that demobilized RDF soldiers served in M23 as trainers and operators of heavy weapons. Four ex-M23 combatants told the Group that Maj. Kalissa Rwema is one ex-RDF officer who served as a trainer for M23 at Rumangabo. UN sources and two ex-M23 officers told the Group that an ex-RDF soldier known only by his nickname “Kifaru” was a crewmember in the T-55 tank that M23 used in combat.

23. The Group previously reported that Rwandan nationals who deserted M23 and returned directly to Rwanda were forcibly sent back to M23 by RDF officers. Two RDF officers who had deserted, a demobilized RDF officer, a former M23 officer, and a M23 recruiter of Rwandan nationality told the Group that RDF officers have also recruited for M23 and have facilitated recruitment by M23 recruiters by allowing them safe passage in Rwanda.

24. M23 paid Emmanuel Ngabo $750 to help cadres recruiting for M23 in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Gaspard Karemera, the M23-appointed Administrator of the Nyragongo Territory, also travelled to Rwanda to recruit and facilitate the crossing of the recruits through the Kabuhanga border. After M23’s military defeat in November, MONUSCO officials informed the Group that they had recovered Rwandan national identity cards in former M23 positions at Rumangabo. FARDC also recovered such cards. The Group is investigating reports of continued recruitment in Rwanda after M23’s defeat.

Archbishop Rwaje’s Ecumenical Letter to the UN, Part 5


My previous post on Archbishop Rwaje’s letter to the UN was in August (link), but I want to pick the subject up again. As I have shown, the “Ecumenical” letter comes straight out of the Kagame playbook, blaming the UN Group of Experts report and making unfounded accusations against its methodology.

The “Statement from the Rwandan Religious Leaders on the crisis in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo” goes on to imply that the United Nations intends to harm Rwanda through its reporting:

…if a published UN report is found lacking and its credibility is in question, the UN should be courageous and humble enough to make a public statement to the effect that the document in question should not be relied on for any serious judgment or decision until the truth is established. Failure to do so would simply mean that the omission and anticipated harm was actually intended and the UN cannot avoid being seen as an accomplice in such a matter. In compiling the second report, lessons should have been taken from the experiences of the previous report whose credibility had been undermined by a methodology that was far from being professional. Knowing the United Nations and what it stands for, one is tempted to think, that there could be manipulation of UN processes by organizations or individuals which the UN systems may or may not be aware of.

Here’s the thing: the published UN report is NOT lacking and its credibility is NOT in question, except from the dictatorial Kagame government which lies to the world on a regular basis. Since this letter was written in 2012, M23 was defeated and where did the remaining terrorists flee to? Rwanda and Uganda. The evidence for Rwandan support for M23 is overwhelming and cannot be credibly denied.

The Statement continues:

Compiled without the input of the accused, the report was dismissed as unfounded and baseless which led to Rwanda being given the opportunity to present their views.

There are two points to make about this sentence. First, what is the “apolitical” Anglican Church of Rwanda doing involving itself at this level of governmental detail? Recall that Archbishop Rwaje told George Conger prior to writing this letter:

We were not aware of the UN report or any involvement of our retired Bishops as contained in the report. PEAR is in the Proclamation of the Gospel and not in politics between two countries or simply put in politics. We are not able to comment on the report or the names therein.

Why, four months after telling Conger this, would the Archbishop insert the Anglican Church into geopolitics? I believe that the reason is due to pressure from the Kagame regime, which no one can seem to stand up to in Rwanda.

The second point to make is the accusation that the UN Report was “compiled without the input of the accused.” This is a charge that was made directly by the Kagame regime and the fact that it is included in this Ecumenical reply shows that the true hand behind the Ecumenical reply is that of the Rwandan government. As to the charge itself, here is what the Group of Experts said to obliterate this silly claim:

Absence of a right of reply
7. Throughout its rebuttal to the Group’s Addendum, the GoR repeatedly makes the claim that the Group “did not feel compelled to consult the Rwandan authorities.” The rebuttal defends that “at no stage was the GoR provided an opportunity to offer substantive input” and “none of the sources interviewed were Rwandan officials.” Furthermore, the GoR argues “any formal consultation with the GoR would have invalidated the need for the addendum.”
8. As stated in the Addendum, these claims are untrue. From 14-17 May 2012, the Group, in connection with its letter sent to the Permanent Mission of Rwanda on 19 April 2012, conducted an official visit to Kigali during which the GoR declined to participate in any substantive meetings with the Group other than a thirty-minute conversation on 17 May. During the latter, however, the Group quickly raised several concerns regarding the potential for external support from Rwandan territory to M23 in light of its recently established position along the DRC-Rwanda border. The GoR representatives declined to respond and stated that they took note of these questions.
9. The GoR has also stated that the GoE did not explicitly mention M23 in its letter of 19 April 2012 concerning this visit to Kigali. However, M23 was created on 4 May 2012, more than two weeks after the transmittal of the Group’s letter regarding this official visit. Therefore, the Group could not have made any reference to M23 in such a communication, as the rebel movement did not exist at the time. The GoR also claims that “the purpose of that visit was unrelated to violations of the UN Arms Embargo and certainly not to Rwanda’s alleged support to the M23 mutiny.” However, the Group’s core mandate is the arms embargo, and all of its activities, research, and official visits are fundamentally based on monitoring its application and investigating violations of the embargo. In the second paragraph of its 19 April 2012 letter, the Group states, “As you are aware, the Group of Experts is mandated by the Security Council to monitor implementation and investigate violations of the arms embargo, with a view to recommending individuals and entities for financial and travel sanctions.”16 Furthermore, during its previous mandates, the Group has always discussed external support to armed groups in violation of the arms embargo while conducting its official visits to Rwanda. This has included diaspora backing of the FDLR and previous GoR support to the CNDP. Furthermore, the Group attached to its 19 April 2012 letter to the GoR a copy of Security Council resolution 2021 (2011), which constitutes the current mandate of the Group of Experts and renews the arms embargo on all armed groups operating in the DRC. 10. Prior to this official visit, the Group made two other attempts to meet with the GoR in Kigali. At the outset of its mandate, on 29 February 2012, representatives of the GoR’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations invited the Group to Kigali for a series of meetings during the third week of March 2012. However, when the Group sought to arrange the final details, the GoR canceled the visit. Subsequently on 7 April 2012, two members of the Group arranged a meeting in Kigali with Rwandan Minister of Defence, General James Kabarebe. However, after traveling three hours from Goma to Kigali and waiting another five hours, the meeting was also canceled.

11. The Group raised its frustration with the lack of communication with the GoR’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations on 6 June 2012. As a result, two senior government officials did meet with a member of the Group in Kigali on 9 June 2012, during which time they explicitly discussed the crisis in eastern DRC and the activities of M23.
12. Furthermore, at the specific request of members of the Committee, the Group agreed to delay its submission of the Addendum in order to provide the GoR with an opportunity to share any explanations or clarifications regarding the Group’s findings. On 25 June, the Coordinator of the Group met in New York with the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, H.E. Louise Mushikiwabo, the Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations, H.E. Eugène Richard Gasana, and the Presidential Security Advisor, Major Patrick Karuretwa. With regards to this meeting, the GoR rebuttal states that “The GoE coordinator also offered to include in the report any comment from his Rwandan interlocutors, notwithstanding the fact that, even at that stage, he did not present anything beyond the “general categories of allegations” against Rwanda.” This claim is untrue.
13. During this meeting, the Coordinator, accompanied by a member of the United Nations Secretariat, clarified for the GoR delegation the Group’s methodology, the process of the submission of the interim report (S/2012/348) and the circumstances of the Addendum. However, contrary to what the GoR rebuttal purports, when the Coordinator began his briefing on the contents of the Addendum, the GoR delegation asked the Coordinator to wait until a follow-up visit to Kigali in July 2012.
14. After explaining that members of the Committee had explicitly requested that the Group provide the GoR with the contents of the Addendum and the opportunity for a right of reply, the Coordinator proceeded with his briefing. Though the GoR representatives listened to the Group’s findings, they declined to pose any questions or respond with any explanations or clarifications. Nevertheless, immediately following the meeting with the Coordinator on 25 June 2012, the Minister conducted a press conference at the United Nations on the crisis in eastern DRC, during which she stated, “Rwanda is not privy to the leak of this report. We don’t really know what is being claimed here but. . . our position is that whatever is in the report, Rwanda and the Rwandan Army doesn’t know and hasn’t had the opportunity to look at the allegations and comment.” On that same evening, the Coordinator held a follow-up meeting with Major Karuretwa to discuss further the contents the Group’s Addendum. However, Karuretwa once again declined to provide any explanation or clarification of the Group’s findings.
15. Despite these facts, the GoR claims that “it is therefore preposterous to suggest that a 30-minutes meeting, two hours before the submission of the addendum to the UN Sanctions Committee, could be considered as Rwanda’s opportunity to respond to detailed allegations against its senior officials.” Not only did the meeting with the Minister take place from 9 am to 11 am, but the Addendum was submitted to the Sanctions Committee the following day on 26 June 2012. The Group communicated in writing to the Chairman of the Committee regarding the GoR’s reticence to take advantage of this opportunity for a right of reply on 25 June 2012.
16. In the absence of any explanation or response the Group sought out information which could constitute an official GoR position, for the purposes of the Addendum, including a statement made by the Rwandan representative to the African Union as well as the confidential Rwandan report within the Joint Verification Mechanism.

Ultimately, this charge against the UN is baseless and to see Anglican leaders repeating it shows how complicit they are with the regime’s narrative.

Casualties of M23

With M23 crushed on the field of battle and Bosco Ntaganda awaiting trial, what remains of Paul Kagame’s latest assault on the Congo are the dead and raped. Overwhelmingly, this is the native population of the Kivu provinces, but it also includes those from Rwanda and Uganda foolish enough, or unfortunate enough, to enlist (or be enlisted) in M23, many of them Bagogwe Tutsi.

A dead M23 soldier.

More M23 casualties.

How many of these dead were child soldiers, kidnapped into battle by M23? As we know:

While M23 denies recruiting children, between January and April 2013, CPS identified 33 boys who deserted from M23, aged between 15 and 17 (see annex 68). Out of the 33, 11 had been recruited in Rwanda. In addition, the Group interviewed nine M23 deserters who confirmed that some children had escaped and returned directly to their families without surrendering to authorities, confirming that there are undocumented cases of child soldier desertions. According to these sources, this practice has been more common among deserters who had been recruited in Rwanda and who seek to directly return home.

The Group also interviewed seven adult former combatants who had been recruited in Rwanda; these men stated that recruiters had promised them and some children “lucrative jobs in Congo”, but instead they were delivered to M23. These sources also disclosed that they had been recruited in Rwanda’s Nkamira Refugee Camp and the villages of Mizingo, Bigogwe, Byumba, and Nkuri. They added that while training in Rumangabo they had met other recruits who came from Kitotoma, Gitega, Musanze (Ruhengeri), Kichumbi, Rukomo and Gisenyi town in Rwanda. The Group also interviewed nine M23 deserters and 24 civilians in Kiwanja, Kanyaruchinya, Rutshuru town and Bunagana who also confirmed cases of forced recruitment of children in their communities.

Captured M23 terrorists. 

The effects of this latest wave of evil do not fall proportionally on those responsible for it, as they pretend along with Paul Kagame that all is well, at least when in the public eye.

Rucyahana playing Kwicazwa ku gatebe

Meanwhile, the FARDC inspects this artillery piece below, which looks like it could be a M1943 (ZiS-2) from Rwanda, to venture a guess. I’m sure the Group of Experts will have a lot to talk about in their next report.

Where did M23 get this Howitzer?

Did Paul Kagame Just Admit Rucyahana’s Support for M23?

The New York Times carries a long profile of Paul Kagame called “The Global Elite’s Favorite Strongman” this week. The article gets into quite a bit of Kagame’s dark side, without dismantling his entire facade. But what jumps out at me is this startling sentence:

He acknowledged that some Rwandan churches have been sending money to Congolese rebels, as part of a Tutsi self-protection campaign.

This is amazing. I would like to know what question led to this answer, but to me, the only likely basis for the question is the support of bishops Rucyahana and Kolini for M23, publicly noted in three United Nations reports. What other reports of church funding for M23 have there been?
If so, this means that at the highest possible level, from the mouth of the dictator himself, we have total confirmation of the activities of Rucyahana, Kolini, and who knows who else, in support of M23. Just this week, Human Rights Watch said of M23:

Just in the last two weeks, M23 fighters executed two local chiefs, shot and stabbed to death a boy, and shot dead at least three other men. Their shelling of populated neighborhoods in and around Goma killed at least seven civilians and wounded more than 40. A 16-year-old girl was killed while bathing when a mortar landed outside her home. A 14-year-old boy was killed when a mortar hit his home as he slept. Another mortar landed on a school, crushing to death a child playing.

Since April 2012, the rebels have committed widespread war crimes, including summary executions, rapes, and forced recruitment of children.Yet Rwanda has supplied them with weapons and ammunition, provided them new recruits, and backed them with military forces. Other armed groups and Congolese soldiers have also committed serious abuses.

We may now have a case of “Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you.”

A Narrative of Recent Battles Around Goma

What follows is a very crude Google translation with a bit of polishing of the UN’s account which tells of the recent fighting between M23 and both the FARDC and UN forces. The account ends at today’s events.


On 22 August 2013, FARDC launched rocket attacks with multiple guns, mortars and small arms against the positions of M23 located in the region of Kibati, the ”Three Towers” on the hills of Kibati Mukondo. Other battles took place until 11:30 at the FARDC forward positions in North Hill, Kibati Mutaho. the Government army armored vehicles also attacked the positions of M23 located south of Kibati and “Three Towers.” At 13 pm, a (01) mortar shell fired by the M23 fell on South Munigi and two (02) others fell in North East Munigi, causing no casualties or damage among UN troops.

M23 position at Kibati, called the “three antennas” (picture taken on 27 May 2013)

At 2:30 p.m., elements of the M23 deployed atop “Mount Helmet”, located east of the town of Katale fired against attack helicopters from MONUSCO returning from a reconnaissance mission, without causing damage. The Brigade Force of MONUSCO North Kivu immediately placed its troops deployed in the Munigi region on high alert to prevent any escalation of the mutineers of the M23 to the city of Goma. The Artillery Brigade Intervention Force of MONUSCO attacked M23 positions in the Three Towers region of Kibati. Two (02) attack helicopters from MONUSCO conducted air patrols over M23 positions located in the outskirts of Rutshuru.


August 23, 2013, fighting broke out again for two hours between the two parties and continued for 20 hours without causing any real change in their original positions. Making use of the FARDC multiple rocket guns and mortars targeted the positions of M23 deployed on the hills Kibati, in the Three Towers Hill crater in the Kibati area. The South African peacekeepers of the Intervention Brigade based in Munigi responded fiercely to the M23 attack by firing 81mm mortar at the positions of the mutineers, located on the hills of Kibati. Two (02) attack helicopters from MONUSCO engaged the enemy positions, with a significant amount of rockets, shells and flares.
On August 24, 2013, fighting broke out again for 6 hours. FARDC troops engaged the positions of M23 in Kibati, initially with small arms, and then with rocket launchers and multiple guns. At 16 hours, FARDC attack helicopters also attacked the rebel positions of M23 at Katale. At 8:00, two (02) mortar shells fired by the M23 fell in the Ndosho neighborhood of Goma, killing one (01) woman and wounding six (06) individuals… In response to this flagrant violation of humanitarian law by the mutineers of the M23, who have deliberately shot artillery shells in populated areas, MONUSCO in accordance with its mandate to protect civilians, responded by deploying its attack helicopters above the M23 positions in Kibati, which fired a total of 216 rockets and 42 flares. The Artillery Brigade of the MONUSCO Intervention Force also targeted the positions of M23 deployed on the hills of Kibati and in the region of Three Towers, and neutralized one (01) M23 truck carrying ammunition.
At 3:10 p.m., two (02) FARDC attack helicopters engaged M23 troops deployed in Kibumba. At 6:30 p.m., the M23 fired two (02) anti-tank rockets on the armored MONUSCO Brigade positioned in the Kanyaruchinya region. One (01) M23 mortar fell near the defensive lines of the MONUSCO Intervention Brigade in Munigi-east, and injured (01) South African peacekeeper and two (02) other Tanzanian battalion (soldiers).
…MONUSCO used artillery and mortars to destroy the positions M23 in Kibati-west and the Three Towers region.
The Goma Internal Defense Plan was activated. Troops in the MONUSCO North Kivu Brigade were placed on high alert in order to prevent infiltration of elements of M23 in Goma from the East, and four (04) Aerial reconnaissance patrols were conducted in order to monitor the positions of M23 and evaluate its reinforcements in areas of Kibumba, Kibati and Goma. On 25 and 26 August 2013, a relative calm was observed on the battlefield. However, some sporadic gunfire  was exchanged between FARDC troops and the rebels of the M23 was reported. On 28 August 2013, 7:50, attack helicopters from MONUSCO engaged in the hills of Kibati while the artillery of the Intervention Brigade of the FARDC went into action against the positions of the M23 south of the” Three Towers”, and on the heights of Kibati. FARDC battle tanks have also been pounding the positions of M23.

Rwanda Preparing for War?

According to Jean-Michel Dumont, M23 fired three rounds of artillery into Rwanda this morning, adding to the false flag attacks they have launched in the past. Rwanda acts as both arsonist and fireman in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and given the recent setbacks that its armed militia, M23, has suffered, it seems like Paul Kagame may be laying down a false pretext that will allow him to openly invade the DRC for a third time in the past 19 years.
Pikkie Greeff ‏reports on Twitter that: “M23 logistical supply lines from Rwanda being bombarded by Ukrainian helicopter gunships this morning, SA (south African) troops support from ground.”
Kagame cannot afford to lose the mining wealth he steals from the DRC because it is a large part of what keeps Rwanda’s budget afloat. Furthermore, Rwanda teaches school children and military personnel that the Kivu Provinces of the DRC were once part of Rwanda, with the obvious implication being that they should be part of it again.
Yesterday, the Rwandan military “invited all able bodied Rwandans aged between 18 and 23 to register for military training.” A young Rwandan who fled to Uganda to escape forcible enlistment in M23 was found by Ugandan police dumped in a cemetery after being tortured. Rwanda’s recriminations extend to foreign nations.
Meanwhile, Anglicans in America who are connected to Rwanda are predictibly silent about their counterparts in Rwanda. Praying for peace in the DRC is not credible if your nation is the one stirring up war.

Archbishop Rwaje’s Ecumenical Letter to the UN, Part 4

The Ecumenical letter continues:

…the lack of sufficient evidence to substantiate the claims presented in the reports…

See the previous post on methodology. There is more than sufficient evidence to substantiate the claims made by the UN.

…and most of all, the way these reports are being used or misused to undermine and derail Rwanda’s political, social and economic progress without setting up sustainable conditions for dialogue, reconciliation and peace.

Blaming the reports utterly misses the mark. It is the actions of the Rwandan State that are recorded in the reports that are causing setbacks for Rwanda. It is the events that are occurring, not the texts recording these events, that are at issue. Blaming reports that are thoroughly sourced and put together is looking in the wrong place.

Rwanda has dismissed both reports as unfounded and malicious, presenting another version of the story, which has not been challenged to date.

Actually, the Rwandan version of the story was totally debunked and answered line by line in the Group of Expert’s final report published in December, 2012. This dismissal of the reports is totally in step with the other responses from the Kagame government. As the United Nations put it:

Though the Group of Experts’ findings of Government of Rwanda (GoR)  violations of the arms embargo have received broad support from the members of the Committee, the GoR’s rebuttal is characterized by a tone of general disdain for the Group’s work and its methodology. The GoR states that the Group’s findings “have no value whatsoever, and should be considered with the contempt they deserve.” Publicly, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has called the Addendum, “rubbish.” During the Group’s visit to Kigali, the head of GoR delegation said the Group’s work was “trash.”

Archbishop Rwaje’s Ecumenical Letter to the UN, Part 3

The first two posts in this series looked at the background of the Ecumenical Letter to the United Nations and provided the full text of the letter. I will now examine the letter in detail, looking at the ways that it aligns with the government’s policy of attacking global humanitarian organizations.
The Cover Letter written by Archbishop Rwaje and the other religious leaders says:

We promote justice, equal rights and are against any form of violence be it in Rwanda, the Great Lakes Region, Africa or the whole world. The Rwandan Religious Leaders have serious concerns about the recent UN reports implicating Rwanda in the internal problems of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Ranging from the integrity of the experts compiling the reports, the methodology used…

Questioning the methodology of the UN Group of Experts reports is a consistent theme of Rwandan government communications on the DRC. This particular jab appears to be directed at Steve Hege as well as others, charges which are consistent with Kagame’s smear efforts. Hege outlined how this works in this link. The attack on the integrity of the Group of Experts  is laughable given the openness we see from the UN reports about their methodology. For example, in an interview at the Congo Siasa blog, an unnamed member of the Group of Experts was asked:

Some governments and individuals have responded over the years that the Group of Experts reports are full of unsubstantiated allegations and rumors? What is the Group’s methodology and how do you reach conclusions about arms embargo violations?

As you know well the Group of Experts is not in the business of making unsubstantiated allegations, but rather reporting information as objectively as possible to the Security Council and seeking to corroborate, document, and/or disprove information relevant to its mandate based upon what we’re able to obtain through first-hand observations, witness testimony, extensive interviews with current and former combatants, documentary evidence and government cooperation. We rely on the latter in gathering telephone, money transfer, or e-mail records, but are often not granted access due to privacy laws in certain countries. It’s important to clarify that the GoE is not a judicial mechanism or an intelligence service, nor does it benefit from any technological equipment in its investigations. Nevertheless, we rigorously investigate financial and material support to armed groups to the highest methodological standards possible within the reach of our limited resources. In addition, we aim to provide individuals cited in the report with the right of reply and are always willing to address any issues raised in subsequent reports for further clarification or correction.

Further, the Group of Experts final report devotes an entire Annex [Annex 2 of UN Document S/2012/843] to describing their methodology, beginning on page 59. An excerpt:

The Group of Experts adheres to a rigorous investigative methodology to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy of its assertions and conclusions. Its evidentiary standards uphold those recommended by the 2006 report of the Informal Working Group of the Security Council on General Issues of Sanctions. The Group conducts exhaustive and in-depth field research in zones controlled by armed groups, seeking at all times to rely on authentic documents and, wherever possible, first-hand, on-site observations by the experts themselves, including photographs. Where such evidence is not possible to obtain, investigative conclusions must be corroborated by, at a minimum, three sources assessed by the Group to be independent of one another, credible and reliable. The Group prioritizes testimonies from current and former members of armed groups, local witnesses of specific events, and security services principally from the DRC. Nevertheless, the Group systematically assesses the credibility of each of its sources and remains wary of deliberate efforts to influence its findings.

In the light of the serious nature of the Group’s findings regarding external support from the Government of Rwanda and individuals within the Ugandan security services, the Group has adopted elevated methodological standards for these investigations. Since early in April 2012, the Group interviewed over 120 deserters of FARDC mutinies and Congolese armed groups, including from M23. Among the latter, the Group interviewed 57 Rwandan nationals and two Ugandan nationals. During its field visits, the Group privileged its own observations and research on in conflict zones and along border posts. Furthermore, the Group also photographed weapons and military equipment found in arms caches and on the battlefield, and has obtained official internal documents and thoroughly analyzed both satellite imagery and intercepts of radio communications, assessed to be credible.

In light of (a) the UN’s stated methods and (b) the utter lack of integrity on the part of the Rwandan government, I deem this charge of the Ecumencial leaders to be totally without merit. To attack the integrity of the experts and the methodology they use essentially “because we said so” is not convincing. It is an assertion without evidence.