Should Rwanda hand over surrendered M23 rebels to DRC?

Editor, I thank the author for this great opinion, but I think that, in his analysis, he should try to avoid being one-sided and leave politics aside. Law is law and the international principles in law are clear.
FARDC soldiers mutilating dead bodies of the ‘enemy fighters’. Net photo.
FARDC soldiers mutilating dead bodies of the ‘enemy fighters’. Net photo.

Editor,

I thank the author for this great opinion, but I think that, in his analysis, he should try to avoid being one-sided and leave politics aside. Law is law and the international principles in law are clear. The arrest warrants by DRC against former M23 rebel leaders are legally acceptable and justified. Rwanda should hand over those people because they committed atrocities in Congo and no one should protect them.

 

John, Kigali
Rwanda

 

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MAY JOHN please enlighten us on how and where “international principles in law are clear” as you claim. Also, let us know any country and instances where the law applies in total disregard of political considerations. And please don’t just assert; provide specific examples and proof to substantiate what you claim.

Justice everywhere is designed by politicians to respond to situations of actual or potential conflict that might spin out of control unless addressed through legal processes (mediation, arbitration, trials, etc.) that must generally be accepted as legitimate by societies in which they are applied.

No one in his right mind, at least keen observers of the functioning of the country’s institutions, could even contemplate handing over to the DRC Government such people as Runiga, Ngaruye, Rucogoza, etc., no matter how justified or not you consider their reasons for rising against such a regime. You only have to see the gruesome images of the torture, other inhumane treatment and murder of captured M23 fighters or even Kinyarwanda-speaking FARDC officers alleged to have betrayed the FARDC to realise how your proposal to hand these people over to Kinshasa is highly irresponsible, including on the basis of international law.

Please read the four Geneva Conventions which prohibit contracting parties to hand over people such as these to countries likely to treat them inhumanely as we know the DRC.

You don’t have to analyse the finer points of international legal principles to conclude that it would be criminal to hand over anyone to the “tender mercies” of the DRC.

All you need is to look at the impunity with which their soldierly engage in mass murder, rape and looting of the very population they are meant to protect and the widespread desecration of bodies of fellow soldiers (often from the same side but suspected of being sympathetic with the ‘enemy’ because of their genetic signature” -- in the genocidal language of DRC Foreign Minister Tsibanda) to realise the inhumane fate to which they would be destined.

And, is there any organisation now guiltier of violating the purposes and principles for which the United Nations was set up than the UN itself? If you are able to name one, please let me know.

Mwene Kalinda, Kigali
Rwanda

Reactions to Emmanuel Mugisha’s opinion, “Prosecution vs persecution: the fate of DRC commanders”, (The New Times, August 1)

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