Civilian Killings and Impunity in Congo
October 1, 1997

The Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) carried out massive killings of civilian refugees and other violations of basic principles of international humanitarian law during attacks on refugee camps in the former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) that began in late 1996, and in the ensuing seven months as war spread across the country. The war pitted the ADFL, used here to mean all forces under the nominal command of Laurent-Desiré Kabila, with important backing from Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Angola and other neighboring states, against a coalition of then President Mobutu Sese Seko's Zairian Armed Forces (FAZ), former Rwandan Armed Forces (ex-FAR), Rwandan Interahamwe militia, and mercenaries. In addition to overthrowing former Zairian President Mobutu, the RPA and ADFL sought to disperse the refugee camps in Eastern Zaire, home to hundreds of thousands of civilian refugees as well as the ex-FAR and Interahamwe. Since the beginning of the war in the former Zaire gross violations of international humanitarian law have been committed by all parties to the conflict.

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ISBN: Vol. 9, No. 5 (A)