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III. Methodology

Human Rights Watch researchers conduct fact-finding investigations into human rights abuses by governments and non-state actors in all regions of the world. We visit the site of abuses to interview victims, witnesses and others.

This report is based on six research missions conducted by Human Rights Watch researchers in 2004 and 2005.  Our team carried out research in the DRC and Uganda in February, March, May, July and October 2004 and in Europe in January and April 2005.  Additional research material from missions to the DRC and Uganda in 2003 was also incorporated.   As part of its research Human Rights Watch visited five gold mines and several other small-scale mining operations in Mongbwalu and Durba, northeastern Congo.

In preparation for this report, Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed more than 150 individuals including victims, witnesses, gold miners, gold traders, gold exporters, customs officials, OKIMO officials, civil society members and union representatives.  Our researchers also met with Ituri armed groups leaders, Ugandan army officials, DRC and Ugandan government representatives as well as with U.N. officials, international diplomats and officials of international financial institutions.

Human Rights Watch researchers met with representatives from AngloGold Ashanti on four occasions in Uganda and Congo, and put many of the most troubling allegations to the company in writing offering it an opportunity to respond.   Human Rights Watch researchers also engaged in written correspondence with Metalor Technologies and met with the company representatives in Switzerland to discuss concerns.

The information in this report was reviewed by external legal counsel in numerous jurisdictions. 

Box 1: Who is Who? 

Main armed groups mentioned in this report

Union of Congolese Patriots (Union des Patriots Congolais,UPC)

Leader:  Thomas Lubanga. 

The UPC is an armed group in Ituri promoting the interests of the ethnic Hema. It took control of Bunia in August 2002 with the help of Uganda. Soon after the UPC received support from Rwanda.  In late 2003 the UPC split into two factions, one under Kisembo Bahemuka (known as UPC-K) and the other under Thomas Lubanga (known as UPC-L). The Lubanga faction was militarily stronger, led by Commander Bosco Taganda in the absence of Thomas Lubanga detained in Kinshasa.  Despite series allegations of human rights abuses carried out by Commander Bosco Taganda, he was offered a position as a general in the new Congolese army, the FARDC (Forces Armées du la République Démocractique du Congo), in January 2005.  To date he has refused to take up his post.

Nationalist and Integrationist Front (Front des Nationalistes et Intégrationnistes, FNI)

Leader: Floribert Njabu. 

The FNI is an armed group in Ituri promoting the interests of the ethnic Lendu.  Established in late 2002 it temporarily integrated the Lendu militia, known as the FNI, together with the Ngiti milita (Lendu from the south) known as the FRPI.  The two branches split into separate armed groups in 2004 after leadership wrangles.  The FNI is supported by Uganda. While Ugandan forces were in Congo in 2003 they carried out joint military operations with the FNI.  In 2002 and 2003, the FNI also benefited from military training and support from a national rebel group, the RCD-ML.  One of their senior commanders, Gode Sukpa, was integrated into the FARDC as a general in January 2005.  No checks were carried out as to his suitability for the role.

People’s Armed Forces of Congo (Forces Armées du Peuple Congolais, FAPC)

Leader: Jérôme Kakwavu Bukande.

An Ituri armed group based in northeastern Congo (Aru and Ariwara), established in March 2003 with the support of Uganda. Commander Jérôme switched alliances several times since 1998 moving from the RCD-ML, to the UPC before launching his own armed group. In May 2003 a mutiny attempt to overthrow Commander Jérôme was brutally put down with Ugandan support. Despite serious allegations of war crimes carried out on the order of Commander Jérôme, he was integrated into the new Congolese army, the FARDC, as a general in January 2005.

Other armed groups

Northeastern Congo has a host of other armed groups mentioned in passing in this report.  They include the following:

- Party for Unity and Safeguarding of the Integrity of Congo (Parti pour l’unité et la sauvegarde de l’intégrité du Congo, PUSIC), predominantly made up of ethnic Hema from the south. 

- Patriotic Force of Resistance in Ituri (Force de Résistance Patriotique d’Ituri, FRPI), made up of ethnic Ngiti (Lendu from the south) who operate in areas south of Bunia.

- Congolese Rally for Democracy – National (Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie - National, RCD-National), a rebel group led by Roger Lumbala based in the Isiro and Watsa areas to the north.  Now integrated into the Congolese transitional government.

- Congolese Rally for Democracy – Liberation Movement (Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie – Mouvement de Libération, RCD-ML), a rebel group led by Mbusa Nyamwisi based out of Beni in North Kivu.  Its armed wing was called the Congolese People’s Army (Armée du Peuple Congolaise, APC).  This movement was integrated into the Congolese transitional government.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>June 2005