CONGO - UN SECURITY COUNCIL
SANCTIONS CONGO ARMY COMMANDER
* Commander accused of ordering
massacres, rapes in east
Three Rwandan Hutu rebel leaders also hit with sanctions
NATIONS, Dec 1 (Reuters) - A U.N. Security Council committee blacklisted a
commander in the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for ordering
massacres and rapes of women and children in the country's violent east.
In addition to
Lieutenant Colonel Innocent Zimurinda, a former rebel incorporated into the
army as part of a peace deal, the Security Council's Congo sanctions committee
also blacklisted three members of a Rwandan Hutu rebel group, the United
States, Britain and France said in a joint statement.
The four will
face an international travel ban and all their financial assets will be frozen.
accused of giving "orders that resulted in the massacre of over 100
Rwandan refugees, mostly women and children, during an April 2009 military
operation in the Shalio area," the statement said.
Human Rights Watch and 50 Congolese human rights groups lodged a formal
complaint against Zimurinda, a senior officer in the conflict-riddled east of
the central African country, requesting his suspension.
groups said that Zimurinda had overseen or participated in massacres, summary
executions, rape, recruitment of children and forced labor.
In addition to
the massacre of Rwandan Hutu refugees, they accused him of commanding troops
who raped women and girls and shot members of their families in 2009 and 2010.
envoy on children and armed conflict Margot Wallstrom said in May that
Zimurinda had recruited children and had been involved in arbitrary executions
of child soldiers.
members of the FDLR Rwandan Hutu rebel group added to the sanctions list are
Brigadier General Gaston Iyamuremye, Lieutenant Colonel Felicien Nsanzubukire
and Brigadier General Leodomir Mugaragu. All were said to have committed
actions undermining the stability of Congo.
Wednesday's decision, the committee's blacklist contained the names of 20
individuals and six organizations accused of violating a U.N. arms embargo,
recruiting child soldiers and other breaches of Security Council resolutions.
of Congo has been struggling to regain control over the country since a
1998-2003 war and accompanying humanitarian disaster that killed 5.4 million
Its army has
been accused of human rights abuses during a U.N.-backed operations against the
FDLR rebel group. (Editing by Patrick Worsnip and Stacey Joyce)