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Friday, 7 July, 2000, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
OAU seeks Rwanda compensation
Reburial of genocide victims
The OAU will demand compensation for the genocide
A call for a "Marshall Plan" style compensation package for Rwanda is likely to dominate the Organisation of African Unity Summit which begins in Togo next week.

The demand for compensation is part of an OAU inquiry into the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which blames Western powers for failing to intervene to stop the mass slaughter.

But the Lome summit is already controversial, owing to Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema's links with Angola's Unita rebels - something which has prompted Angola and Namibia to boycott the event.

President Eyedema
Togo's President Eyedema: Controversial host
And major West African power Ivory Coast has been excluded because of December's military coup.

The OAU inquiry is understood to single out France and the United States for particular blame in failing to prevent the genocide, in addition to the United Nations Security Council as a whole.

France is identified as having high-level contacts within Rwanda's former Hutu-led government, and could therefore, the report's authors argue, have exerted pressure to prevent the deaths of about 800,000 people.

The inquiry blames the US for failing to use its influence on the Security Council to authorise a military intervention to prevent the killing.

The report argues that the West failed to act despite there being plenty of available evidence that the mass killings had been about to begin.

Heavyweight authors

The report's authors include former Presidents Ketumile Masire of Botswana and General Ahmadou Touré of Mali, former Indian Chief Justice PN Bhagwati and senior UN officials - a line-up which is likely to give the inquiry considerable weight.

Ivory Coast soldiers
Ivory Coast is barred from the summit because of the December coup
The report concludes that a simple apology - as already made by the UN - is not enough, and calls for compensation.

The authors themselves make the comparison with the Marshall Plan - the $13bn US aid scheme for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.

The report also calls for the relocation of the UN's Rwanda war crimes tribunal from Tanzania to Rwanda itself - something which the Rwandan Government has long demanded.

It also demands the extradition of the chief genocide suspects from various European and African countries, and the US.

Junta-free zone

African foreign ministers are already in Lome for a prelimary meeting ahead of the summit which opens on Monday.

The OAU secretary general, Salim Ahmed Salim, said the meeting was taking place at a crucial time with drought and famine still claiming lives on the continent.

Last year the OAU resolved not to deal with regimes which had seized power by force of arms.

It has said it will not suspend this principle in the case of Ivory Coast - in spite of the promise by military leader General Robert Guei to return the country to civilian rule.

The OAU's opposition to military coups also means that the Comoro Islands are excluded from the Togo summit.

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See also:

11 Jan 00 | Africa
Rwandans to sue UN
05 Jul 00 | Africa
UN general's Rwandan nightmares
19 May 00 | Africa
Togo expels Unita exiles
05 Jul 00 | Africa
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