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Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
Kagame rejects DR Congo pull-out
Rwandan soldiers
Rwandan troops entered DR Congo in 1998
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has rejected calls to withdraw Rwandan troops from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Mr Kagame said Rwandan forces would remain in the DRC until Rwanda's security concerns were met.


The concerns of Rwanda remain and have not changed

Rwandan President Paul Kagame
The Rwandan president was speaking following UN-mediated talks with his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila in Durban, South Africa.

His comments came as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague said it could not order an immediate halt to Rwanda's military activities in the DRC.

However, the ruling is provisional and does not affect the overall case brought by the DR Congo, which accuses Rwanda of genocide.


Rwanda has rendered itself guilty of the genocide of more than 3.5 million Congolese people

DR Congo lawsuit
But in a blow to Rwanda, the court agreed to consider the Congolese case.

In its lawsuit, the Congolese Government says that Rwanda is guilty of "massive, serious and flagrant violations of human rights".

The DRC has demanded reparations for the human and resource losses caused to it by Rwanda's actions.

Buffer zone

There are still an estimated 20,000 Rwandan troops in DR Congo and in the past week there have been reports from the UN that they are being deployed in areas where fighting has taken place between government forces and rebels.

In an attempt to reduce tensions between the two countries, the two presidents met at the African Union summit to discuss the creation of a neutral zone along their border and the possible deployment of UN troops there.

Mr Kagame said Rwanda would not pull its forces out of the DRC until Rwandan Hutu militias which Rwanda says are sheltering in the DRC are disarmed and returned to Rwanda to face charges of genocide.

Rwanda says the militias were responsible for killing 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994.

"The concerns of Rwanda remain and have not changed," President Kagame said after talks on Wednesday

Crucifixion

A spokeswoman for the international court told BBC News Online that following Wednesday's interim ruling, the ICJ will now assess both parties' written submissions.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Kagame wants the DRC to hand over Hutu militias

It will then proceed to rule on whether it has jurisdiction to try the case. No date has been set for this ruling.

The case against Rwanda has been brought under the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and other conventions relating to the rights of women, racial discrimination and torture.

The DR Congo says in its suit that Rwandan troops invaded DR Congo in August 1998 and occupied parts of eastern Congo, including the town of Goma.

Its charges are serious: "In killing, massacring, raping, throat-slitting and crucifying, Rwanda has rendered itself guilty of the genocide of more than 3.5 million Congolese people," the lawsuit says.

The suit details cases of assassination, kidnapping, systematic looting, inhuman and degrading treatment and destruction of Congolese flora and fauna.

The Rwandan submission to the court says that the DR Congo has failed to produce evidence that "links Rwanda to any of the activities that are alleged to have taken place".

In defence of the presence of its troops in DR Congo, Rwanda has argued that it is a matter of self-defence against Hutu rebels based there.


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