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U.N. Delays Release Of Report On Congo 'Genocide'

The release of a report that accuses the Rwandan army of possible genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be delayed until Oct. 1, the U.N.'s top human-rights official said Thursday.

Drafts of the report -- circulated to governments earlier this year and leaked to the media last week -- infuriated the Rwandan government. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the delay will allow the East African nation time to append its comments.

The report accuses troops from the Tutsi-led government and their Congolese rebel allies of killing thousands of Rwandan and Congolese Hutus in eastern Congo 14 years ago.


Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo had warned the United Nations of immediate consequences if the report were published unchanged.

"We are considering withdrawing our troops out of the peacekeeping operations, starting with Darfur," she said, "and we have instructed our force commander to start making contingency plans."

The government called the five-year study "fatally flawed" and "incredibly irresponsible."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday praised Rwanda's participation in peacekeeping missions, saying the United Nations was "very grateful for such strong support."

"I sincerely hope that such support and contribution will continue for peace and security in the region," he told reporters in Vienna. "The peace and security in Darfur and Sudan ... has very important implications for peace in [the] wider region."


Rwanda also contributes thousands of soldiers to peacekeeping missions in Chad, Haiti and Liberia.

A spokesman for Pillay denied reports that Ban had put pressure on her to remove references to genocide from the text.

Nevertheless, the report could prove embarrassing for Rwandan President Paul Kagame, an ally of the United States and Britain whose government has long claimed the moral high ground for ending the 1994 genocide of Tutsis that also included the killings of some moderate Hutus.

The report, which cost $3 million to produce, details more than 600 incidents of human-rights abuses in eastern Congo between 1993 and 2003 in which tens of thousands of people -- mostly women and children -- were killed.

"Over 1,280 witnesses were interviewed to corroborate or invalidate alleged violations, including previously undocumented incidents, and more than 1,500 documents were collected and analyzed during the two years that it took to research and write the report," Pillay's office said.

The aim was to propose to Congo's government ways in which it can bring the perpetrators of crimes to justice and assist survivors, Pillay's office said.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton contributed to this report, which contains material from The Associated Press

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