The Security Council this morning asked the Secretary-General to reactivate its International Commission of Inquiry to investigate reports of the sale and supply of arms and related materiel to former Rwandan government forces and militias, and to make recommendations relating to the illegal flow of arms in the Great Lakes region.
Through its unanimous adoption resolution 1161 (1998), the Council recommended that the Commission, originally established by the Council on 7 September 1995, resume its work as soon as possible. It also mandated the Commission to identify parties aiding and abetting the illegal sales to or acquisition of arms by former Rwandan governments forces and militias, contrary to its earlier resolutions on the matter.
The Council called upon the Governments of States in which the Commission will carry out its mandate to cooperate with it, by responding positively to requests for security assistance and access in pursuing its investigations. It also called upon all States, relevant United Nations bodies, other organizations and interested parties to provide relevant information to the Commission as soon as possible.
Reiterating its concern that the uncontrolled illegal flows of arms and related materiel posed a threat to peace and stability in the Great Lakes region, the Council declared its willingness to consider further measures to address the situation. It encouraged States to make voluntary contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund for Rwanda to provide financing for the Commission's work and to contribute equipment and services to it.
The Council called upon all States in the Great Lakes region to ensure that their territory was not used as a base for armed groups to launch incursions or attacks against any other State in violation of the United
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Nations Charter and other provisions of international law. It urged all States and relevant organizations to cooperate in countering radio broadcasts and publications that incited acts of genocide, hatred and violence in the region.
By other terms of today's action, the Council asked the Secretary- General to report to it on the reactivation of the Commission and to submit an interim report on the Commission's initial conclusions within three months of that date. That would be followed by a final report containing the Commission's recommendations three months later.
Statements were made by the representatives of the United Kingdom (for the European Union and associated States), Germany, Belgium, the United States, Portugal, Brazil, Kenya, Sweden, France, Bahrain, Slovenia, China, Gabon, Gambia, Costa Rica, the Russian Federation and Japan.
The meeting, which was called to order at 11:50 p.m., was adjourned at 12:44 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Rwanda. It had before it a draft resolution (document S/1998/306), the text of which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its previous resolutions on the situation in Rwanda, in particular its resolutions 918 (1994) of 17 May 1994, 997 (1995) of 9 June 1995, 1011 (1995) of 16 August 1995, 1013 (1995) of 7 September 1995 and 1053 (1996) of 23 April 1996,
"Condemning the continuing violence in Rwanda, including the massacre of civilians, including refugees, at Mudende in December 1997, and similar acts of violence observed in the Great Lakes region, including Burundi,
"Expressing grave concern at reports of the sale and supply of arms and related matériel to the former Rwandan government forces and militias, in violation of the embargo imposed under its resolutions 918 (1994), 997 (1995) and 1011 (1995), and underlining the need for Governments to take action to ensure the effective implementation of the embargo,
"Commending the members of the International Commission of Inquiry established by resolution 1013 (1995) on the investigation they conducted and, in particular on their final report (S/1997/1010) and its addendum (S/1998/63),
"Noting that widespread violence in the eastern region of the former Zaire in October 1996 caused the suspension of effective follow-up to the work of the Commission, but recognizing the need for a renewed investigation of the illegal flow of arms to Rwanda, which is fuelling violence and could lead to further acts of genocide with specific recommendations to the Security Council for action,
"Reaffirming the need for a long-term solution to the refugee and related problems in the territories of States of the Great Lakes region,
"Reaffirming also the importance of countering radio broadcasts and pamphlets which spread hate and fear in the region, and emphasizing the need for States to assist countries in the region to counter such broadcasts and publications,
"1. Requests the Secretary-General to reactivate the International Commission of Inquiry, with the following mandate:
"(a) To collect information and investigate reports relating to the sale, supply and shipment of arms and related matériel to former Rwandan
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government forces and militias in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, in violation of Security Council resolutions 918 (1994), 997 (1995) and 1011 (1995);
"(b) To identify parties aiding and abetting the illegal sale to or acquisition of arms by former Rwandan government forces and militias, contrary to the resolutions referred to above; and
"(c) To make recommendations relating to the illegal flow of arms in the Great Lakes region;
"2. Calls upon all States, relevant United Nations bodies, including the Committee established by resolution 918 (1994) and, as appropriate, other organizations and interested parties, to collate information in their possession relating to the mandate of the Commission, and to make this information available to the Commission as soon as possible;
"3. Further calls upon the Governments of the States concerned in which the Commission will carry out its mandate to cooperate fully with the Commission in the fulfilment of its mandate, including by responding positively to requests from the Commission for security, assistance and access in pursuing investigations, as specified in paragraph 5 of resolution 1013 (1995);
"4. Calls upon all States in the Great Lakes region to ensure that their territory is not used as a base for armed groups to launch incursions or attacks against any other State in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and other provisions of international law;
"5. Urges all States and relevant organizations to cooperate in countering radio broadcasts and publications that incite acts of genocide, hatred and violence in the region;
"6. Encourages States to make voluntary contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund for Rwanda to provide the financing for the work of the Commission and to contribute equipment and services to the Commission;
"7. Recommends that the Commission resume its work as soon as possible, requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the reactivation of the Commission, and further requests him to submit an interim report to the Council on the initial conclusions of the Commission within three months of its reactivation, to be followed by a final report containing its recommendations three months later;
"8. Reiterates its concern that the uncontrolled illegal flows of arms and related matériel in violation of its above-mentioned resolutions pose a threat to peace and stability in the Great Lakes region and declares its
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willingness to consider further other measures in this regard including the recommendations referred to in paragraph 1 (c) above, and any other related recommendations offered by the Commission of Inquiry;
"9. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Iceland, expressed concern about the instability in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Those countries unequivocally condemned attacks against unarmed civilians including women and children. They supported the activation of the International Commission of Inquiry, and affirmed support for its work. They pledged full cooperation with the Commission and would work together with the Rwandan Government in its reconstruction efforts.
Speaking in his capacity as the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, he announced that his Government would make a contribution of 100,000 pounds to the United Nations Trust Fund for the work of the Commission.
GERHARD HENZE (Germany) said his Government welcomed the reactivation of the Commission. Its work would curb the continuing violence in Rwanda which was seriously affecting stability in that region. Germany was actively involved in the work of the Commission and a German was an expert member of the Commission from October 1995 to April 1996. Germany had decided to continue to support the work of the Commission by granting $50,000 for the continuation of its work.
ALEX REYN (Belgium) said he supported the reactivation of the Commission to curb the free flow of arms, in efforts to build stability in the region. The reactivation of the Commission showed the growing determination of the international community to prevent the spread of small arms. His country hoped the Commission would make recommendations and complete its inquiry. His country's contribution to the Trust Fund would be announced at a later date.
NANCY SODERBERG (United States) said her country remained extremely concerned about violence in the Great Lakes region and the renewed threats of genocide in Rwanda. The groundbreaking work of the Commission was overtaken by the dramatic events in that region, and the Council had taken no action on the Commission's final report and recommendations.
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She recalled at a recent regional summit in Kampala, six heads of State from that region and the President of the United States had pledged to prevent a resurgence of genocide in Rwanda. The Kampala communique had endorsed the reactivation of the Commission as a means to identify and stop illegal arms trafficking to the former Rwandan army and militia forces. The United States intended to contribute $100,000 to the United Nations Fund for the work of the Commission and encouraged others to do so. The resolution before the Council was a critical first step towards halting the violence in the Great Lakes region.
ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said his delegation fully supported the draft resolution, particularly its objectives. Portugal believed that the ongoing but fragile process of national reconciliation required the unequivocal support of the international community. The resolution constituted an important signal of the interest and concern of the United Nations towards that region. The pernicious flow of arms there might require a careful analysis of the root causes of the current situation. Portugal attached importance to the call in the resolution on all States in the Great Lakes region to ensure that their territory was not used as a base for armed groups to launch attacks against any other State in violation of the relevant provisions of international law.
CELSO AMORIM (Brazil) said there had been repeated reports of persistent violence in some areas of the Great Lakes region, in particular Rwanda. In order to develop its work, the Commission would have to count on the cooperation of the governments of the States concerned and of relevant United Nations bodies.
The Council would examine this month the report of the Secretary-General on Africa, he added. On that occasion, it would be able to discuss the root causes of conflicts in that continent and to consider possible solutions for the structural problems that still beset many African nations. Actions, such as the reactivation of the Commission, contributed towards peace and security in that area.
THOMAS B. AMOLO (Kenya) said his delegation joined in the consensus in support of the draft resolution in the belief that there were justifiable grounds for its position. The draft would permit the Commission to follow up its earlier inconclusive investigations and report to the Security Council on its findings. Kenya believed that the Commission should be able to complete all its investigations and other pending matters within the time-frame stipulated by the resolution and to wind up its work.
He said the reality on the ground in the region could not be ignored. Kenya hoped that any measures recommended by the Commission would be comprehensive enough to meaningfully contribute to the stabilization of the
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region, as well as finding a long-term solution to other problems fuelled by the proliferation of weapons.
HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said his Government supported reactivating the Commission. It did a commendable job during its first period of activity, often under difficult circumstances. The destabilizing effect of the arms flow in that region remained an issue of great concern. Reactivating the Commission was a step in addressing one of the causes of the region's instability.
Expressing concern over the continued violence in Rwanda, he said the international community had a responsibility to help the Rwandan people recover from the genocide of 1994 and to prevent the resurgence of genocidal acts. His Government hoped that Rwanda would be able to move forward towards peace and national reconciliation, respect for human rights and economic prosperity. The Council resolution should be met with the necessary political will to implement the existing arms embargo against the former Rwandan government forces and to cooperate fully with the Commission of Inquiry.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said that violence and instability continued to afflict the region, and obstructed national reconciliation and reconstruction in Rwanda. He recalled the establishment of the Commission by the Council in 1995 and noted that it had submitted three reports. However, because of tragic events in the region, no action had been taken on those reports. France would vote in favour of the draft resolution.
JASSIM M. BUALLAY (Bahrain) said that the draft was very important particularly as the report on the sale of arms and materiel and other reports on arms flow to Rwanda were a cause for concern. Paying tribute to the work of the Commission, he listed its tasks as mandated by the draft resolution. He requested the Secretary-General to provide to the Council the Commission's reports. The Commission must commence its work as soon as possible.
DANILO TURK (Slovenia), expressing support for the draft, said it was timely and necessary. The reactivation of the Commission represented the willingness of the Government of Rwanda and the international community to prevent violence in that country. The memories of massacres of civilians were still fresh, and the recurrence of violence in Rwanda was contributing to the persistent instability in the Great Lakes region. All efforts should be made to put an end to all forms of insurgency and violence.
He said economic development required recovery from the consequences of genocide, restoration of stability and security in the country and in the region, national reconciliation and democratization. In particular, those factors were essential for creating a climate conducive to the harmonious reintegration of refugees in order to encourage their return in safety and dignity. The Commission's recommendations regarding the illegal flows of arms
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in the Great Lakes region would provide an essential input for further action by the Council. All United Nations bodies, as well as other organizations and interested parties, should make available information relating to the Commission's mandate.
SHEN GUOFANG (China) said the illegal flow of arms had hindered security in Rwanda and created the tragedy in which many were killed. The reactivation of the Commission was a way of curbing the flow of arms. The Commission had done much work in the past, and it was important in ensuring that Council resolutions were implemented effectively. The success of the Commission depended on the support of the countries concerned. His delegation hoped those countries would provide information and assistance to assist the Commission in curbing the illegal flow of arms and solve the problem in an integrated manner.
DENIS DANGUE REWAKA (Gabon) said the situation in the Great Lakes region justified action by the Council. The draft was a clear indication of such an action. The Commission should identify the offenders and draft an inventory of arms supplies. Its work might effectively help to stem the flow of arms and thereby prevent widespread conflict. Its work must also be seen as a stage in the overall efforts to ensure lasting peace in the region. It was therefore necessary for the Commission to resume its work. Gabon believed that as long as avenues for political dialogue were not found, the region would remain unstable. Gabon supported the draft.
ABDOULIE MOMODOU SALLAH (Gambia) said the situation in Rwanda was a threat to peace and security; national reconciliation should be pursued. Gambia was concerned about violations of international humanitarian law and about the victims who were innocent civilians. He commended members of the Commission for their earlier work. The flow of arms into the region remained a source of concern, and it was imperative that the Commission resumed its work. That would contribute positively to improving the situation in the region. He urged governments and all concerned to cooperate with the Commission and to abide by the relevant Council resolutions.
NAZARETH INCERA (Costa Rica) said the flow of arms into the region facilitated violence and genocide. Her country condemned the supply of arms to the forces of the former Rwandan Government, as well as the financing of militias and recruiting of refugees for military purposes. The Commission should identify those responsible for the violations of the Council arms embargo; infiltration and arms flow endangered international security. Cooperation between States in the region was crucial to the success of the Commission, and all States should work to prevent the flow of arms over their territories. Her delegation would consider favourably the recommendations of the Commission based on its findings.
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YURIY FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said his delegation supported the reactivation of the Commission. The cooperation of the States in the region was important to establish a lasting barrier to the illegal flow of arms and curb further bloodshed. The flow of arms to the forces of the former Rwandan regime violated the Security Council embargo, and the Commission would investigate those violations and recommend ways to curb them.
Security Council President HISASHI OWADA (Japan), speaking on behalf of his delegation, expressed sympathy to the people of Rwanda who continued to experience grave hardship and suffering in the aftermath of the genocidal violence that swept through their country in 1994. Japan and the Security Council would never again allow such atrocities to be committed in Rwanda or anywhere else. If the flow of arms in Rwanda was left unchecked, there was a real danger that the old enmity among the population could become an open confrontation, leading to a resurgence of armed conflict and seriously destabilize the region.
He said the draft resolution attempted to address the problem of how to curb arms flow. The Commission would be crucial in shedding light on the situation, thereby helping the Council determine what concrete measures it could take to stem the illegal flow of arms. The international community should seriously consider the overall question. The problem should be approached with utmost care, possibly within the context of efforts to build a comprehensive framework for a preventive strategy. Japan had contributed $40,000 to the United Nations Trust Fund for Rwanda.
Action on Draft
The Council then unanimously adopted the draft text as resolution 1161 (1998).
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