Minister for Africa welcomes targeted sanctions against four individuals in the Democratic Republic of Congo
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The UN Security Council DRC Sanctions Committee has agreed to place an additional four people on the list of individuals and entities subject to a worldwide travel ban and asset freeze.
Three of the four individuals are senior Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) leaders.
Henry Bellingham, Minister for Africa, said:
“I welcome the UN’s decision to impose targeted sanctions against four more individuals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The international community is committed to confronting and disrupting those who commit human rights abuses, such as the recruitment of child soldiers. This action will also increase pressure on the FDLR militia who are already weakened by Congolese military operations and the arrests of its leaders in Europe.”
The four individuals subject to the travel ban and asset freeze are:
Gaston IYAMUREMYE, born in 1948 in Musanze District (Northern Province), Rwanda. According to multiple sources, including the UNSC DRC Sanctions Committee’s Group of Experts, Gaston Iyamuremye is considered a core member of the FDLR military and political leadership and has become the group’s president. Gaston Iyamuremye also ran Ignace Murwanashyaka’s (previous President of the FDLR) office in Kibua, DRC until December 2009.
Felicien NSANZUBUKIRE, born in 1967 in Murama, Kinyinya, Rubungo, Kigali, Rwanda. Felicien Nsanzubukire has been a member of the FDLR since at least 1994 and operating in eastern DRC since October 1998. The UNSC DRC Sanction Committee’s Group of Experts reports that Felicien Nsanzubukire supervised and coordinated the trafficking of ammunition and weapons between at least November 2008 and April 2009 from the United Republic of Tanzania, via Lake Tanganyika, to FDLR units based in the Uvira and Fizi areas of South Kivu.
Leodomir MUGARAGU, born in 1954 or 1953, in Kigali, Rwanda or Rushashi (Northern Province), Rwanda. According to open-source and official reporting, Leodomir Mugaragu is the Chief of Staff of the Forces Combattantes Abucunguzi/Combatant Force for the Liberation of Rwanda (FOCA), the FDLR’s armed wing. According to official reporting, Mugaragu is a senior planner for FDLR’s military operations in the eastern DRC.
Innocent ZIMURINDA, born in 1975 or on September 1, 1972 , in Ngungu, Masisi Territory, North Kivu Province, DRC. Lt Col Innocent Zimurinda was an officer in the Congres National pour la Defense du Peuple (CNDP) which was integrated into the Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) in early 2009.
According to multiple sources, Lt Col Innocent Zimurinda, in his capacity as one of the commanders of the FARDC 231st Brigade, gave 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 UNSC DRC Sanctions Committee’s Group of Experts reported that Lt Col Innocent Zimurinda was witnessed first-hand refusing to release three children from his command in Kalehe, on August 29, 2009. Also according to multiple sources, Lt Col Innocent Zimurinda, prior to the CNDP’s integration into FARDC, participated in a November 2008 CNDP operation that resulted in the massacre of 89 civilians, including women and children, in the region of Kiwanja.
In March 2010, 51 human rights groups working in eastern DRC posted a complaint online alleging that Lt Col Innocent Zimurinda was responsible for multiple human rights abuses involving the murder of numerous civilians, including women and children, between February 2007 and August 2007.
Lt Col Innocent Zimurinda has also been accused in the same complaint to be responsible for the rape of a large number of women and girls. According to a May 21, 2010, statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, Innocent Zimurinda has been involved in the arbitrary execution of child soldiers, including during operation Kimia II.
According to the same statement, he denied access by the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) to screen troops for minors. According to the UNSC DRC Sanctions Committee’s Group of Experts, Lt Col Zimurinda holds direct and command responsibility for child recruitment and for maintaining children within troops under his command.