Press Release / Jan. 23, 2009

DR Congo: Arrest of CNDP commander Laurent Nkunda

Global Witness welcomes reports of the arrest in Rwanda of Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) leader Laurent Nkunda. Laurent Nkunda’s forces have been a major cause of instability in eastern DRC over several years. They have carried out severe human rights abuses against the civilian population and bear significant responsibility for the current humanitarian crisis in North Kivu.

Laurent Nkunda in Jamba, Eastern DRC, November 2008 (c) Kate Holt 2008

Laurent Nkunda in Jamba, Eastern DRC, November 2008 (c) Kate Holt 2008

While Laurent Nkunda’s arrest is an encouraging development, it is essential that he now faces prosecution within a credible judicial process. Equally important is the arrest and prosecution of other commanders, not only of CNDP, but also those other armed groups and military units responsible for war crimes and other serious violations.

Global Witness investigations have revealed that all the main armed groups in eastern DRC, as well as the Congolese army, are financing themselves via the trade in minerals and metals such as cassiterite (tin ore), gold, coltan and wolframite. Breaking this link between armed conflict and illicit resource plunder is critical to bringing peace to the region.

Companies must exclude from their supply chain any items containing ores or metals that have passed through the hands of, or otherwise benefited, the armed groups or the military. Governments must hold to account companies based in their jurisdictions that are handling items that contain such materials.

For details on the links between natural resource exploitation and armed conflict in eastern DRC, and Global Witness’ recommendations, please click here.