Bush admin backed Rwanda General to UN posting despite evidence of HR abuses

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United Nations, Sept 21 : For the fear that Rwanda will withdraw its troops from Darfur, in western Sudan, the Bush administration okayed the appointment of Rwandan general - Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Karake Karenzi - to a top UN peacekeeping post - Deputy Commander of the Joint UN-African Union mission in Darfur, despite his poor human rights record..

The Rwandan government maintains that the charges were baseless, and President Paul Kagame had warned on July 15 that he would withdraw his troops from Sudan if Karenzi was forced out. "For me, it's very clear. If Karenzi goes, the entire Rwandan contingent will leave Darfur -- the same day," Kagame said in an interview earlier this month.

Karenzi, whom the Rwanda government treats like a 'war hero', has been accused of killing hundreds of people in Rwanda in 1990s. In February, a Spanish judge charged Karenzi and 39 other Rwandan officials with the mass killings of Rwandan civilians and of several Spanish and Canadian missionaries and relief workers. Nevertheless, the US, Britain and Rwanda have urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to renew Karenzi's contract when it expires next month, according to U.S. and U.N. officials, reported the Washington Post.

His nomination last year opened a deep rift within the administration between officials who argued that a tainted record on human rights should disqualify him and those who feared offending the Rwandan government, which has threatened to pull its forces from peacekeeping operations in Darfur.

But, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs, Jendayi E. Frazer, short-circuited the debate, assuring African Union officials in a Sept. 7, 2007, meeting that a US inquiry had found no evidence of Karenzi's role in atrocities and proposing that he receive the job, according to a US cable describing the meeting. Four days later, the UN approved Karenzi for the post.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had also recently rallied behind Frazer, a former student of hers at Stanford University, instructing UN envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to urge the UN leadership to keep Karenzi in the peacekeeping post.

ANI

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