"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


congo watch

Crisis Group has a new Congo report out this week. They point out the obvious: that the "joint" Rwanda-Congo operation to rout out the FDLR basically accomplished nothing. Beyond disarming the FDLR, most of the rest of their ideas for improving the situation focus on strengthening institutions in the judicial, governance, economic, political, and human security sectors.

Overall, it's a pretty good view of the problems on the ground and ideas for addressing them. I don't like that their judicial reform suggestions focus mostly on combating sexual violence. Judicial reform and capacity-building is needed in every sector, not just the ones that have Eve Ensler's attention.* Crisis Group knows this, but the idea of creating commissions to deal with land issues and reconciliation strike me as a bit too weak to ensure that justice is done.

The report is definitely worth reading, however. Here's one particularly prescient observation:
"During the October-November 2008 crisis in North Kivu, when a humanitarian catastrophe threatened in and around Goma, robust political engagement with national and regional actors did more than troops on the ground to protect civilians. That kind of political engagement needs to be sustained at the highest levels in Kinshasa and the region for peacebuilding in the Kivus to succeed. Putting all efforts into the Kivus without keeping up pressure in Kinshasa for the reforms needed to improve political and economic governance throughout the country would be counterproductive."
Exactly. This is a really nice way of saying that when the West forced Rwanda's hand, Kagame and company had to behave themselves, as did the gang of criminals who run the government in Kinshasa.

In other depressing news from the region, we have this, this, and this.

*Props to Amanda over at Wronging Rights for bringing to my attention to the fact that most judicial reform efforts in the Kivus focus only on justice for victims of sexual violence rather than attempting to truly fix the justice system as a whole.


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