DRC proposes amnesty for ex-M23 rebels

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IOL pic dec13 drc m23 rebels on patrol file


M23 rebels patrol near Rushuru in the Democratic Republic of Congo on August 3, 2013. File picture: James Akena

Kinshasa - The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo approved on Friday a plan for giving amnesty to some former M23 rebels whose insurgency was crushed by the army last month.

The amnesty plan would apply to ex-rebels who are not found guilty of committing serious crimes, according to the minutes of a cabinet meeting.

The proposed amnesty, which needs to be passed by the Congolese parliament, was in line with the peace documents signed by Kinshasa and the M23 rebels in Nairobi on December 12.

The M23, the latest incarnation of an ethnic Tutsi rebellion in eastern DRC, laid down its arms in early November after an offensive by government troops backed by a special UN brigade.

The amnesty proposal covers acts of insurrection and war and political violations for the period from May 8, 2009 to the date it would become law, and will be presented to parliament “as soon as possible”, according to the minutes of the ministers' meeting.

Kinshasa has previously given amnesty to some of the armed groups in the country's volatile east and integrated the ex-fighters into the army.

Most M23 fighters were former members of the CNDP rebel group, who had joined the regular army after a 2009 deal with Kinshasa. They mutinied in April 2012, charging the government had not kept its end of the bargain.


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