(Department of Treasury – 1/3/2013)
Sanctions Target Rebel Groups for Using Violence Against Children and Contributing to the Ongoing Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated two militant groups fomenting violence and instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This action against Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) and the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) was taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13413, which targets persons contributing to the conflict in the DRC.
M23 and the FDLR are armed groups operating in eastern DRC. Both groups have committed serious crimes involving the targeting of children in the conflict in the DRC. These crimes, which include recruitment as well as killing, maiming, and sexual violence, violate international law and are the basis for the groups’ designation today. Additionally, M23 is being designated for receiving arms and materiel related to military activities that have contributed directly to the ongoing conflict. As a result of today’s action, U.S. persons are prohibited from providing any support to M23 and the FDLR. Additionally, any assets of the designated entities within U.S. jurisdiction must be frozen.
There is a credible body of evidence demonstrating support from the Rwandan government to M23, including significant military and logistical support, as well as operational and political guidance. The United States has repeatedly called for a permanent end to all support for M23 and the FDLR as well as other armed groups operating in the DRC.
“The United States is committed to working with the international community to end the violence perpetrated against children in the DRC and exposing those responsible for these atrocities,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “We also urge Rwanda to halt its assistance to M23 and prevent any and all forms of support to Congolese armed groups.”
M23 has recently taken control of large parts of eastern DRC and is made up of forced recruits and rebels who mutinied from the armed forces of the DRC. The FDLR is led by Rwandan Hutus who were involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Top commanders of both groups, M23’s Bosco Ntaganda and FDLR’s Sylvestre Mudacumura, are wanted by the International Criminal Court. Both groups have been actively recruiting and using children in armed conflict. They have been responsible for campaigns of horrific violence against the civilian population in the DRC, and they have used their resources to undermine peace efforts in the region.
On December 31, 2012, the United Nations Security Council DRC Sanctions Committee, with the support of the United States, added M23 and the FDLR to its consolidated travel ban and asset freeze list. The United States and the United Nations Security Council have previously designated several leaders of M23 and the FDLR for their roles in the conflict.
AKA: Armee Revolutionaire Congolaise
AKA: Congolese Revolutionary Army
AKA: March 23 Movement
AKA: Mouvement Du 23 Mars
Address: North-Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Name: Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda
AKA: Combatant Force for The Liberation of Rwanda
AKA: Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda
AKA: Force Combattante Abacunguzi
Address: North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo