UN - DR Congo - Rwanda: Top Rwandan Military Leaders Facing UN Sanctions for Leading Invasion of the DRC

Defeated M23 Rebels soldiers in a camp in Rwanda in 2013

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Over 2013 the Rwandan Government was increasingly isolated by many Western governments and African leaders over its role in perpetuating insecurity in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. 10 Years later, the history appears to repeat itself and even may lead to more actions by the international community. After a worldwide agreement on the invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) under the cover of the M23 rebels, the focus has been shifted to  the actions the United Nations Security Council plans to take against the Rwandan military leaders.  The question now is: when will the sanctions be enacted and who will be targeted?

Some Sanctions Were Imposed 10 Years Ago, when Rwandan Troops under the Cover of M23 Rebels Invaded DRC?

The United Nations (UN)  Security Council members met on Thursday August 29, 2013, on the situation in Eastern DRC. The purpose was to examine the possibility of additional sanctions against the leaders of the Rwandan government backed M23 Congolese rebels. The Rwandan delegation, then still relying on influential allies and agents,  tried to fight against the proposal to  sanction  top M23 rebels leaders (see here).

In October 2013, the US suspended military aid to Rwanda under the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA), citing Rwandan Defense Forces' support for the M23,  which had abducted and recruited children as soldiers. On two occasions, over a year, the United States cut military aid to Rwanda, as a sign of discontent towards the Rwandan dictatorship (see US Cuts Military Aid to Rwandan Government for Supporting Congolese Militia of July 21, 2012 and US Government Suspends Military Aid to Rwandan Government Over Recruitment of Child Soldiers of October 3, 2013).

 In December 2012, The U.S. Department of the Treasury had designated two senior leaders of the (M23), Baudoin Ngaruye and Innocent Kaina, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13413, which targets persons contributing to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Baudoin Ngaruye and Innocent Kaina were designated for  the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the conflict in the DRC and forcimpeding the disarmament, repatriation, or resettlement of combatants. 

On Friday November 1, 2013, US Secretary of State, John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary called General Paul Kagame to warn him, of dire consequences if he did not stay out of the conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It was the second time, in a year, that US and British leaders had personally warned the Rwandan dictator to keep off the conflict in the DRC. In December 2012, US President Obama had called General Paul Kagame, to give similar warnings.(See here S Secretary of State, John Kerry’s and British Foreign Secretary Minister William Hague’s Warnings to Paul Kagame As M23 Rebels Disintegrate of November 1, 2013).

Now, according to AfroAmerica Network sources at the UN, based on the latest report submitted to the UN Security Council  on June 13, 2023 by the UN Experts on DRC, sanctions against the top Rwandan military leaders appear imminent. Who are the Rwandan military leaders targeted for sanctions?


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 Rwandan Defense Forces Top Military leaders being considered for sanctions for leading the invasion of DRC, under the Cover of M23 Rebels

The Rwandan Defense Forces troops, under the cover of M23 rebels, have failed to achieve their invasion goals. The dynamics that preceded the defeat of M23 rebels in 2013 seem to be repeating: the widespread condemnation by the international community, countries in the region joining their forces to fight off the Rwandan forces under the cover of M23 rebels, and the threat of sanctions against M23 rebels leaders and their sponsors within the Rwandan military.

Among the Rwandan military leaders facing the sanctions are:

  • General James Kabarebe, current Defense and Security Adviser to the Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame, who  designed and coordinated the invasion.
  •  Military leaders who designed the strategy and led the implementation of the operations:  General Jean Bosco Kazura, Lieutenant General Mubarakh Muganga, Major General Franck Mugambage, Major General Vincent Nyakarundi, Major General Ruki Karusisi, Major General Eric Murokore, and Brigadier General Rugumyangabo Gacinya; 
  • Brigadier General Andrew Nyanvumba: Coordination of on ground operations by  RDF special and reserve forces: 
  • Command of deployed RDF troops 201st and 301st brigades brigades, RDF special forces: Major General Ruki Karusisi, Major General Alexis Kagame,  Major General Emmy Ruvusha, and Captain Niragire Jean Pierre, aka alias Gasasira.

What is Next?

Whether the invasion of RDC by Rwandan troops under the cover of M23 rebels has failed is no longer a doubt.   According to AfroAmerica Network sources, Paul Kagame has been holding several meetings, attended by General James Kabarebe,  General Jean Bosco Kazura,  Major General Ruki Karusisi,  Lieutenant General Mubarakh Muganga, Major General Frank Mugambage, Major General Eric Murokore, Major General Vincent Nyakarundi aka Gen Nyagatindi "the Miserable",  Brigadier General Rugumyangabo Gacinya, and  new Defense Minister Lt Colonel Juvenal Marizamunda.

During the meetings General Paul Kagame has been trying  to encourage  the military leaders, while at the same time asking them to be ready for the pressure and potential sanctions from the international community, including the UN and the World powers.

He informed them that  the superpowers and leaders of EAC and SADC  "have already asked [him] to talk to the leaders of FDLR and  RUD-Urunana and a related political organization, known as National Democratic Congress".  

Unlike what he had expressed in earlier meetings (see here DR Congo - Rwanda: Increasingly Isolated in the Region and the World for Its invasion of DRC, Is Rwandan Government Ready for Another Defeat?), he has shifted his position   has been saying that  he is now "open to talking to the leaders of these organizations and  to discussing with them if they have reasonable  propositions, including  the options for Rwandan refugees and leaders to return  home.

Meanwhile, the divides among the RDF military leaders have been worsening with reports of military coup attempts and assassinations (see here: Rwanda: Facing Risks of a Military Coup, Rwanda's Paul Kagame Purges Rwandan Defense Forces Military Leadership).

The questions now are:

  • What is next for M23 rebels?
  • As mentioned before, will Rwanda military leaders be sanctioned by the international community for invading and commiting crimes in the DRC, under the cover of M23 rebels?
  • Will the Rwandan regime be forced to have dialogues with the leaders of FDLR and RUD-Urunana,
  • Will Paul Kagame's regime survive?

AfroAmerica Network is still following the dynamics and getting more information from several sources close to leaders of  DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, and SADC. 

@AfroAmerica Network 2023




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