DRC should file complaint against Rwanda with ICJ, says Belgian ambassador

Belgium's ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo said on Friday that the country should file a complaint with the International Court of Justice over Rwanda's failure to respect its border, Reuters reports.

Ambassador Roxane de Bilderling made the comments during a visit to the eastern Congolese city of Goma by foreign ambassadors and the UN's humanitarian coordinator for the DRC, Bruno Lemarquis. 

Lemarquis appealed for more aid for the millions of people affected by the country's conflicts. "The needs are immense and they exceed what we are able to provide," said Lemarquis, who was accompanied by a group of ambassadors from DRC's donor countries. The total amount of the 2024 humanitarian aid plan is 2.6 billion dollars, he said. 

Lodge complaint to exert pressure

De Bilderling said the "military side" was "not solving" the conflict. "It's getting worse and worse," she said.

"Another way of exerting pressure is for the Congo to lodge a complaint with the International Court of Justice for failure to respect international borders," she said.

Commenting on the statements to Reuters, Rwandan government spokesperson Yolande Makolo said "DRC should take Belgium to ICJ".

UN experts have been gathering evidence in recent months of Rwandan military and arms support to the M23 rebels, who have been causing death and destruction in eastern Congo for more than two years. 

Failing to impose sanctions

De Bilderling said these UN findings gave Congo grounds to lodge a complaint, adding that she was speaking only on behalf of Belgium. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Rwanda has deployed 3,000 troops in eastern Congo. 

Several western countries, including Belgium, have recently ramped up the rhetoric. In March, Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib called on Rwanda to withdraw its troops from eastern Congo. A little over a week ago, Lahbib spoke of the "proven" presence of Rwandan troops supporting the M23.

In Goma, the Congolese minister for Humanitarian Action, Modeste Mutinga, pointed to the limits of a "diplomatic solution" and accused the international community of failing to impose sanctions on Rwanda.


Sem Mbadu Phanzu Crispin, deputy Foreign minister of the DRC, and Roxane de Bilderling, Belgian ambassador to the DRC, in April 2024 © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE

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