In the last six months, UN officials reported at least 200 violations of the Goma Peace Agreement. Since the agreement was signed in January, the violence in eastern Congo has killed more than 200 people and displaced 150,000 people. Those newly displaced add to the already one million people displaced by earlier violence in North and South Kivu. Violence against women continues, with more than 2,200 cases of rape recorded in June 2008 in North Kivu province alone, according to the Congo Advocacy Coalition. Humanitarian workers have also been attacked, stymieing their ability to provide assistance.
With 10,000 troops spread thinly across northeast Congo, the United Nations peacekeeping force MONUC is largely unable to halt the attacks. Civilians seeking safety often gather near UN deployment sites, but their protection is short-lived as peacekeepers rotate frequently in a struggle to cover the vast terrain.
Former vice-president and presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba was arrested on May 25, 2008 in Brussels by Belgian authorities and transferred to The Hague a few weeks later. The International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant charges him with several counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for leading Congolese rebels in a widespread and systematic attack against the Central African Republic’s civilian population in 2002 and 2003.