Is it Time to Impose the Leahy Law on Central Africa?

By Scott A Morgan

During the week of March 2nd a Briefing was held for Members of Congress, Their Staff and the General Public regarding the controversial UN Mapping Report on the DRC. This report documented 617 Human Rights Violations that occurred in the Congo from March 1993 to June 2003.

During this period of time there have been various bad actors in this conflict. Some of them were State Sponsored such as the Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian Armed Forces, Their collaborators from inside the DRC, Multi-National Corporations and various Militia Groups. The Goal of the Briefing was to assist Congress into taking a position to support the Mapping Report and to set up an investigation into whether or not these events constitute that any Genocide was committed.

When it comes to the situation in the Congo Public Law 109-456 is often quoted by Activists asking for accountability by the United States. Section 105 of that Law authorizes the Secretary of State to withhold Aid from any Country which has been destabilizing the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since becoming Law in 2006 this Law has not been implemented by the last two Administrations. This is a miscarriage of justice for the People of the Congo.

But there is a call for a Law that has been used successfully against violators of Human Rights to be implemented against those who have acted against the People of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That Law is the Leahy Law.

The Leahy Law is in fact two different Laws. Both of them have the same goal that is preventing US Military Assistance to Foreign Military Units that have Committed Human Rights Violations with Impunity. This Legislation was targeted at Colombia during most of its use in the later years of the Clinton Administration. The Reason that this is considered to be two laws is that it is often attached to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act without Waivers. However when its in the Defense Appropriations Bill a Waiver Can be granted by the Secretary of Defense if extraordinary circumstances require it.

The Verification Process to determine whether or not any specific unit is violating Human Rights is done in country by the US Embassy. That information is then passed on to the State Department and compiled by the Secretary of State and then the decision whether or not the unit can receive US Training and Arms is made.

The United States has been a large supplier of Arms to Rwanda and Uganda. The leaders of both Nations enjoy extremely close relations with the United States. Uganda and Burundi have “Peacekeepers” in Somalia and AFRICOM assisted the Ugandan Army with Operation Lightning Thunder in 2008. AFRICOM provides Logistical Support for Rwandan Peacekeepers currently in Darfur. So if the Leahy Law was implemented during the time documented by the UN Mapping Report who knows how things would be in Central Africa at this time.

Currently the Ugandan Military has Operations currently underway against the LRA in the CAR, DRC and Southern Sudan. Attacks against citizens occur in this region while these Operations are being conducted. So if any Ugandan Military Unit has committed these attacks their name would be passed up the Chain of Command where they could not receive any US Training in the Future. This could hinder any potential invasions by these units.

There is a lot of investigating that needs to be conducted in order to determine how the silence of the United States has allowed these practices to continue. One question that could be asked is to determine how and if how any new Training Doctrine was developed by the US Military for future use in any Combat Situation. So now its up to Congress to figure out what needs to be done.

The Author Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at