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Reporter succeeds where UN failed: Rwanda militia website closed

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The war in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo took a surprising twist this week – from Germany.

The group, a Hutu rebel force accused by the Rwandan government of planning the 1994 genocide, lost its Web presence this week after a German reporter with Die Tageszeitung (TAZ) asked a French Internet company, OVH, why it was hosting the site of a group known best for its war crimes.

That may not sound significant, but consider this: For a website to run, it needs two things: an address, known as a URL and starting with "www," and a hosting service, which rents a sliver of cyberspace to the URL.

OVH's decision to drop the FDLR's Web service is a blow to the militia, which used the web page to communicate with the outside world, and each other, even after the United Nations informed OVH in 2008 that "hosting the website could be considered as support to a nongovernmental Congolese armed group."

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