Tourists observe a logo at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva
Rwanda - along with Australia and Argentina - won a seat on the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, despite accusations by a U.N. expert panel that the Rwandan defence minister is commanding a rebellion in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwanda was unopposed in its bid for the African seat on the council that South Africa will vacate at the end of December, but still needed approval from two-thirds of the U.N. General Assembly members present to secure the two-year term. It won 148 votes, reports Reuters.
Argentina also was elected to the council unopposed, winning 182 votes in the 193-nation assembly. Australia won a seat as well with 140 votes. At least one further round of voting was taking place to decide the remaining two seats up for grabs.
Cambodia, Bhutan and South Korea are competing for one Asia-Pacific seat. With Australia's victory secured, Finland and Luxembourg are up for the other remaining seat available in the "Western European and Others" group.
A confidential U.N. report, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, cast a shadow over Rwanda's election to the 15-member U.N. powerhouse - which has the ability to impose sanctions and authorize military interventions.
There are five veto-holding permanent members of the council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - and 10 temporary members without vetoes. Thursday's election was for the term from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014.
Before the vote, the Congo's delegation told the General Assembly it objected to Rwanda joining the Security Council, accusing its neighbor of harboring "war criminals operating in the eastern part of the DRC and who are being sought by international justice."
The Security Council's "Group of Experts" said that Rwanda and Uganda - despite their strong denials - continued to support M23 rebels in their six-month fight against Congolese government troops in the east of the country.