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Cablegate: Update: Bemba's Leave Extended Until July 31 By

VZCZCXRO9059
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0677 1700649
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190649Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6344
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000677

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM CG
SUBJECT: UPDATE: BEMBA'S LEAVE EXTENDED UNTIL JULY 31 BY
SENATE

REF: A. KINSHASA 624
B. KINSHASA 419
C. KINSHASA 433

1. (U) DRC Senate spokesman Modeste Mutinga announced June
15 that the Senate's leadership committee had approved a
request by Senator and former Vice President Jean-Pierre
Bemba for an extension of formal leave until July 31. Bemba
has been in Portugal since April 11, where he completed
follow-up medical treatment of a broken leg (ref B). He made
the request in a June 12 letter to the committee, also citing
security concerns linked to his return. The committee
declared that it was "not competent" to address these.

2. (U) The need for Bemba formally to request an extension
became more urgent as the Senate indicated that it would call
an extraordinary session on June 19. According to the
Senate's internal rules, a senator can be removed for missing
more than "one quarter of the meetings of a session,"
although whether an extraordinary session would trigger this
article is not clear.

3. (U) President Joseph Kabila, responding to questions about
Bemba during a state visit to South Africa, noted that
Bemba's presence or absence was a matter for the Senate to
decide. At a joint press conference with South African
President Thabo Mbeki on June 14, Kabila stated: "It is not
up to President Kabila to allow Senator Bemba to return to
the DRC or not. That is not part of my job." Referring to
the request by Prosecutor General Tshimanga Mubeka for the
Senate to waive Bemba's immunity and require him to answer
charges in relation to his role in the bloody violence
between his troops and FARDC forces in March (ref C), Kabila
responded, "It is now up to the Senate... It is now a matter
for the institutions -- the justice system and the Senate."
MEECE

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