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Cablegate: Monuc Goma Human Rights Chief Sees Increasing

VZCZCXRO4687
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0947/01 2201250
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081250Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6673
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000947

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KPKO CG
SUBJECT: MONUC GOMA HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF SEES INCREASING
VIOLATIONS IN NORTH KIVU

REF: A. KINSHASA 65

B. KINSHASA 896

1. (SBU) Summary. MONUC-Goma Human Rights Chief Jairo
Sanchez evaluated the major human rights issues in North Kivu
as the so-called "mixed" brigades of the Congolese military,
judicial impunity, and sexual violence. End summary.

2. (SBU) Violations by elements of the Congolese army's
mixed brigades (combined units of renegade General Laurent
Nkunda and other unintegrated FARDC forces), judicial
impunity, and sexual violence are the most serious human
rights problems in North Kivu, MONUC-Goma Human Rights chief
Jairo Sanchez told Poloff and visiting DRL Off June 29. He
said MONUC-Goma has registered 723 cases of confirmed serious
human rights violations in the province since 2003.

--------------
Mixed Brigades
--------------

3. (SBU) Sanchez told us soldiers in the FARDC mixed
brigades are the number one human rights issue in North Kivu
and have been since the brigades were formed. (Note: These
brigades began forming in late January following a deal
reached with dissident general Laurent Nkunda (ref A). End
note.) He asserted the civilian population does not trust
the mixed brigades because many of their members are known
human rights violators. Sanchez said he was told at a
meeting of human rights NGOs June 28 about dozens of
violations perpetrated by members of the mixed brigades. The
most serious recent incident took place in Masisi on April
29. Five Charlie Brigade soldiers killed four civilians,
including two students, in Kibati. The local population
attacked the soldiers, killing one and wounding another. The
surviving soldiers were arrested and sent to Goma, but the
brigade commander set one free.

4. (SBU) Sanchez said the troops with the worst record
belong to Bravo Brigade. He claimed many soldiers in Bravo
are resistant to integrating with the FARDC and are often out
of the control of the 8th Military Region chain of command.
In Rutshuru Territory, where Bravo is based, the human rights
situation has deteriorated significantly since the beginning
of the year.

5. (SBU) Bravo's presence contributes to the degrading
situation in two ways. First, some Bravo soldiers have
attacked civilians, accusing them of collaborating with the
FDLR, who live in close proximity. For example, earlier this
year some Bravo soldiers allegedly killed five banana beer
brewers in Nyabanira, one kilometer from a Bravo camp. The
Bravo troops accused the brewers of collaborating with the
FDLR, who are the primary consumers of their beer. On March
9 and 10, other Bravo soldiers also summarily executed at
least 15 people in Buramba, Rutshuru Territory for alleged
collaboration with the FDLR. Second, Bravo elements have
attacked the FDLR, causing FDLR elements to flee into the
forest, leading to depredations on the population and massive
displacements. Some villages have been empty due to FDLR
attacks since January.

-----------------
Judicial Impunity
-----------------

6. (SBU) Sanchez provided multiple examples of rampant
judicial impunity for human rights violations by soldiers.
He told us not one soldier of colonel rank or higher had been
held accountable for any crime since May 2005. He asserted
there are 17 serious cases of crimes against humanity in the
province, dating from 2004 to present, in which prosecution
has been blocked by interference by military authorities in
Kinshasa. He gave several examples, including a colonel
sentenced to life who resides openly in North Kivu and a
lieutenant sentenced to 30 years who was later set free. A
Colonel Mayanga was accused of torturing the director of
Virunga National Park in 2005. Sanchez said the commander of
the 9th MR at the time promised Mayanga would be transferred
to a military court, but he was instead promoted to general
and given a command in Kinshasa. (Note: Mayanga is also
accused of collaborating with the FDLR. End note.)

---------------
Sexual Violence

KINSHASA 00000947 002 OF 002


---------------

7. (SBU) Sanchez said the third major human rights problem
in North Kivu is sexual violence and its underreporting.
Unlike in South Kivu (ref B), the FDLR is not the major
perpetrators of rape in North Kivu. Instead, the FARDC,
including mixed brigades, integrated brigades, or
non-integrated brigades, are the major violators. (Note:
Sanchez also noted a steady rise in sexual violence
perpetrated by civilians. End note.)

8. (SBU) Sanchez said a major obstacle to justice for sexual
violence victims was in fact humanitarian NGOs which refuse
to share information with human rights investigators. He
said many NGOs do not encourage rape victims to file
complaints or to speak with investigators. Sanchez noted
that if someone showed up at a public or private hospital
wounded, a police report would have to be filed. However,
there is no such reporting requirement for rape, making
statistical and judicial work extremely difficult. He said
MONUC is working to get such a requirement established.
MONUC is also working with the ministries of health and
justice to create a diagnostic tool for rape to be used
throughout the country.

-----------------------------
Other Human Rights Violations
-----------------------------

9. (SBU) Sanchez cited three additional common human rights
violations in the province: arbitrary arrest, torture, and
illegal taxation. Arbitrary arrest is common, and the
authorities usually extract USD 1 or 2 for release. He said
at least 62 cases of torture by police and militias had been
reported in the last year alone. Illegal taxes, barriers,
and traffic costs are widespread, and police often demand 50
francs from each vehicle they see.

-------
Comment
-------

10. (SBU) North Kivu civilians continue to face a
triumvirate of human rights issues: violations by the FARDC,
judicial impunity, and widespread sexual violence. The
creation of the mixed brigades has exacerbated the existing
insecurity. Unfortunately, in the current political
environment in the province, there appears to be neither the
political will nor the military capability to hold violators
responsible for their crimes. End comment.
MEECE

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