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Cablegate: Congo/B: Beach Trial Verdict Expected Today; Eac

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001329

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/C - PLEASE PASS TO M. ASHRAF
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

FROM BRAZZAVILLE EMBASSY OFFICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PHUM AEMR AMGT KJUS CF
SUBJECT: CONGO/B: BEACH TRIAL VERDICT EXPECTED TODAY; EAC
CONVENED TO DISCUSS POST SECURITY

1. (SBU) Summary. A verdict is expected today in the trial
of 15 of the country's senior security officials over the
disappearance of more than 350 political refugees in events
referred to as 'the affair of the missing at the beach' or
the 'beach' case. Post recognizes that there is some
possibility of unrest if some (or all) of the defendants are
found culpable for the alleged crimes. Post convened the EAC
to ensure that all appropriate precautionary measures are
taken. End summary.

----------------------
Verdict Expected Today
----------------------

2. (SBU) Post has identified two likely potential verdicts.
In the first instance, none of the defendants are found
guilty for the alleged crimes. In this case, post officials
and local security contacts do not/not anticipate unrest as
likely as those who would be dissatisfied with such an
outcome have neither expressed militant intent nor
demonstrated any significant level of organization.

3. (SBU) The other possible verdict is that some (or all) of
the defendants will be found culpable for the allegations.
In this case, the post recognizes limited potential for
unrest among some of those in the military who may view such
a verdict as threatening their perceived immunity from
prosecution. The EAC agrees that although some unrest is
possible it is unlikely. In addition, the relatively
professional police force is equally as unlikely to be co-
opted on a widespread basis by such individuals.

4. (SBU) The EAC agrees that the situation should be closely
monitored, but that post's current security posture is
sufficient to react to any potential unrest.

----------
Background
----------

4. (U) On July 20, 2005, after a one-day delay due to
procedural problems, 15 top military and police officials
accused of genocide in the disappearances (and alleged
murders) of over 350 Congolese political refugees in 1999
went on trial in a civilian court. Among the defendants are
some of the country's highest-ranking security officials.
They are accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and
war crimes. The refugees were allegedly killed in 1999 as
they returned from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo
where they had fled in 1998 to escape the then-civil war in
the Republic of Congo (ROC). When the returning refugees
arrived at Brazzaville's river port known as ''The Beach''
they were arrested (and never seen in public again) on
suspicion of being supporters of a militia known as the
Ninjas.
5. (SBU) Congo has come under considerable pressure from
donor nations to make progress towards good governance and
the rule of law. This trial, which has military and
security officials appearing before a civilian court, may be
an important step in this direction. Human rights
organizations and the families of 353 people who went
missing at Brazzaville beach have backed this trial.
Regardless of the verdict, however, some of the commentary
in the print media has questioned the legitimacy of the
process and whether justice will be served.
6. (U) Brazzaville Embassy Office - Anderson
MEECE

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