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Cablegate: Gor On Gacaca, Legal Cases Involving France, East

VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLGB #0611/01 1831130
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021130Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4357
INFO RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 0091
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 0900
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1636
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0238
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0909
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0263

UNCLAS KIGALI 000611

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD PHUM PREL RW
SUBJECT: GOR ON GACACA, LEGAL CASES INVOLVING FRANCE, EAST
AFRICAN COMMUNITY, REFUGEES

REF: A. KIGALI 599
B. KIGALI 547

1. (U) Summary. The GOR briefed the diplomatic community on
June 28, announcing several initiatives to alleviate crowded
prison conditions, hailing Rwanda's entry into the East
African Community (EAC), noting efforts to secure return of a
genocide suspect from France, and denying reports of
recruiting in refugee camps in Rwanda. End summary.

2. (U) Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama announced
that, to alleviate crowding in Rwanda's prisons, henceforward
all persons convicted by gacaca courts would serve their TIG
(community service) and suspended portions of their sentences
first (as previewed in reftel A). "No one with any form of
TIG or suspended punishment will be heading for prison," he
said. Further, he said, the GOR would conduct new releases of
genocide suspects in September and December of this year.
"We will reduce the size of the prison population." He gave
no estimates of the size of the intended releases.

3. (U) The Minister also reviewed the status of Rwanda's
attempts to secure custody of genocide suspect Isaac Kamali,
denied entry into the U.S, and arrested upon his return to
Paris. The Minister stated that the GOR was "sending the
case file to France," with the hope that either France would
either extradite the suspect or prosecute him there. "We are
following events closely," he said. He declined to speculate
on how working with the French government might improve
relations between the two nations.

4. (U) Karugarama then addressed the GOR's attempts to
litigate before the International Court of Justice the French
judge Brugiere's issuance of arrest warrants for nine senior
Rwandan officials. "France has yet to respond to our
application," said. "They have never answered our
complaint." (Note: the ICG specifically commented, upon
receipt of the GOR application to the court, that
jurisdiction was voluntary, and France must agree to the case
being heard before the court).

5. (U) Foreign Affairs Minister of State Rosemary Museminali
made general remarks on Rwanda's formal entry into the East
African Community, noting that the GOR would deposit its
instrument of accession on July 2 in Arusha. While several
other EAC economies were "more robust," Rwanda would find
both "challenges and opportunities" in competition with those
more developed economies. She sketched out the general
framework for the EAC member states, passing in negotiated
stages from a Customs Union to a Common Market to a Monetary
Union. Along the way, she said, Rwanda would have to
"harmonize" its budget system with other EAC nations, and
also adopt standard taxation and tariff schemes. On July 10,
she indicated, the GOR would host a roundtable with the
Rwandan private sector to discuss the full range of EAC
issues.

6. (U) Finally, Local Government Minister of State Nyatani
issued a press release denying reports of Congolese negative
forces recruiting from refugee camps in Rwandan. Repeating
language in the press release, she said such reports were
"baseless and without truth." In answer to a question from a
western ambassador, inquiring about reports of recruiting by
a Congolese NGO associated with General Laurent Nkunda, she
said any such efforts by the NGO would be "clandestine."

7. (SBU) Comment. Assuming the new procedures regarding
gacaca convictions are applied immediately, the rising tide
of convicts crowding into Rwanda's 16 prisons should level
off -- although it bears noting that gacaca suspects who do
not confess at some stage of the proceedings do not benefit
from TIG or suspended sentences, and so will continue to be
sent to prison. Those inclined to confess will now see even
greater benefit -- immediate release, with custodial
sentences to be served at a future date. The nation's
prisons will still be faced with very difficult conditions at
present levels of occupancy; the September and December
releases will need to be substantial to secure a real
reduction in terribly crowded conditions.

8. (SBU) Comment continued. The Justice Minister's calm
review of both the ICJ case and of the Kamali arrest (which
entailed no criticism of USG actions) are reflective of his
professionalism and faith in judicial procedures. Minister
of State Museminali's comments on Rwanda's entry into the EAC
were at once realistic and possessed of optimism -- Rwanda
would face important challenges, but would benefit from the
new regional body. Minister of State Nyatani's comments were
less convincing, her flat denials of recruiting belied by
several documented reports (reftel B).

ARIETTI

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