Search

 

Cablegate: Update: Questionable Evidence and Procedures Mar

VZCZCXRO0050
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0868 2041521
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231521Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6584
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 KINSHASA 000868

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM KPAO CG
SUBJECT: UPDATE: QUESTIONABLE EVIDENCE AND PROCEDURES MAR
SERGE MAHESHE MURDER TRIAL

REF: KINSHASA 00666

1. (U) Summary. The trial of two soldiers accused of
killing Radio Okapi journalist Serge Maheshe has lost
credibility, say MONUC and NGO representatives in South Kivu
province. Locals complain that the military tribunal hearing
the case rushed to judgment with the arrest and hearings of
14 suspects just days after Maheshe was killed. The alleged
murderers have accused two of Maheshe's best friends as
masterminds behind the crime. End summary.

2. (U) Serge Maheshe, a journalist who worked for UN-funded
Radio Okapi, was killed by unidentified men in Bukavu, South
Kivu June 13 (reftel). Two days later, a military tribunal
began hearings for 14 suspects, although, according to MONUC,
routine investigations were not yet completed. The tribunal
recessed June 16.

3. (U) When hearings resumed June 25, the prosecutor named
two of the 14 detainees, Freddy Bisimwa and Masaile
Rwezangabo, as the gunmen, and said they had threatened
investigators on the scene after the murder. The prosecutor
also presented a crime scene report that noted the murder
occurred at approximately 8:00 p.m., but the crime scene was
not sealed off until past midnight. Police did not search
homes until the following morning.

4. (U) On July 5, the two principle witnesses in the case,
Serge Muhima and Alain Mulimbi, friends who were with Maheshe
when he was killed, were arrested and taken to Bukavu central
prison for questioning. On July 15, Bisimwa and Rwezangabo
claimed Muhima and Mulimbi had ordered the killing. They
said Maheshe's friends had promised them 30,000 USD and plane
tickets to South Africa in return for killing him.

5. (SBU) A Bukavu NGO leader and friend of Maheshe told us
July 19 the trial had become a "theater." He evoked the 2005
military investigation into the death of Bukavu-based human
rights activist Pascal Kabungulu, which similarly accused a
friend of his murder. The friend was eventually released,
but the accusation delayed the prosecution of the case, which
remains unsolved.

6. (SBU) A MONUC Bukavu political officer told us July 19
the accusations against Muhima and Mulimbi were "ridiculous"
and said its head of office was personally following the
case. He characterized the "confusing tale" of Bisimwa and
Rwezangabo as an attempt to deflect attention from themselves.

7. (U) Maheshe's mother testified July 18 that Muhima and
Mulimbi were "like her own sons" and had grown up with
Maheshe. She upbraided the alleged murderers and demanded
they explain who had actually sent them to kill her son and
why. She offered two possible motives for the murder: an
altercation between Maheshe and Republican Guard soldiers in
May and a family land dispute for which Maheshe had appeared
in civil court the day he was killed.

8. (U) Civilian lawyers retained by Muhima and Mulimbi have
petitioned for provisional release of the two as well as for
their case to be moved to a civilian court. The tribunal
denied both requests.

9. (SBU) Comment: National and provincial officials spoke
out strongly against Maheshe's murder. But the conduct and
record of Bukavu's military tribunal does not engender
confidence in its ability to solve cases or defend the public
interest. End comment.
MEECE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>

Department Of Global Communications: UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ Message For World Health Day 2021

5 APRIL 2021 As COVID-19 Reveals Immoral Inequities in Health System, Secretary-General Observance Message Calls for Applying Policies, Assigning Resources to Ensure Everyone Thrives Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World ... More>>