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Cablegate: Unhro Reports Mass Graves, Mass Rape, and Illegal

VZCZCXRO6389
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1313 3310836
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270836Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7163
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
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001313

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PGOV PHUM PINS KPKO CG
SUBJECT: UNHRO REPORTS MASS GRAVES, MASS RAPE, AND ILLEGAL
EXPLOITATION OF RESOURCES


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The United Nations Human Rights Office
(UNHRO) recently made public its Monthly Human Rights
Assessment of the DRC for September 2007. The report
described 70 different cases of abuse committed by armed
groups including Nkunda forces, Mayi Mayi militia, and FARDC
soldiers. This report highlights the continued impunity
enjoyed by numerous armed groups throughout the DRC. It is
Post's view that without reform in the military justice
sector, these abuses will continue unabated. END SUMMARY

2. (U) In its September Human Rights Report, the UNHRO once
again listed numerous violations of human rights committed in
the DRC by various armed groups. While some of the cases
received a higher level of attention, attacks and predation
against the Congolese population by armed groups, including
but not limited to the FARDC, continued to occur in all
regions. This cable focuses on three cases which represent
the range of the ongoing problems throughout the country. In
September alone, the UNHRO report implicated the pro-Nkunda
Bravo Brigade in the arbitrary execution of 21 civilians in
the Rubare area of North Kivu; Mayi Mayi soldiers in a mass
rape in Kieke Lesole, Orientale; and FARDC soldiers in the
illegal trafficking and exploitation of natural resources in
Katanga.

3. (U) From September 10-21, 2007 the UNHRO sent a
investigative team to the Rubare area in North Kivu to verify
the existence of mass graves left behind by pro-Nkunda forces
from the Bravo Brigade. The UNHRO team verified the existence
of at least 21 bodies found at a total of 3 sites. On
September 10th, the team found the remains of nine bodies in
three graves at the abandoned former HQ of the 2nd Battalion
of the Bravo Brigade in Rubare. On September 20th and 21st,
the team unearthed the remains of at least 6 bodies found in
two graves in Katwiguru. They also located the remains of at
least 6 other bodies in Kiseguru. The investigative team
found each of the 21 bodies with their hands tied. The
evidence suggested that the Bravo Brigade arbitrarily
executed civilians before they abandoned their camps. The
UNHRO team informed the military justice authorities
(Auditeur Militaire Superieur and Auditeur Militaire de
Garnison) of their findings and handed over photographic
evidence.

4. (U) On September 29, 2007, the UNHRO and Congolese
military judicial officials began investigating the
allegation of mass rape committed in Kieke Lesole, Orientale
between July 21-August 3, 2007. The HROs interviewed ten rape
victims who identified the perpetrators as Mayi Mayi soldiers
under the command of Colonel Thomas. The UNHRO planned to
return in October to continue the investigation.

5. (U) On September 7, 2007, the UNHRO intercepted the
Commander of the 65th FARDC Brigade and his men on the
Kolwezi-Lubumbashi highway in Katanga. The soldiers had in
their possession 8 tons of copper from Gecamines. Post
estimated the value of the load to be more than 50,000 U.S.
dollars. Top local political and military officials appear to
have been involved in the illegal trafficking and
exploitation of natural resources in Katanga. The UNHRO
referred the case to the Office of the Military Prosecutor.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Armed groups continue to perpetrate human
rights violations and participate in these types of
activities with apparent impunity throughout the DRC. Without
a concerted effort to reform and build capacity in the
military justice system, along with some high-profile
prosecutions and convictions, such abuses will likely
continue unabated. END COMMENT

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