Cablegate: Update On the Un Justice Mapping Project

DE RUEHKI #1012/01 3220613
P 170613Z NOV 08



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Update on the UN Justice Mapping Project

1. (SBU) Summary: The UN Justice Mapping Project for the DRC began
its six month deployment phase on October 17. The project has field
teams in North Kivu, South Kivu, Katanga, and Orientale provinces as
of October 24. The three main objectives of the Mapping Project are
to conduct an inventory of the most serious human rights violations
committed between March 1993 and June 2003; to assess existing
capacities within the Congolese justice system; and to develop
recommendations to assist the GDRC in identifying appropriate
transitional justice mechanisms. The project team does not have a
mandate to conduct a full-fledged criminal investigation, but rather
to gather and analyze evidence. The project plans to deliver its
final report to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR) on June 1, 2009. The team estimates that it needs an
additional $1.2 million for the project, and the Project Director
inquired if the USG would be willing to contribute. The GDRC has
cooperated with the team. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The UN Justice Mapping Project for the DRC officially
began its six month deployment phase on October 17, according to the
Project Director, Luc Cote, who briefed the diplomatic corps on
November 11. Field teams went out to four provinces: North Kivu,
South Kivu, Katanga, and Orientale, beginning October 24. The
project team has already assembled over 500 documents from various
UN agencies and international NGO's covering human rights abuses
during the ten year period (1993 to 2003), which the project is

Project Objectives

3. (SBU) The project has three main objectives. First, the team
aims to conduct an inventory of the most serious human rights
violations committed within the DRC between March 1993 and June
2003. It will collect and analyze all existing information,
corroborate such information by independent sources, investigate
serious incidents not previously reported or documented, and prepare
analysis of specific patterns of abuse such as sexual violence, use
of child soldiers, etc.

4. (SBU) The second objective is to assess the existing capacities
of the Congolese justice system to address human rights violations
that may be uncovered during the exercise. The project team will
analyze existing reports assessing the Congolese justice system,
review recent Congolese case law, interview different actors within
the civil and military justice systems, and prepare an assessment
taking into account international guidelines.

5. (SBU) The third objective is to develop a series of options to
assist the GDRC in identifying appropriate transitional justice
mechanisms to address past human rights violations. The project
team plans to analyze recent transitional justice experiences
conducted in the DRC by reviewing existing reports on transitional
justice issues, interview different experts and actors in DRC
transitional justice, and formulate options of transitional justice
mechanisms based on the findings of the mapping exercise and the
capacity of the Congolese justice system.


6. (SBU) The project team does not have a mandate to conduct a
full-fledged criminal investigation, but merely to gather and
analyze evidence. According to Cote, the team has limited its
methodology to agree with its UN mandate and its limited time and
budget. It will be using a threshold to determine which cases to
include in its final report. The more serious the crime, i.e.
deprivation of life, the more likely it will be covered.

7. (SBU) The standard of evidence that the team will use will not
be the same as for a criminal case, but rather will be "reasonable
suspicion." According to Cote, the project team will not try to
establish individual criminal liability. Thus, the identity of
individual perpetrators will be kept confidential. Criminal
liability will be established by the transitional justice mechanism
after the close of the Justice Mapping Project.

8. (SBU) The team will not collect and safeguard individual
physical evidence. However, there is an exception if the
investigator has reasonable doubt that the evidence will become lost
or destroyed, if it is not immediately safeguarded.

Project Timeline

9. (SBU) Cote explained that the Justice Mapping Project is divided
into three phases: pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment.

KINSHASA 00001012 002 OF 002

The three-month pre-deployment phase concluded on October 17. The
Director organized logistical support, completed the recruitment
process, prepared detailed Terms of Reference, and developed
training sessions and documents for the field teams.

10. (SBU) During the six month deployment phase, from October 17,
2008 to April 17, 2009, the project team will set up offices in the
four provinces, conduct investigations, collect and analyze
information, assess judicial capacity, and assess the needs and
types of transitional justice mechanisms.

11. (SBU) The post-deployment phase is scheduled for April 17, 2009
to June 1, 2009. This phase includes drafting the final report,
archiving all documents, and closing down the project. The team's
goal is to deliver the final report to the OHCHR in Geneva on June
1. After the OHCHR and the UNSG review the report, the GDRC will be
given a chance to review and respond. According to Cote, the goal
is to make the report public before the end of 2009.

Funding Appeal

12. (SBU) In mid-2007, the project had an original budget of $2.5
million. Following an in-depth review of the budget and
re-evaluation of the real cost for staff and DRC operations, the
project team now estimates the budget to be $3.7 million. It has
sent out a funding appeal for the $1.2 million shortfall. Existing
donors include the governments of Belgium, Canada, Germany,
Netherlands, UK, Switzerland, and Sweden. Cote asked if the USG
would be willing to contribute.

13. (SBU) Comment: After a delay in the start of the project to
raise initial funds and to recruit a Project Director, the Justice
Mapping Project is finally underway. The methodology of the project
will keep the names of individual perpetrators confidential, thus
avoiding potential conflicts with prominent individuals. The
project team has full government cooperation at this stage.
However, it remains to be seen how much real political will exists
to address past human rights abuses and war crimes through any
recommended transitional justice mechanisms. End Comment.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


University of Auckland: Low-Lying Pacific Island Has More Land Above Sea Level Than In 1943

An inhabited island in the low-lying Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands, which are thought to be at risk of being inundated by rising sea levels, has actually increased in size since 1943, scientists say. And the increase in area above sea level is likely ... More>>

APEC : Leaders Issue Kuala Lumpur Declaration

The leaders of the 21 APEC member economies issued the Kuala Lumpur Declaration following the first-ever virtual 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Convening for the first time since the ... More>>

UN: Appeals For $35 Billion To Help World’s ‘Most Vulnerable And Fragile’ In 2021

UNOCHA/HFO A family flees the violence in Idlib, Syria. (file) A record 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection next year, a near- 40 per cent increase on 2020 which is “almost entirely from COVID-19”, the UN’s emergency ... More>>

OHCHR: UN Committee Issues Recommendations To Combat Racial Profiling

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today published its guidance to combat racial profiling, emphasizing, among other issues, the serious risk of algorithmic bias when artificial intelligence (AI) is used in law enforcement. The ... More>>