Cablegate: President's Chief of Staff Tells Charge All
DE RUEHKI #0945 2881701
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151701Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0221
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0784
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
UNCLAS KINSHASA 000945
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MASS MARR PHUM KWMN CG
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT'S CHIEF OF STAFF TELLS CHARGE ALL
MILITARY SUSPECTS ON "LIST OF FIVE" WERE
RELIEVED OF DUTY BUT HAVE NOT YET BEEN CHARGED
1. (SBU) Charge d'Affaires met October 8 with Adolphe Lumanu
Mulenda, President Joseph Kabila's chief of staff, to review a
number of issues. Also present were econ counselor and Mulenda's
private secretary. Charge raised the issue of the "list of five"
senior military officials suspected of serious human rights
violations, including acts of SGBV, presented to President Kabila by
Security Council ambassadors during their trip to the Democratic
Republic of the Congo in May of this year.
2. (SBU) Charge began by trying to convey to Mulenda just how
important it was for the GDRC to take action against the five. The
issue had become a "cause celebre" in the United States and other
countries, not only because of the allegations against the five but
also, and perhaps even more so, because of the Government's apparent
failure to take decisive action to remove them from their command
and to prosecute them.
3. (SBU) Mulenda was clearly surprised by the charge's serious (but
polite) tone and seemed to be thrown off balance. His reaction was
initially defensive but later became angrier in tone. He replied
that NGO and press reports that the GDRC had done nothing with
regard to the "List of Five" were false. The government, he said
emphatically, had relieved all five men of their commands in the
armed forces while investigating the charges. In the meantime, he
said, the five suspects were free but under surveillance.
4. (SBU) Charge countered that this was not enough and the U.S.
wanted to see charges against the men with trials in the near
future. Mulenda erupted: Few outside the DRC, he exclaimed, could
understand the difficulties involved in pursuing justice here. He
admitted that the justice sector had no capacity; for that reason,
he said, the president had recently fired more that 100 judges and
appointed new ones who were less corrupt. He chided the charge for
implying that the president could simply order the five tried; in
democracies, he insisted, the separate branches of government are
autonomous and the executive cannot order the courts around.
5. (SBU) Mulenda then talked about how big the country was andthe
logistical difficulties in tracking down peole and bringing them to
justice. His final, telling, point (delivered with much emotion)
was: "You cannot think that these persons are just individuals.
Behind each of them is a militia that will go out of control and
commit more atrocities if its leader is brought to justice."
6. (SBU) Comment: The Government's inability to act on the "List
of Five" matter is clearly a great embarrassment and source of much
frustration. Mulenda's rationalizations that the country is too big
and too democratic do not ring true. But his assertion, in
quavering voice, that the five have militias to back them suggests
that the government is treading lightly, lest it step on a mine.