Search

 

Cablegate: War Crimes Ambassador Rapp Visits Drc;

VZCZCXRO2413
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1042/01 3340634
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300634Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0332
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 KINSHASA 001042

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL PREF MOPS KPKO CG
SUBJECT: War Crimes Ambassador Rapp visits DRC;
3mphasizes need for accountability

REF: (A) Kinshasa 1027; (B) Kinshasa 1023

1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador at Large for War Crimes (S/WCI)
Stephen Rapp visited the DRC from November 12-14 as part of a
follow-on mission to Secretary Clinton's August visit. He
interacted with a variety of Congolese and international actors in
meetings with the Minister of Justice, the Vice Minister of Defense,
UN officials, North Kivu's Vice Governor, and Congolese NGOs. At
the North Kivu Vice Governor's, he met with the press and exhibited
the latest Rewards for Justice posters. He also traveled to
Kiwanja, the site of a massacre of local civilians by CNDP troops in
November 2008, to commemorate that event and meet with survivors and
members of the MONUC contingent based in the town. End comment.

2. (SBU) As a follow-up to Secretary Clinton's visit, S/WCI Rapp's
mission to Goma was designed to assess and demonstrate U.S.
engagement in efforts to combat the problem of continuing war crimes
and human rights abuses, including sexual and gender-based violence
committed by the Congolese military (FARDC) and other armed groups.
He also sought to publicize the ongoing U.S. effort to bring major
perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda genocide to justice by offering
"Rewards for Justice" to those who provide information leading to
the arrest of certain high profile genocidaires wanted by the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). End summary.

Warm welcome and cold shoulder in Kinshasa
------------------------------------------


3. (SBU) On November 12, Ambassador Stephen Rapp, Special Envoy
for War Crimes Issues, accompanied by Ambassador Garvelink, met with
Minister of Justice Emmanuele Luzolo Bambi. Rapp emphasized the
opportunity to work together on issues of accountability for those
who have perpetrated war crimes especially at the senior military
leadership level. He highlighted the cooperation by the GDRC with
the ICC noting that those currently in The Hague are Congolese but
there remains a profound need for a strong national justice system.


4. (SBU) Luzolo referenced the common commitment against war crimes
by the two governments. He provided a long history of the justice
system starting with the notion that the post conflict situation has
created a fragile environment for the prosecution of war crimes. He
emphasized the fact that he has been fighting for peace "every day"
but has been hampered in his efforts by a lack of funding.
According to Luzolo, a paradox exists within the international
community. They want justice but they do not provide the means to
provide it in the DRC. There is a desperate need for new
equipment.

5. (SBU) Luzolo acknowledged there are problems between the GDRC
and NGOs. "I am sorry to see misunderstandings between NGOs and the
government. That kind of attack makes me ill at ease." He has
invited NGOs to meet with him especially when they "angrily demand"
prosecutions. "They [NGOs] are needed, they are necessary to keep
us on the right path." Luzolo asserted that human rights are not
possible without justice. He promised a more thorough discussion
with Rapp when they are in The Hague together.

6. (SBU) Luzolo shared with Rapp the comments he [Luzolo] made to
Anneke Van Woudenberg in an earlier meeting. Luzolo said that the
international community has a right to demand the arrest of Bosco
Qinternational community has a right to demand the arrest of Bosco
Ntaganda but that it is not possible to do so at this stage. He
reiterated that the GDRC is going to arrest him sometime and the
standing position is to collaborate with the ICC, but challenges
remain. He agreed that military justice needs to be reformed.

7. (SBU) In a meeting with Vice Minister of Defense Oscar Masamba,
Rapp reassured the Vice Minister that he was there to begin a
dialogue and a relationship of cooperation with the Ministry of
Defense and the GDRC as a whole. He reiterated the importance of
accountability especially for high-ranking military officials.
Masamba stated that although reinforcement of accountability and war
crime prosecution is needed, there are encouraging signs as well.
In order to strengthen the system, financial resources and political
will are required. Masamba told Rapp that the current system, in
which judges need to be of higher rank than those being prosecuted,
will be eliminated. When Rapp pressed for more specific details
regarding the role of the ICC and cases like Ntaganda, Masamba did
not provide a substantive reply, rather promising to report to the
Minister of Defense. He further stated that he did not have details
about the "FARDC 5," but added that the Minister of Defense could
provide these in future conversations.

UN Views

KINSHASA 00001042 002 OF 005


--------

8. (SBU) In Goma, representatives from several MONUC offices
briefed Ambassador Rapp on the ongoing situation in the Congo and
MONUC activities. Ambassador Rapp raised USG questions about
actions such as MONUC support for the FARDC's Kimia 2 military
operation against the FDLR and the sudden emptying of internally
displaced persons (IDP) camps around Goma in September. Rapp
engaged with several MONUC representatives in Goma, including MONUC
North Kivu Head of Office Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, Regional
Coordinator for the Joint Human Rights Office Raphael Yoho, Civil
Affairs Head of Office Edem Blege, MONUC Eastern Coordination Acting
Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant Colonel Charles Armstrong and
Stabilization Team Leader Spyros Demetriou.

9. (SBU) The UN briefings touched on a number of issues and
combined to provide a good overview of the current situation:

-- North Kivu Head of Office Sellassie spoke of the complexities of
the MONUC presence in the DRC-to operate effectively MONUC needs
both the good will of the host government and support of the UN
member states. After ten years in the Congo, MONUC has had some
success, but it would have been more effective if UN member states
had been more willing to pressure Kinshasa and other states in the
region. She did not believe the government was serious about
addressing some key issues, including security sector reform,
refugee return, even peacemaking efforts; it lacks both the will and
the capacity.

-- UN officers (primarily Yoho and Blege) described the evolving IDP
situation, including the sudden evacuation of over 60,000 people
from the IDP camps near Goma in September. They said that some
800,000 North Kivu IDPs had returned to their homes since the
Kinshasa-Kigali accord in January, mostly to Kitchanga, Kiwanja and
Masisi. Some 900,000 IDPs remain in the province, the vast majority
of who have relocated relatively close to their homes. Several push
and pull factors contributed to the closure of the camps near Goma
where 110,000 were housed at the peak of the crisis: camp surveys
indicated some 80% of IDPs in Goma said they thought conditions had
improved sufficiently to return home; UNHCR thought most IDPs could
return and wanted to consolidate the camps and limit populations to
the most needy; politicians, notably former North Kivu governor
Eugene Serifuli, encouraged IDPs to return home by warning them that
if they did not, then Rwandan Tutsi refugees would return to take
their land; IDPs moved quickly to take advantage of "return
packages" of supplies while they were available. Most have not yet
gone all the way home but have relocated to "secondary points of
displacement" near their homes after collecting their return
packages where they are waiting until conditions improve.


-- The IDP returns are being stimulated in some areas by Congolese
politicians who are hyping the return of Congolese Tutsi refugees
from Rwanda who are reportedly crossing clandestinely at night in an
organized fashion. UN officers strongly believed this movement is
indeed occurring. UNHCR reportedly believes that some 12,000 people
have clandestinely crossed from Rwanda, but refuses to describe them
as refugees because camp populations do not appear to have changed;
the MONUC military G2 strongly embraces that figure. The returnees
Qthe MONUC military G2 strongly embraces that figure. The returnees
are reportedly mostly heading toward Mushake, Kichanga and Kirolirwe
in Masisi district. Some have speculated that they might be
Congolese Tutsis who went to Rwanda intending to stay, but have
since decided to return home--or are being pushed to go.

-- Local chiefs strongly oppose the movement of these refugees,
which they believe is related to the issue of land-grabbing by
ex-CNDP integrated into FARDC. Ex-CNDP FARDC moved into the Bisie
mines and violently pushed civilians, primarily Hutu and Hunde, from
areas around Nyabiondo and Lukweti. UN Joint Human Rights teams who
were prevented by hostile Mai Mai groups from investigating reports
that ex-CNDP had killed hundreds in the Nyabiondo area in October
stumbled across solid evidence of massacres in nearby Lukweti (ref
A).

-- Fear that ex-CNDP/Tutsi will move back to their land has fueled
the growth of Mai Mai groups to defend locals against the outsiders,
according to UN officials. Mai Mai are also disenchanted by their
inability to integrate into the FARDC at ranks they consider
appropriate and resent the influence of ex-CNDP in the army. Major
active, unintegrated groups in the area include Janvier's ACPLS
(Hunde), LaFontaine's PARECO group (Nande), and Mai Mai Kifuafua
(Tembo, Nyanga, etc). The ACPLS appears to be the most powerful of
these at the moment and is notable for its hostility to FARDC and
MONUC, its working relationship with FDLR in the area and its good
ties with (non-Tutsi) local civilians (ref B).

KINSHASA 00001042 003 OF 005

-- There was an interesting difference of emphasis between Blege
from Civil Affairs and Yoho from the Joint Human Rights Office, who
together met with the Rapp group. Yoho believed that FDLR crimes
were worse than the CNDP's, whereas Blege noted that the FDLR's
worst massacre, at Busurungi in May was immediately preceded by a
massacre of Hutu civilians by FARDC at nearby Shalio.

-- MONUC North Kivu Head of Office Sellassie expressed shock at the
problem of gender and sexually based violence throughout the DRC,
even in the large parts of the country not affected by the war or
instability. This, she thought, might be a question for
ethnologists. Ambassador Rapp indicated that the problem might be
the lack of an effective justice system because when people know
they will be punished for such behavior, they are less likely to do
it. Sellassie disagreed. Other countries in Africa lack strong,
formal legal institutions, but we do not see such violence. This,
she said, is a puzzle we do not understand. Rapp noted that when
effective legal institutions were restored in Liberia and Sierra
Leone, criminal violence dropped.

North Kivu Vice Governor Luhaichirwa
-------------------------------------

10. (SBU) In his meeting with Vice Governor Feller Luhaichirwa,
Ambassador Rapp spoke of USG concern about violence against
civilians and USG willingness to cooperate with Congolese
authorities on justice issues. Luhaichirwa, who is an ethnic Hunde,
said that the situation in North Kivu had in many ways improved from
the nadir of the early 2000s. The political arrangements of recent
months, including the detente between Kinshasa and Kigali and the
integration of the CNDP and PARECO into the national army had marked
a step forward; now the FDLR, which had caused so much instability
in the past, was everyone's common enemy. He recognized that crimes
had been committed by elements in the army in the ongoing operations
against the FDLR, but the command had made every effort to arrest
perpetrators of crimes against civilians; he said over 500 FARDC
criminals had been arrested since March-April and are now being
housed in a prison designed to hold 300.

11. (SBU) Luhaichirwa's main theme -- "just a reflection," as he
put it -- was the need for economic development to give the
hard-working Congolese population hope and reason not to fight one
another over land and resources. North Kivu needed international
investment to build roads and schools, to develop electricity and
gas power generation, and to improve the health system. The
international community had to follow through on its promises to pay
demobilized soldiers. He emphasized that with economic development
investment to the tune of ten billion dollars, the economy would be
able to provide employment for all Congolese. Even Rwandans, who
had been brought to Congo by the Belgians to work in agriculture and
the mines, would be able to find employment. With money, with
investment, with economic development, all of Congo's problems would
be solved.

12. (SBU) Ambassador Rapp agreed that economic development was of
key importance, but also noted that is difficult to find people
willing to invest in violent, unstable areas where people could not
be safe.

Meet the Press and Rewards for Justice
--------------------------------------

Q
13. (SBU) Immediately after their session, Rapp and the Vice
Governor met with the press outside the Vice Governor's office.
Rapp spoke briefly of his mission and of USG willingness to
cooperate with Congolese and North Kivu authorities on war
crimes/justice issues, and took several questions. One question
implied that the U.S. was being hypocritical when Special Advisor
Wolpe called for General Bosco Ntaganda's arrest and transfer to the
ICC when the US did not even recognize the ICC. Rapp responded that
the United States had consistently called for Bosco to be brought to
justice for his alleged involvement in war crimes, but that this was
a ultimately an action to be taken by sovereign Congolese
authorities. Regarding the US relationship with ICC, Rapp said the
U.S. had cooperated with the ICC in the past, in Sudan for instance,
and that the Obama administration was in the process of defining the
modalities of future cooperation. Ambassador Rapp also took the
opportunity to publicize the "Rewards for Justice" program;
journalists and Congolese officials eagerly grabbe a number of the
latest "wanted posters" handed ut. Local staff at the U.S. Goma
residence told us the Rapp press conference and Rewards for Justice
received good play on the UN's Radio Okapi and on local Congolese
radio.


KINSHASA 00001042 004 OF 005


Human Rights NGOs
-----------------

14. (U) In Kinshasa, Mirna Adjami, Country Director for
International Center for Transitional Justice, organized a dinner
with several members of civil society dedicated to justice and the
media. They pushed the idea of a mixed tribunal in the DRC and were
also very interested in Rapp's ideas for mixed investigative teams.

15. (SBU) Human Rights Watch Goma researcher Ida Sawyer organized a
meeting of eight representatives from civil society and local human
rights-oriented NGOs. They were generally critical of Operation
Kimia 2, which they said hurt civilians more than the FDLR. They
criticized MONUC for supporting the military operation and for not
doing enough to prevent FARDC abuses. One representative, Raphael
Wakenge from Bukavu, South Kivu, asserted that Kimia 2 was illegal
because it was not approved by parliament.

16. (SBU) A representative of NGO "Synergie Des Femmes" (Women in
Synergy) complained of the problems of gender-based violence in
North Kivu. There is no one to call for help as the police are
corrupt or non-existent, perpetrators are almost never brought to
justice, and there is minimal access to health care to treat
injuries related to sexual violence. Others reiterated her
complaint about impunity: past crimes are not or prosecuted in DRC
and there is no international mechanism to do so since the ICC is
only authorized to prosecute crimes committed since 2002.

17. (SBU) Following on this thought, Wakenge and others proposed a
special mixed tribunal, which would be a national judicial
institution comprising elements from the government and civil
society and supported temporarily by international staff. Such a
commission, which was also recently proposed by Human Rights Watch,
would be able to deal with a broad range of crimes, including those
that would not be heard by the ICC because they occurred before 2002
or other reasons.

18. (SBU) In response, Ambassador Rapp asked if the Congo had made
progress in establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as
called for in the Sun City agreement of 2002. He was told that the
idea had been virtually abandoned. Rapp said the trouble with the
mixed commission is that it would be difficult to find international
funding as the Europeans in particular supported the establishment
of the ICC in order to have a permanent mechanism in place so that
expensive "special courts" as established for Yugoslavia, Rwanda and
Sierra Leone would no longer be necessary. He concluded by speaking
about the Rewards for Justice program and passing out some of the
wanted posters.

Kiwanja--MONUC
--------------

19. (SBU) Early the following morning, the Rapp delegation headed
off to Kiwanja, the site of a major massacre of some 150 civilians
at the hands of the CNDP on November 4-5, 2008. The visit was
intended to signal that the U.S. remembered the massacre and was
concerned about continuing human rights abuses at the hands of the
FARDC, including by units dominated by ex-CNDP. He also met with
members of INBATT 2, the Indian-manned MONUC battalion stationed at
Kiwanja, which had been unwilling or unable to protect civilians
being slaughtered literally a stone's throw from the front gate of
their camp.

20. (SBU) The delegation met with officers from the battalion who
had worked hard to put structures in place to prevent another
Qhad worked hard to put structures in place to prevent another
massacre. The Indians were now making an effort to get out of the
base, make contact with civilians, and build trust so as to
understand the local situation and thus not to be blindsided by
events in the future. To build ties, it was necessary to
demonstrate to civilians that MONUC has "the will, means, and
ability" to protect them. It was also necessary to listen carefully
to civilians while displaying a "high tolerance for nonsense", i.e.
recognizing that false alarms and conspiracy theories would likely
be mixed in with good information. INBATT 2 had in the last year
begun establishing Temporary Operating Bases (TOB) in which a
platoon-sized unit would deploy for 1-2 weeks to an area that
intelligence indicated might be threatened by banditry or rebel
activity; this has become a model for the rest of MONUC. The INBATT
2 officers indicated that in their area of responsibility FDLR
elements are active west of Rutshuru/Kiwanja in Virunga Park as well
toward the northeast in the direction of Ishasha and Nyamilima.

Kiwanja: civil society and massacre survivors
--------------------------------------------- -


KINSHASA 00001042 005 OF 005


21. (SBU) The Rapp delegation also met in Kiwanja with a group of
civil society representatives and then with a group of survivors of
the massacres the year before. The civil society representatives
described the tensions in Kiwanja as basically a conflict between
Tutsis from the CNDP military and Hutu civilians, though much of
Kiwanja is also ethnic Nande. They complained about impunity and
how people had not been punished for their crimes, specifically
mentioning Bosco Ntaganda, who commanded the CNDP troops during the
Kiwanja killings. They complained that the presence of the FDLR
destabilized Congo, but also blamed Rwanda for its unwillingness to
allow an inter-Rwandan dialogue that might encourage the FDLR to
return.

22. (SBU) The survivors of the Kiwanja massacre told a series of
horrifying tales. In almost all cases, CNDP moved through the town,
knocking on doors and killing, possibly because they suspected the
residents were hiding anti-CNDP fighters. Each story was worse than
the one before. A young mother with an infant said that she lived
only because one of the soldiers told the others that, while they
should kill everyone else in the house, if they killed the mother
with the baby they would be cursed. Notably, one of the victims --
a man crippled by gunshot wounds in an arm and a leg -- said he had
been shot in August 2009, not during the Kiwanja massacres. Members
of the Rapp delegation were struck by the follow-on effects of the
disaster that lingered in Kiwanja a year later: survivors were
often rendered homeless; they not only lost their property but also
the family breadwinners; the wounded, who were sometimes badly
maimed, lost the ability to generate income until they recovered
sufficiently to return to work.

Kimia 2 North Kivu Commander Colonel Bobo Kakudi
--------------------------------------------- ---

23. (SBU) The Rapp delegation also met with Colonel Bobo Kakudi,
the North Kivu Kimia 2 commander to discuss Kimia 2 and issues of
military justice. Colonel Kakudi readily admitted that FARDC had
poor ties with civilians in some areas of North Kivu, especially
Lubero and Masisi districts. He said that he was trying to deal
with the problem by building ties to politicians and civil society
leaders to "sensitize" them to FARDC and improve communications
between FARDC and civilian communities. FARDC still had a long way
to go in this effort, but he said military integration bringing in
the CNDP and Mai Mai groups to FARDC was generally going well.
Kakudi noted that he, a member of the "old" FARDC, was the North
Kivu commander, while his deputy was ex-CNDP and the head of
operations was ex-PARECO. He said the high command was a melange
and had learned to work well together. True, some Mai Mai had not
been integrated, but this was because their leaders generally wanted
too high a rank. "[Mai Mai leader] Janvier wants to integrate as a
major general -- I am a colonel and I command the Kimia 2 operation
in North Kivu."

24. (SBU) Kakudi said that Operation Kimia 2 had made major
progress in military operations against the FDLR, but that the
ultimate solution to the FDLR problem was "difficult" and a question
for the politicians. Many FDLR are tired of living in the bush for
years, but fear returning to Rwanda. To get them back, they need
"sensibilization" and perhaps negotiations with the Rwandan
Q"sensibilization" and perhaps negotiations with the Rwandan
government. Perhaps it would be possible to resettle some of them
elsewhere in the DRC or in third countries, but the international
community has labeled them "terrorists", which makes a solution
difficult.

25. (SBU) In response to Rapp's queries, Kakudi said that the FARDC
had been increasing efforts to promote military justice, improve
discipline and punish criminal behavior. When asked how many FARDC
had been jailed for criminal behavior snce March-April, Kakudi said
he did not know exatly, but said "a big number, several hundred"
had been "sent to Kinshasa." He said that, ultimately,
responsibility for discipline lay with "the colonel in charge."
Referring to a statement by President Kabila, Kakudi said the FARDC
had embraced a policy of "zero tolerance" for criminal behavior by
military elements.

26. (U) Ambassador Rapp was unable to clear this cable. S/WCI's
Todd Anderson, who traveled with him, did/did clear.

GARVELINK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>