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Kabila, Tshisekedi, Congo and the International Criminal Court

December 7, 2011

KPFA Weekend News, Dec. 3, 2011:

This KPFA Weekend News report was broadcast on Dec. 4, 2011, two days before ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo warned: “This Court can investigate and prosecute you if you are responsible for committing ICC crimes, irrespective of position and irrespective of political affiliation.” – Ann Garrison, KPFA

by Eric Kamba

Members of Joseph Kabila’s Republican Guard, formerly known as the Presidential Security Group, walked ahead of him as he left a polling station in Kinshasa after voting. – Photo: Finbarr O’Reilly, Reuters
If the International Criminal Court and ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo were committed to international justice, they would issue an arrest warrant for sitting Congolese President Joseph Kabila. However, there is one problem with issuing an arrest warrant for a sitting president; most sitting presidents are also commanders-in-chief of their national armies, so issuing an arrest warrant can be seen as a declaration of war.

Of course this didn’t stop Luis Moreno Ocampo from issuing a warrant for Libyan head-of-state Muammar Qaddafi in June 2011 after NATO had already gone to war, backed by no more than a U.N. Security Resolution creating a “no-fly zone,” to topple his regime. In October, Ocampo said that, before withdrawing the arrest warrant for Qaddafi, he was waiting for forensic evidence that he had been extrajudicially executed, without trial at the ICC or anywhere else, at the conclusion of NATO’s war.

The torture, murder and desecration of the body of a captured head of state and military commander, with video documentation posted to the Web for all the world to see, seemed of little concern to Ocampo. He went on to rule that the new regime of the Libyan National Transitional Council, which was responsible, could justly try Qaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam.

The ICC continues to press for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir if and when al-Bashir dares travel to a neighboring African country. They haven’t yet started a bombing campaign to topple his regime, despite constant sabre rattling by John Prendergast and his ENOUGH Project and the rest of the humanitarian hawks, including Samantha Power, who is now senior director for Multilateral Affairs on Obama’s National Security Council.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo arrives at a news conference to comment on the arrest warrants issued for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi in The Hague. – Photo: Jerry Lampen, Reuters
On Nov. 30, Interpol, acting on a warrant from the ICC, arrested deposed Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and flew him to an ICC detention unit to stand trial for crimes against humanity, though not until many months after his house arrest by the French and U.N.-backed victors in the civil war that broke out over the country’s still disputed 2010 election.

An ICC arrest warrant for the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Joseph Kabila is almost unimaginable because the Western powers that control the ICC have been expected to do whatever it takes to keep Kabila in power. In August, Friends of the Congo Executive Director Maurice Carney told WBAI AfrobeatRadio:

“The power structure in Kinshasa and the foreign governments and foreign corporations that back them are going to make sure that Joseph Kabila wins this election – or it can be said that he wins the election – because Kabila is their man, and he’s their man because he’s provided unfettered access to Congo’s resources. And the Western powers and foreign governments, multinational corporations do not want to see anybody come in that could potentially overturn contracts that have been put in place that facilitate the extraction of tens of billions of dollars from the Congo to Western investors.”

Western powers and foreign governments, multinational corporations do not want to see anybody come in that could potentially overturn contracts that have been put in place that facilitate the extraction of tens of billions of dollars from the Congo to Western investors. – Friends of the Congo Executive Director Maurice Carney on WBAI AfrobeatRadio

Nevertheless, the case for arresting Kabila needs to be made, if not at the ICC, then at least in the court of public opinion.

Republican Guard soldiers shot and killed at least 12 civilians in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Nov. 26, at the end of the electoral campaign. In a number of cases, including here outside N’djili Airport, they shot indiscriminately into crowds and at bystanders. – Photo: Finbarr O’Reilly, Reuters
In “DR Congo, Reign in Security Forces,” published on Dec. 2, 2011, Human Rights Watch reported that at least 18 Congolese people had died and 100 more had been wounded in pre-election violence during the last three days of Congo’s presidential and parliamentary campaigns. Most, they said, had been shot on the streets of Kinshasa by sitting President Joseph Kabila’s Republican Guard, a force of 10,000 to 15,000 formerly known as the Special Presidential Security Group. Republican Guardsmen had fired indiscriminately into crowds of supporters rallying for Tshisekedi and had killed innocent bystanders, including a 27-year-old mother of five, who was shot in the head while walking home from the shop where she worked.

Military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) officials state that the Republican Guard answers to the head of state, President Joseph Kabila, not to them.

Having cheered the International Criminal Court’s arrest of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, whom France and the U.N. sent in troops to depose, Human Rights Watch should, for the sake of its own credibility, also call on Ocampo to arrest Joseph Kabila – and a long list of other African dictators and war and genocide criminals supported by the West, including Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi.

This supporter of Étienne Tshisekedi was shot by President Joseph Kabila’s Republican Guard while marching to meet Tshisekedi at N’djili Airport in Kinshasa. – Photo: Finbarr O’Reilly, Reuters
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011, the Democratic Republic of Congo sat on a knife edge, bracing for further protest and violence in response to announced election results that leading opposition challenger Étienne Tshisekedi and his supporters have already declared fraudulent. Thousands fled across the border from Congo-Kinshasa to Congo-Brazzaville. Thousands more in the global diaspora protested Western and South African government collaboration in a fraudulent election. On the same day, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo issued this statement:

“Leaders from all sides must understand this: My office is watching the situation in the DRC very closely. As we have shown in both Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire, planning and executing attacks on civilians for electoral gain will not be tolerated. This court can investigate and prosecute you if you are responsible for committing ICC crimes, irrespective of position and irrespective of political affiliation.

“I urge leaders, commanders and politicians on all sides to calm your supporters. Electoral violence is no longer a ticket to power, I assure you. It is a ticket to The Hague.”

The fierce determination of the Congolese people, inside the country and in the worldwide diaspora, and the civilian massacres committed by Kabila’s Republican Guard, which were photographed by Reuters, videotaped by Agence France Presse and documented by Human Rights Watch, may have forced Ocampo’s hand or, rather, that of the Western powers he serves. To what or to what degree remains to be seen.

But whatever they do next, the world should know that the Congolese people have chosen Étienne Tshisekedi. Those who want to stand with them should urge their own governments to honor their choice, not sitting President Joseph Kabila, who could not be elected without massive voter fraud and whose troops fired indiscriminately on civilians in the final days of the campaign.

Eric Kamba is an activist and editorial writer and a social worker with the Boston-based Congolese Development Center. He says he cannot safely return to his home in Congo so long as Joseph Kabila remains in power. Eric can be reached at ekamba@aol.com.

This Reuters video shows Ivory Coast’s former president, Laurent Gbagbo, being delivered to a detention unit of the International Criminal Court in the Hague after his arrest on the court’s international warrant on Nov. 30, 2011:

 

15 thoughts on “Kabila, Tshisekedi, Congo and the International Criminal Court

  1. Franck Talk II

    BMW (Beer- Music-Women): Eric Kamba's world. He is a "fighter" of the UDPS, a political party, which has violence as political philosophy. The leader of the UDPS told his "fighters" from South Africa and in his campaign in the DRC to lynch soldiers and police officers, to break down rpsions to free prisonners, that's the reason why Moreno warned ihn.

    Reply
    1. Ann_Garrison

      Gimme a break. Reuters photographed, AFP filmed, and Human Rights Watch documented Kabila's Republican Guard firing indiscriminately into crowds of UDPS/Tshisekedi supporters.

      Reply
          1. Ann_Garrison

            Scott Olson was hit in the head with a tear gas cannister. I don't see a respirator in this picture, but neither do I condone what the Oakland Police, or the Pentagon, for that matter, do. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/nov/29/

            But I"m not sure I get your point. That it's OK, that we shouldn't care because the Oakland Police did "the same thing"? And eighteen people dead the day before the polls, after Kabila's Republican Guard fired live rounds into the ground is not the same thing. Obama would not be able to take office if he did something like that here, though he seems to have no political problem consequent to the Pentagon doing, or funding and organizing, much worse overseas.

  2. BOKELA

    Franck,

    You are very stupid and I mean it. What did Moreno has done to arrest Jean Bosco Ntaganda or Nkundabatware who are killing and raping Congolese people.
    Yes, Tshisekedi cal Congolese people to stand up for their right and it's a legal and just call for the acquisition of "True Freedom".

    Kagame, Jean Bosco Ntaganda and Nkundabatware are Rwandan Citizen who are commiting crime against humanity and at the same time doing business with USA, UK and France.

    You are nothing than a "DEVIL" .

    Reply
    1. One love

      Dear brother Bokela,
      U know better than that. Ntaganda and Nkunda are not Rwandan Citizen. Congolese Tutsi do have right to exist.
      One love

      Reply
  3. AfricaKing

    FRANKCK,

    You are a son of a bitch! Congolese did not vote for Kabila! These elections have been rigged in favor of Kabila. Congo has been invaded by the Rwandese ! Kabila and Paul Kagame should be arrested and taken to the ICC for crimes against humanity, they are using rape against women in Congo as a weapon to defeat the Congolese people!

    Congolese must stand up and fight for their country!

    Reply
  4. kASHIMAYI

    PEOPLE FROM DRC ARE STUPID ALWAYS AND CAN'T GO FAR BECOZ MOST OF THEM EVEN THOSE ONE LIVING IN AMERICA ,EUROPANEVER KNOWS WHAT IS THEIR RIGHT

    Reply
  5. Kashimayi

    Now look how Bushab sons and Mozito son killed. Why the same congolese can takes these delinquants boys in the aiplane for europa when they are under arrestation warn

    Reply
  6. hedwige

    wow wow wow ,,, the real congolese did not vote for kanambe,<alias kabila> no no no ,,,,every body in congo who has mind and love did not vote that carnival no way,,,kABILA IS NOT A REAL CONGOLESE IN BLOOD NO OR ORIGINAL NO,kanambe is a first idiot,uneducated president in all world of 21th century,none of congolese knows his school mattes,teachers,the name of his primary , seconadary,university ,school in congo no body knows that or his childhoods in congo, Kananme was a taxi driver in tanzania for a long of periods,then he went to his original country rwanda to practice a military army,then his mom was one of a girlfriend of ex president Laurent Kabila the real real congolese original. Hypolyte kanambe"s mom is tanzanian and his father was a rwandese, when EX Laurent Kabila prepared to take the power,,,,,needs soldats every where in tanzanian,ouganda,angola,rwanda so his ex girlfriend'S UNCLE brought Hypolite KAnambe <alias kabila> to the real congolese ex president Laurent to take him in congo kishasa ,then he came in kinshasa with ex Laurant Kabila to take off Mobutu'S REGIME as a soldat, like hypolyte was a rwandese soldat with all of killer minded so he killed the ex president Laurant Kabila with kagame and tanzto usania president complicity of their agreement to take over congo. we congolese we did open our eyes that time because of 32 yrs of dictator's mobutu, congolese people don't have experience of killings,kidnaps,rips.poisons,frauds,bloodshed,no we don't know that or like that at all, our congolese life are simple :schools, works.enjoyments,friendly,open minds,open to every body,welcome anybody ,,,so we are easy going people. Just when kanambe alias kabila brought his rwandese mentality in congo by killing congolese,rips,kidnaps,poisons,humans body exploitation,corruption,to divide congo state apart to rwanda,,,, much more going on and on up to now,,,,as the real congolese survived lots of bad things for 11yrs with kabila plus the 32 yrs of mobutu's dictator regime. now is our time ,,,,we are awake and stand up for our land ,our country,,,,,enough is enough. kabila has done a lots,massive of crimes ,kills,rips, 2 times fraud elections,kidnaps human been body exploitation,poisons,corruptions,for his good 11 yrs in power on congolese peoples,kids,women,men,parents,grandparents,civilians,educated congolese,student,we don't need him also we never needed him at all, is the time for him to face justice of crimes ,kabila must to face justice for all over 10.000.000 millions of congolese dead up to now. kabila must to face justice,,,,,,,how all of others leaders in this planet can see or digest this kanambe kabila's crimes peoples are watching its and others young kids in world reading on and on.this, crimes,,,,,,,how can they learn about human rights ?????or crimes are not good in how or who commit if are good or bad???? now you can not lie to the young kids for politica,human rights,protections,diseases,,,,,,,,etc,,,,kids knows more now truth to network,libraries,schools,church,any how the young kids knows much,,,,so please it crystal clear kabila must face the justice for his crimes,2 times frauds elections,human rights ,corruptions,,,,in congo …NO MORE KILLING IN CONGO ,WE DONT NEED HIM IN CONGO,MUST GO,.THE FIRST UNEDUCATED AND THE LAST PRESIDENT IN THE WORLD KABILA KANAMBE ORIGINAL FROM RWANDA,KABILA HAS KILLED MOST OF HIGHER EDUCATED MEMBERS IN CONGO,,,,,WHY BECAUSE HIM SELF DOES'T HAVE AN EDUCATION OR DEGREE..EVEN WHEN HE CAME TO CONGO COULDN'T SPEAK FRENCH OR OUR DIALECT LINGALA ,HOW COULD YOU LEAD A 3 BIGGER COUNTRY OF EUROPE AS CONGO????WITHOUT EDUCATION OR DEGREE,OR SPEAKING THE CONGOLESE NATIVE LANGUAGE COME ON PEOPLE….THAT A BIG SHAME FOR US ,,,WE ARE STANDING UP NOW ,ENOUGH IS ENOUGH IN CONGO,THE SWAHILI KANAMBE KABILA SPEAKS IS FROM TANZANIA IS NOT CONGOLESE SWAHILI NO COME ON…."THERE IS A LITTLE DIFFERENCE SWAHILI "KABILA MUST TO FACE JUSTICE NOW TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT THERE IS A JUSTICE IN THIS PLANET FOR EVERY BODY EVEN THERE IS NOT JUSTICE IN CONGO ,HUMAN RIGHTS APPLICABLE , PEOPLE HAVE TO SEE AND OTHERS LEADERS HAVE TO SEE AND FOLLOW THAT IS A JUSTICE FOR ALL ,EVEN THE INVESTORS SUPPORTING KANAMBE MUST KNOW ALL OF RICH MINERALS BELONGS TO THE REAL CONGOLESE.CONGO SHOULD ENJOY PEACE ,HUMAN RIGHTS,FREEDOM,WITHOUT BLOODSHED,BLOOD DIAMONDS,,,,,WE DONT NEEDS DANCING ANYMORE ,OR DISTRACTION LIFE NO,NO MORE WE NEED THE INVESTORS TO BRING US JOBS,SCHOOLS,HOSPITALS,FREEDOM AND TO RESPECT CONGOLESE CHOICE AS OUR VOICE PRESIDENT ETIENNE TCHISKEDI ,WE NEED OUR CONGO BACK TO US ,OUR NATIVE LAND,GOD GAVES US THAT LAND SO KABILA MUST GO FACE JUSTICE.THESE RICH MINERALS HAS BEEN THERE IN CONGO BEFORE KANAMBE KABILA WAS BORN IN RWANDA AND EVEN BEFORE HE CAME N CONGO,,,,MEANS FOR THE INVESTORS DO NOT HORRY ABOUT KABILA LIKE IS GOING TO FACE JUSTICE ,,,,,WE WILL STILL CONTINUA THE DEAL WITH THEM BECAUSE WE NEED JOBS,TO REBUILD CONGO FOR ALL OF 42 YRS OF CAOHS IN CONGO,,,,,WE DO HAVE ALOTS OF MINERAL THAT WE DONT EVEN KNOW ITS BY THE NAME,,,BIG COUNTRY AS CONGO NEED NEW DEVELOPMENTS, AND PEACE .CONGOLESE BLOOD HAS BEEN KANAMBE KABILA JUICES,MEATS,BREADS,TOILETS,HE CAN DO WHATEVER HEWANTS IN CONGO …COME PEOPLE WE ARE TIRED ,,,,,

    Reply
  7. Munga Ali Rashidi

    I would like to comment for those People who are writing bulshit here,,, Kabila is legitimate President of RDC,,, Why not bcz He speak Swahili,,Why u do not open your Eyes and just be blind To see how Rdc today emerge and contuining To developed ,, modern under the umbrella of Kabila Kabange?,,, Etienne Tchisekedi ,, what He did at the Mobutu Era,,,,they destroy the Economy of the Country ,, we Swahili were bitten,,and live under discrimination even killed at time of Mobutu Era . President Kabila ist our seviour,,,, our Hero,,,,we Swahili speaking People are very proud of him,,, may Allah protect him from His enemies. What Tchisekedi did for kongolaise People in the past? Nothing. If Kabila is Not a Kongolaise who else

    Reply

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