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KILLINGS; GOR RESPONSE REF: KIGALI 454 1. (SBU) Ambassador on May 17 presented the Rwandan National Police Commissioner with a list of ten police shootings of "escaping" prisoners (garnered from local human rights group LIPROHDOR -- see reftel), asking for an explanation of the shootings. A majority of the cases involved the arrest of suspects accused of attacks on genocide survivors, witnesses, or gacaca judges. In the meeting the Commissioner, while admitting that such cases "reflect badly on us," stated that such suspects were "extremely dangerous" and ready at any moment to attack the police and either gain their freedom or injure or kill police officers. Officers often lacked proper restraint devices when dealing with such prisoners, he added. The Ambassador replied that the issue was proper control of crime suspects by the police -- did the RNP have proper procedures in place in handling suspects in custody, and did the RNP investigate its own personnel when such incidents occurred.

2. (SBU) The Commissioner replied in writing on May 23 with a detailed recitation of the events surrounding nine of the ten cases (the tenth case discussed in the report treated an earlier police shooting last November, rather than a February one in the same town in eastern Rwanda). The Commissioner confirmed the fatal shootings by the police in these incidents, each involving one to three suspects already in police custody who allegedly attempted to escape and were shot dead while doing so. In the Commissioner's reply, he noted that "all of the policemen involved" were "summoned for questioning," and that "investigations are underway to assess officers' responsibility under the law." He noted that Rwandan detention facilities were antiquated and inadequate. He stated that police officers lacked extensive training in the use of firearms, and that such a training program had begun. He said that efforts were underway to equip each police station with "enough hand cuffs" to properly secure suspects. His report finished with the observation that the suspects were "of extreme criminal character," and were "ready to die for their genocide ideology." The senior police officer who personally delivered the report to the Ambassador admitted that police officers appeared to have "exceeded their authority" in the shootings, and said the RNP leadership recognized the need for more training to prevent excessive use of force by the police. 3. (SBU) Ambassador in subsequent separate discussions on unrelated topics with National Security Advisor Emmanuel Ndahiro and Presidential Advisor Richard Sezibera, brought up the police

shootings, and discussed them in detail. Each reacted somberly, expressing surprise, concern, and a willingness to ask questions about the incidents within the Rwandan government. 4. (SBU) On May 27, the LDGL (Great Lakes Human Rights League), a prominent local human rights organization, presented a roundtable discussion, open to the public, on criminality in Rwanda, with presentations by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Ibuka (the principal survivors organization), a police representative of the Criminal Investigations Division, and LIPRODHOR. LIPRODHOR in its remarks raised generally the topic of police shootings (after the Minister had departed). Many members of the audience questioned the police representative on these reports of police shootings, which had begun to appear in the local Kinyarwanda press. The police representative asked the public to communicate directly with the RNP on these cases. (Note: LIPRODHOR told us May 14 told us several human rights organizations had planned to present its concerns to the GOR in the near future -- this meeting appears to have been that effort). 5. (SBU) Comment. However dangerous and diehard a genocide suspect may be, or how committed he may be to evading the police after attacking or killing a survivor, the fact remains that each of these individuals was already in police custody when the shooting occurred. In four of the ten cases, the alleged crimes of the suspects in custody did not involve genocide cases, but rather rape or murder -except for one man accused of stealing

electrical cable, a crime of particular frequency of late. Not all, then, were ready to die for "genocide ideology." As noted in reftel, many of these cases occurred in April, a particularly tense time, when the 1994 genocide is remembered, and emotions run high. 6. (SBU) Comment continued. That so many police officers felt compelled to use deadly force while taking prisoners to the toilet, or while interrogating them, or while transferring them to another cell, is difficult to credit. No government official admits to a conscious policy of shooting hardened criminals, but they do allude to the prisoners' viciousness with some regularity. There is no doubt the police need more training to improve the management of suspects in detention. The police is force is undersized and underfunded. The fact that the police responded promptly and comprehensively to the Embassy's approach is encouraging, and underlines RPN recognition of the need for enhanced professionalism and accountability. Post awaits the results of the continuing investigations by the police of their officers, and will continue to raise the matter with GOR officials. End comment. ARIETTI (Edited and reading.) reformatted by Andres for ease of