US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley asked the Congolese foreign minister to deliver a message to President Joseph Kabila about the killing of two UN investigators: “Please ask Mr. Kabila what he did with my list.”
The list, which Haley told Kabila about when she met him in Kinshasa in October, is of verified names of individuals involved in the murders of Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp in March 2017, said the US mission to the United Nations.
Haley told Kabila “justice for their murders was a priority for the United States,” the US mission said.
Sharp, an American, and Catalan, a Swede, were killed in central DR Congo while carrying out independent investigations for a report to the UN Security Council. Their bodies were found in a shallow grave two weeks later.
Addressing Congolese Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu during a UN meeting on Monday, Haley said: “I gave (Kabila) a list and no action has been taken. That list is what we know needs to be looked at and it is a serious list in reference to the deaths of those two people.”
A UN inquiry found in August Sharp and Catalan were murdered by a group of Congolese, likely militia members from central Congo, but an absence of evidence “does not preclude the possibility others are involved.”
Government spokesman Lambert Mende said in December the authorities have not excluded the possibility of state agents being involved.
A trial of a dozen suspected Kamuina Nsapu militia members started in June but was suspended in October pending the arrival in DR Congo of four UN experts in November to assist with additional investigations.
The US Mission to the United Nations said: “To date no serious action has been taken by President Kabila or the DRC government to investigate and arrest those involved with the murders of Michael and Zaida.”
Okitundu said investigations were ongoing and there must be a fair trial. He reacted angrily to a suggestion by Human Rights Watch during the UN meeting – on the Congolese electoral process – that government was responsible.
“You have to make sure you have proper serious evidence before you can accuse government of murdering UN experts,” he said. “This is a serious accusation that can make your organisation lose credibility.”