Democratic Republic of Congo


    Week in Review: DR Congo, Tunisia, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire
    07.08.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    In this week’s transitional justice review, a rebel leader wanted for crimes against humanity is handed over to the authorities in Kinshasa, civil society in Côte d’Ivoire calls for support to victims raped during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis, and a look at Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission half way through its public hearings. Rebel leader Sheka Ntabo Ntaberi had been under an arrest warrant from the Congolese authorities since January 2011, accused of crimes against humanity and committing with his militia mass rape in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On August 4, he...

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    DR Congo warlord accused of crimes against humanity surrenders
    26.07.17
    AFP

    Congolese rebel warlord Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, wanted for crimes against humanity including mass rape, surrendered to UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday. Sheka was arrested in Mutongo, in the country's North Kivu region by UN peacekeepers and was "transferred to Goma," the regional capital, his spokeswoman told AFP. The UN's peacekeeping mission in DR Congo MONUSCO said in a statement that Sheka handed himself in "in full awareness of the fact that he is wanted by the government... to stand trial for alleged crimes". Authorities issued the warrant for...

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    Illegal natural resource trade “fuelling” grave human rights crimes in Africa
    28.06.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Is there a link between illegal trafficking and so-called “international” crimes like genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes? That is not always the case, but the looting of natural resources sometimes gives armed groups the means to commit grave human rights abuses. Emmanuelle Marchand,  senior legal counsel to NGO Civitas Maxima, urges international criminal justice to pay more attention to organized crimes that could in some cases be categorized as “international” crimes. She explains in this interview with JusticeInfo.  Are there current situations in Africa where organized...

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    “Terminator” tells ICC he tried to help civilians in Congo
    19.06.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Former Congolese militiaman Bosco Ntaganda has been testifying in his own defence since June 14 before the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Ituri, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2002 and 2003, when he was second in command of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia. The Prosecution says his military campaign caused the deaths of some 60,000 people. But Ntaganda told the court he protected civilians. Ntaganda is trying to paint a rather romantic self-portrait. “I am not guilty of anything,” he told...

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    Rwanda genocide shaped me, Congolese ex-rebel Terminator tells war crimes judges
    14.06.17
    AFP

    A former Congolese rebel commander told war crimes judges Wednesday the "horrific events" he saw during Rwanda's 1994 genocide shaped him to vow to do everything he could to prevent "it happening again". Almost two years after his trial opened, Bosco Ntaganda took the stand for the first time expected to talk about events in 2002 and 2003, when his rebel forces rampaged through neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo's gold-rich Ituri province, murdering and raping civilians and plundering their possessions. Instead, the man once dubbed "The Terminator" told the International...

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    DRCongo 'Terminator' to tell judges 'he's a human being'
    13.06.17
    AFP

    Bosco Ntaganda will give a full account of his role as a Congolese rebel commander in 2002-03 when he takes the stand at the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, his lawyer has said. Almost two years after his trial opened, the man once dubbed "The Terminator" will take the stand to recall events in 2002 and 2003, when his rebel forces rampaged through the vast central African country's gold-rich Ituri province, murdering and raping civilians and plundering their possessions. "Mr Ntaganda will describe everything he did in the conflict. Step-by-step and day-by-day and give a full...

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    Will Congolese warlord tell ICC of Rwandan and Ugandan roles?
    29.05.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The trial of former militia leader Bosco Ntaganda resumed on May 29 at the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the Defence presenting its case. Ntaganda is charged with 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ituri, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in 2002 and 2003. Since the start of his trial in September 2015, the Prosecutor has called 71 witnesses to the stand. Now it is the turn of the Defence, which plans to call more than 100 witnesses, including Ntaganda himself. Bosco Ntaganda has decided to testify, but there are no signs that he will make a real...

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    DR Congo: Bodies of Two UN Experts Found
    31.03.17
    Human Rights Watch

    4 Congolese Still Missing Update March 28, 2017: The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, confirmed on March 28, 2017, that the bodies of Zaida Catalán, a Swede, and Michael Sharp, an American, were found by UN peacekeepers near Bunkonde in Kasai Central province on March 27. The two members of the UN Group of Experts on Congo had been reported missing, along with their Congolese interpreter, Betu Tshintela, a motorbike driver, Isaac Kabuayi, and two unidentified motorbike drivers, on March 12, while investigating large-scale human rights...

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    Week in Review: Focus on victims at the International Criminal Court
    27.03.17
    François Sergent (JusticeInfo.net)

    Reparations are one of the four pillars of transitional justice (along with truth, justice and the guarantee of non-repetition), and this week the International Criminal Court (ICC) ordered for the first time that some small individual compensation be given to victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). ICC judges decided that 297 direct victims of a 2003 massacre in a Congolese village should each get a “symbolic” 250 dollars. The judges also decided that convicted Congolese militiaman Germain Katanga, who was sentenced in 2014 to 12 years in jail for complicity in war crimes and...

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    ICC grants first individual reparations to victims
    24.03.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) decided on March 24 that victims of crimes committed by convicted Congolese  militiaman Germain Katanga will get both individual and collective reparations. This is the first time that the Court has awarded individual reparations. The 297 direct victims of Germain Katanga’s crimes will each receive just over 230 Euros. “This symbolic amount does not aim to compensate all the harm done,” said Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut during the March 24 hearing, but will provide some “relief” to the victims. They should also benefit from collective reparations...

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    Justice for victims at heart of ICC credibility, says Open Society
    23.03.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) is to decide on March 24 what reparations to grant victims of former Congolese militiaman Germain Katanga, whom it sentenced in 2014 to 12 years in jail for crimes against humanity. To date, the Court has handed down only one incomplete decision on reparations for victims in the case of another Congolese, Thomas Lubanga. Mariana Pena, legal advisor to the Open Society in The Hague, talked to JusticeInfo.net about the role of victims at the ICC. Mariana Pena, legal adviser to Open Society    JusticeInfo.net: How do you assess victim participation in...

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    ICC jails ex-Congo VP for bribing witnesses
    22.03.17
    AFP

    Judges on Wednesday sentenced former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba to a year in jail and fined him 300,000 euros for bribing witnesses during his war crimes trial in an unprecedented case before the International Criminal Court. "The chamber imposes on you an additional 12 months, one year, imprisonment," presiding judge Bertram Schmitt told Bemba, adding a "substantial fine" was necessary "to discourage this kind of behaviour". Prosecutors had asked for eight years for Bemba, who is already serving 18 years after being convicted of war crimes by his marauding troops, who...

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    ICC poised to make first awards to war crimes' victims
    22.03.17
    AFP

    Judges at the International Criminal Court may Friday award the tribunal's first monetary sums to victims of war crimes, with lawyers estimating some $16.4 million in damages were caused by a 2003 attack on a Congolese village. Friday's order for reparations for 304 victims of former Congolese warlord Germain Katanga is set to be a landmark step for the world's only permanent war crimes court. "Reparations should place the victim in a situation as close as possible to that before the crime was committed," Fidel Nsita Luvengika, the legal representative for victims, argued in a 2016...

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    Congo : The Challenges of the First Implementation of the ICC's Reparations Mandate
    31.01.17
    Kirsten J. Fisher, Ph.D.

    On 14 March 2012, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (Lubanga) was found guilty before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the war crime of conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15, and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This was the first conviction for the ICC and an important step in the international condemnation of the use of child soldiers. With this conviction came a sentence of 14 years in prison for Lubanga and the hope of justice for his victims – children as young as 11 who were forced to fight and die,...

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    Deal reached to end DRCongo political crisis
    01.01.17
    Bienvenu-Marie BAKUMANYA, AFP

    The government and opposition parties in the DR Congo on Saturday clinched a hard-won deal over President Joseph Kabila's fate, ending a political crisis that sparked months of deadly unrest. Under the terms of the deal, Kabila will stay until the "end of 2017" but a transition council will be established, headed by opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. In addition, a prime minister will be named from the opposition ranks. The talks were launched by the Roman Catholic Church to ward off violence as Kabila's second and final mandate ended on December 20 with no sign of him stepping...

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    Who's behind the massacres in Congo's Beni region?
    27.12.16
    Marc Jourdier, AFP

    The official explanation for a two-year wave of massacres in a restive corner of DR Congo centres on a shadowy rebel group accused of having ties to the global jihadist underground. But some basic details about the alleged killers of more than 700 victims -- the latest over the Christmas weekend -- haven't quite convinced observers and experts.  The truth, they say, is more complicated and may lead all the way to the halls of power in the vast, mineral-rich and chronically unstable central African nation.  UN experts, referring to the claimed jihadist links in past reports, have...

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    ICC convicts Congolese ex-vice president for witness tampering
    20.10.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    On October 19, the International Criminal Court (ICC) handed down its first judgment for offences against the administration of justice. Former Congolese Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba and four others were all found guilty. The sentence is not expected for several weeks. Unsmiling, badly shaven and holding a hand to his face, Jean-Pierre Bemba seemed overwhelmed.  The former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had not appeared before the Court since July, when he was sentenced to 18 years in jail for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central...

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    “Who can put a price on a lost youth?” asks Congolese child soldiers’ lawyer
    14.10.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) this week held its first ever hearings on reparations, for the victims of Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga. The former head of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) was found guilty of having used children under 15 to fight a war in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2002 and 2003. But more than four years after Lubanga’s sentencing to 14 years in jail, his victims are still waiting for reparations. Lawyer Luc Walleyn, defending the interests of ex-child soldiers, did not mince his words as he spoke of his clients’ “frustration”.  “The...

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    "How do you calculate a lost childhood?" ICC asks
    11.10.16
    AFP

    "How do you calculate a lost childhood?" That was the question Tuesday before war crimes judges trying to set the amount of landmark reparations to be paid to former Congolese child soldiers. After years of hearings, trials and appeals before the International Criminal Court (ICC), the victims of former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga are "tired of this battle," said lawyer Luc Walleyn. "There is some damage which cannot be calculated. How do you calculate a lost youth? What it is worth? A million, half a million, five thousand euros, a thousand euros?" Walleyn asked the tribunal based in...

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    Ex-child soldiers face lifetime of stigma in DR Congo, ICC hears
    11.10.16
    AFP

    Former child soldiers forced to fight in a brutal Congolese militia over a decade ago remain stigmatised, suicidal and live in constant fear, experts told an international court on Tuesday. The International Criminal Court, the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal, is holding two days of hearings to help determine its first ever reparations, which will go towards the victims of former warlord Thomas Lubanga. Lubanga was found guilty in 2012 of abducting children as young as 11 and press-ganging them into his Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) in the eastern Ituri region of the...

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