Week in Review: DR Congo, Tunisia, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire

Week in Review: DR Congo, Tunisia, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire©MONUSCO
MONUSCO force commander Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz with children in Pinga on December 13, 2013, 10 days after it was retaken from Sheka Ntaberi's forces
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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 was handed over to the authorities in Kinshasa, after surrendering to the UN mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) on July 26 and being held in Goma, capital of the troubled North Kivu province. American NGO Human Rights Watch said it hopes the Congolese authorities, with support from the UN, can guarantee Sheka’s security in prison so that he can be brought swiftly to justice in a “fair and credible trial”.

Mass graves in Mali

In Mali, the UN mission (MINUSMA) said on August 5 that it was investigating mass graves and accusations of numerous human rights violations by armed groups in the north of the country. Its investigators have established the presence in Kidal region of individual and mass graves, it said, but are not yet able to establish how many people are buried or the circumstances of death.

An agreement signed in May-June 2015 by the government and various armed groups was supposed to restore peace to northern Mali, but it has since been constantly violated.

Rape in Côte d’Ivoire

In Abidjan, Fanta Doumbia, president of the Côte d’Ivoire women’s organization OFACI, is calling for free psychological and medical care for women raped during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis. Providing such care would be a delicate task, she reminds people, since even some victims do not dare to talk openly about the crimes in question. Fanta Doumbia, whose organization has recorded 71 cases of rape during the post-election crisis, thinks this care should come ahead of any reparations programme as such. 

Silence of the perpetrators in Tunisia 

In Tunisia, the Truth and Dignity Commission is now half way through its public hearings. Despite criticism, this commission tasked with shedding light on nearly 60 years of human rights violations has succeeded in getting victims and witnesses to talk about sometimes terrible events. As JusticeInfo correspondent in Tunis Olfa Belhassine writes, such testimonies have often left Tunisians with a feeling of guilt and shame, despite the deafening silence of the perpetrators, who have not come to testify.