Democratic Republic of Congo


    ICC Prosecutor says Bemba acquittal based on false testimony
    05.07.18
    Stéphanie Maupas,correspondent in The Hague

    As the International Criminal Court (ICC) prepared to hold a hearing this July 5 in a second, witness tampering case against Congolese Senator Jean-Pierre Bemba and his co-accused, the Prosecutor says his acquittal in early June for crimes in the Central African Republic (CAR) was based partly on false testimonies. 48 hours before the witness tampering sentencing debates, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court filed a new deposition. Fatou Bensouda considers that witness tampering by the former Congolese vice-president had an impact on the acquittal decision of June 8. Whilst...

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    Jean-Pierre Bemba, former Congolese warlord and Kabila foe
    12.06.18
    AFP

    Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was provisionally freed Tuesday by the International Criminal Court following an acquittal last week, is a former warlord and adversary of Congolese President Joseph Kabila. His interim release relates to a case in which he was handed a one-year jail sentence and fined 300,000 euros ($350,000) in 2017 for bribing witnesses during his main war crimes trial. He is still awaiting sentencing on July 4 in a secondary trial which he lost on appeal. Bemba, a former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo however won his main war crimes trial on appeal in which he was previously convicted and sentenced to 18 years for rapes, killings and looting committed by...

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    ICC acquits warlord and former congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba
    08.06.18
    Jan HENNOP

    International war crimes judges Friday acquitted former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba on appeal, overturning an 18-year sentence for war crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR). "Mr Bemba cannot be held criminally liable for the crimes committed by his troops in the Central African Republic," presiding judge Christine Van den Wyngaert told the International Criminal Court in The Hague. "The Appeals Chamber in this instant reverses the conviction against Mr Bemba... and in relation to the remaining criminal acts it enters an acquittal," Van den Wyngaert...

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    Congolese court tries ex-militia leader for crimes against humanity
    16.04.18
    Claude Sengenya, special envoy to Kalehe, in the South Kivu province of eastern DRC

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a military tribunal has been sitting since Friday April 13, in Kalehe, South Kivu province, for the trial of a former militia leader accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Maro Ntumwa, known as “the Moroccan”, is charged with “rape, sexual slavery, looting, attacks against a civilian population and on religious buildings” committed between 2005 and 2007. At the time, the accused was the right-hand man of Bedi Mobuli Engengela, dubbed “Colonel 106”, a former leader of the Mai-Mai militia who has already been convicted by a military...

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    Week in Review: African dictators cling to power, as Tunisia protests austerity again
    14.01.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    On JusticeInfo.net, French jurist Didier Niewiadowski looks at what he calls “exception for insecurity”, a pretext used by African dictators to postpone elections indefinitely. The best example, he writes, is Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo who, according to Niewiadowski, is “using the exception for insecurity with cynicism and provocation”. “His mandate expired definitively on December 19, 2016,” the writer explains, “but despite mediation by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo and the accords of December 31, 2016, the presidential election did not take place in...

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    State agents, militia 'planned' DRC massacres: rights group
    20.12.17
    AFP

    Security forces and an army-backed militia planned massacres in an opposition stronghold in the Democratic Republic of Congo, human rights activists charged Wednesday, calling the killings "crimes against humanity". The southern Kasai region suffered "one of the worst human rights crises in the world" between March and July, the Paris-based International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) said in a report compiled with partner rights groups in the country. It includes heart-rending testimony such as that of a 27-year-old woman who described soldiers attacking her village and burning down...

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    UN says life terms for DRCongo child rapists a 'major advance'
    16.12.17
    AFP

    The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo Saturday hailed as a "major advance" life sentences served this week on a provincial lawmaker and ten militiamen convicted of raping young girls. The group were jailed for life on Wednesday in the east of the country for raping about 40 children, including a baby, in what was judged as a crime against humanity. The defendants were said to belong to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in Swahili -- led by South Kivu provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike. The "unprecedented trial and the ruling constitute a major advance in the fight against impunity for sexual violence," said Maman Sidikou, the head of...

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    Historic verdict in DRC child rape trial
    14.12.17
    Claude Sengenya in Kavumu, South Kivu province of eastern DRC

    It was a historic verdict pronounced on Wednesday December 13 by a military court in South Kivu, eastern DR Congo, in the trial of some 20 members of the Army of Jesus militia (Jeshi la Yesu in Swahili) accused of rape and murder. Local politician Frédéric Batumike, head of this militia, and 11 of his co-accused were sentenced to life in jail. Two others were sentenced to one year, while six were acquitted. Their trial concerned the rape of some 40 children aged 8 months to 12 years in Kavumu, South Kivu, between 2013 and 2016. The trial lasted 17 days, during which the prosecution and...

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    Dozen DR Congo child rapists handed life sentences
    13.12.17
    AFP

    A dozen militiamen in eastern DR Congo were jailed for life Wednesday for raping about 40 children, including a baby, in what was judged a crime against humanity. The defendants were said to belong to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in Swahili -- led by South Kivu provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike. The children, ranging from babies aged just eight months to a 12-year-old girl, were kidnapped and raped between 2013 and 2016. A large crowd gathered in the area before Batumike and the 11 others were convicted by the military tribunal and "sentenced...

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    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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