World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN ‘Disappointed’ By Ruling In DR Congo Mass Rape Trial

New York, May 6 2014 1:00PM

UN Human Rights Office ‘Disappointed’ By Ruling In DR Congo Mass Rape Trial

Disappointed by the ruling of a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) military court which acquitted close to half of the 39 Congolese soldiers accused of mass rape in 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said today the decision fell short of the expectations of the numerous victims and confirmed the shortcoming of the country’s justice system.

Briefing reporters in Geneva, OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville said the Office was disappointed in the ruling by the Operational Military Court in North Kivu against the members of the DRC armed forces (FARDC) who were accused of rapes and other crimes committed two years ago in and around Minova, a town in the vast country’s restive east.

According to Mr. Colville, the Court condemned 26 FARDC members, including two for rape, one for murder and most of the rest on more “minor charges” such as looting and disobedience. Fourteen officers were acquitted, he said, adding the UN human rights workers on the ground were still carefully analyzing the judgment.

But in light of what is known so far, he said “the judiciary has not met the expectations of the numerous victims of rape who had fully participated in the trial.”

“The outcome of the trial confirms shortcomings in the administration of justice in the DRC,” as outlined in the recent report on progress and obstacles in the fight against impunity for sexual violence in the country issued by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC, he added.

He said there is no possibility for appeal, per the Operational Military Court rules of procedure, in contradiction of international standards as well as the Congolese Constitution, both of which guaranteed the right to appeal.

“The crimes perpetrated in Minova and its surroundings…were extremely serious and widespread,” said Mr. Colville, recalling that on 8 May 2013, OHCHR and the UN Mission in the country, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, issued a report on the incident, documenting 135 cases of sexual violence perpetrated by FARDC elements in and around the town of Minova as units had retreated from the front lines.

The report, which details victim and eyewitness accounts of mass rape, killings, arbitrary executions and other gross violations of human rights, also cites M23 rebels for committing atrocities. Yet, it notes that the serious rights violations committed by FARDC soldiers, in particular, were “perpetrated in a systematic manner and with extreme violence” and may constitute international crimes under human rights law, as well as crimes under Congolese criminal law.

“Those responsible for such crimes must know that they will be prosecuted,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement issued at the time, calling the sexual violence outlined in the report “horrifying” in scale and systematic nature.

The joint investigation attributes poor discipline among soldiers and officers, as well as improper training and inadequate vetting mechanisms for what happened.

The investigation also expresses serous concern about the failure of the Congolese army to protect civilians, which it says stems from a lack of vetting procedures which allowed former rebels to integrate into the national army without verification of the human rights records.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

World Grossly Ill-Prepared To Deal Ebola Outbreak

Leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries, along with Guinea at the frontlines of the battle against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa, urged the General Assembly today ensure the United Nations mounted a stronger, better coordinated response “to end this grave threat to our collective survival.”More>>

ALSO:

  • Save The Children - Save the Children Builds Its First Ebola Treatment Centre
  • Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Against ‘Militant Islam’

    29 September 2014 – From the podium of the General Assembly today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world of the grave threat he said it faced from militant Islam’s desire to dominate the planet, be they Sunni extremists or ... More>>

    Deputy PM of Syria Victims Of ISIL Brutality 'Waiting On Us To Act'

    As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant began carrying their slaughter in the Middle East, “they might have surprised many of the countries present here, but not…us,” the Deputy Prime Minister of Syria told the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring today that the time has come for the world to stand united and tackle the threat head-on.More>>

    Not A Single Child Untouched By Recent Gaza Conflict

    There is not a single child who has not been adversely affected by the recent conflict in Gaza, where children suffer from bedwetting, difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, a loss of appetite, and display more aggressive behaviour at school, an independent United Nations human rights expert said todayMore>>


    Ebola: UN Readies To Start Work As Death Toll Surpasses 3,000

    Ebola response: medical supplies, including protective equipment and essential medicine, are loaded onto trucks at the Lungi International Airport in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/Sulaiman Stephens More>>

    Syria/Iraq: Some 330,000 To Seek Refugee Status

    Asylum-seekers and economic migrants take to the seas, waiting out the dangerous journey in the boat's cramped cargo space. Photo: UNHCR/A. D'Amato More>>

    Guinean Journalists Killed Raising Awareness On Ebola

    The head of the United Nations agency mandated to defend press freedom today deplored the deaths of three journalists killed while reporting on an Ebola aid mission in south-eastern Guinea.>More>>
    Major Milestone In Search For Water On Distant Planets

    Astronomers have found water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet about four times bigger than Earth, in the constellation Cygnus about 124 light years - or nearly 729 trillion miles - from our home planet. In the quest to learn about planets beyond ... More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news