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

 

Peace Deal ‘first Step’ In Resolving South Sudan Crisis

Children at a protection of civilians site in Juba, South Sudan, run by the UN Mission, perform at a special cultural event in March 2015. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine More>>

Yemen: Killing Or Maiming An Average Of Eight Children A Day

Killing or maiming an average of eight children a day, ‘brutal’ Yemen conflict must end – UNICEF More>>

Changing Habits/behaviours Key To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by factors such as negative beliefs based on myths, misinformation. Fear of needles can be a factor for refusal. Photo: PAHO/WHO More>>

Burundi: Ban Condemns Assassination Of Senior Army Officer

Refugees from Burundi in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: OCHA/Naomi Frerotte United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the assassination Burundi’s former Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, who ... More>>

Deadly Industrial Explosions In Northern China

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries to scores of people as a result of deadly explosions in Tianjin, China. More>>

UN Urges Action To Tackle Deepening Refugee Crisis In Greece

A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell More>>

Probe Into Those Responsible For Chemical Weapons In Syria

The US Vessel Cape Ray, on which all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas were removed from Syria and safely destroyed as the ship sailed in international waters in 2014. Photo: US Dept. of Transportation More>>

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news