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

 

Cyclone Pam Drives Up Contraceptive Demand In Vanuatu

UNFPA Pacific, Port Vila, Vanuatu (March 31, 2015) - Katherine Silas grimaces but one is not entirely sure if it is in response to pain or merely the sight of the needle being used to implant the long-term contraceptive, jadelle, a week after Cyclone ... More>>

Palestine: Border Police Extremely Close When They Shot The US Activist

New testimony at final hearing in Tristan Anderson's trial indicates Border Police were extremely close when they shot the US activist in the head More>>

Palestine: Ni’lin Demonstrators Met With Violence

International Solidarity Movement On the 20th of March, during Ni’lin’s weekly Friday demonstration, Israeli occupation forces attacked protestors with about 20 rounds of tear gas canisters shot with the ‘venom’ tear gas launcher mounted on a military jeep ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Envoy Says Yemen On 'Rapid Downward Spiral'

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned today as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition. More>>


Continued International Support As Vanuatu Recovers

Damage seen on Saturday 14 March 2015 in Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam moved through the Archipelago. Photo: UNICEF Pacific More>>

UNICEF Rushes Emergency Supplies For Cyclone-Affected Tuvalu

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in Tuvalu as part of its efforts to assist communities in the Pacific region that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam, with nutrition and hygiene kits arriving today. More>>

Guinea Reports Highest Weekly Ebola Case Total This Year

Guinea reports highest weekly Ebola case total so far this year, new UN data shows More>>


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news