Annual Report: Congo (Dem. Rep. of) 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Congo (Dem. Rep. of) 2010

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  • In September, Golden Misabiko, President of the NGO African Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Katanga province (ASADHO/Katanga), was sentenced in his absence to 12 months' imprisonment, with eight months' suspended, for "spreading false information likely to alarm or incite the population" after ASADHO/Katanga published a report alleging complicity by state officials in illegal mining at Shinkolobwe uranium mine.
  • Robert Ilunga, President of the Friends of Nelson Mandela (ANMDH) human rights NGO, was arrested by the intelligence services in Kinshasa in August. He was accused of "spreading false information" and "defamation" in relation to an ANMDH report that alleged mistreatment of workers at a factory in Kasangulu, Bas-Congo province. The report alleged that a "leading lady" was involved in the company, which the authorities believed referred to Olive Lembe, the wife of President Joseph Kabila. After nine days' incommunicado detention, Robert Ilunga was transferred to Kinshasa's central prison. He was granted provisional release by a Kinshasa court in October. No trial date was set.

Impunity

In July, the government announced a policy of "zero tolerance" for human rights violations committed by its forces. A number of soldiers and mainly junior officers were prosecuted by military field court in the Kivu provinces for human rights violations, including rape. The government, however, refused to surrender Bosco Ntaganda to the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he was wanted on war crimes charges. It also refused to suspend from duty, pending investigation and trial, other senior army officers suspected of serious human rights violations. Bosco Ntaganda and many of these officers had FARDC command roles in Kimia II. In March, a military court sentenced former militia leader Kyungu Mutanga, alias Gédéon, to death for war crimes, crimes against humanity, insurrection and "terrorism" committed in Katanga province between 2004 and 2006.

International justice

German authorities arrested Ignace Murwanashyaka, president of the FDLR, and his deputy, Straton Musoni, in November. The arrests, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the FDLR in eastern DRC, reportedly followed a year-long investigation and were the first arrests of senior political or military leaders for crimes committed in the Kivu provinces. Other leaders accused of war crimes and other serious human rights abuses in the DRC remained abroad, free from prosecution. They included Laurent Nkunda, ousted military head of the CNDP, held in Rwanda since January.

The trial before the ICC of Thomas Lubanga, charged with the war crimes of recruiting and using children under the age of 15 in hostilities, began in January. The trial had not concluded by the end of the year. The ICC trial of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui began in November. They had been jointly charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the recruitment and use of children aged under 15, murder, rape and sexual slavery. Charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against former DRC Vice-President Jean- Pierre Bemba Gombo, in ICC custody since July 2008, were confirmed in June 2009. His trial was expected to start in 2010.

Amnesty International visits/reports

Amnesty International delegates visited the country in March, July and October.