Annual Report: Democratic Republic Of The Congo 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Democratic Republic Of The Congo 2011

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After the attack on Mbandaka in April, the number of refugees in neighbouring Republic of Congo reached more than 114,000, with about 18,000 in the Central African Republic. About 33,000 people were internally displaced within Equateur province. In Province Orientale, the LRA attacks of December 2009 and February and March 2010 led to the displacement of over 300,000 people.

Between September and November, more than 6,000 Congolese citizens were expelled from Angola. According to humanitarian workers, more than 100 reported having been raped in Angola (see Angola entry).

Torture and other ill-treatment

Acts of torture and other ill-treatment were committed by armed groups and government security forces.

  • On 20 August, FARDC soldiers in Kasando, North Kivu, reportedly tortured five people, including two children, arrested after an attack on the MONUSCO base in Kirumba. They received between 40 and 120 lashes each, and some had their feet and hands burned and mutilated. They were transferred to the Military Prosecutor in Goma.

Death penalty

Military courts sentenced scores of people to death during the year, including civilians. No executions were reported. On 25 November, the National Assembly rejected the proposal to discuss a draft law on the abolition of death penalty.

Administration of justice

Lack of resources and political interference paralyzed courts throughout the country and led to strikes by magistrates in March in Kisangani and Kasai Oriental. Courts were overwhelmed with cases, resulting in excessive periods of pre-trial detention. Trials fell short of fair trial standards, judgements were seldom enforced and victims rarely received reparations. Military authorities and the government interfered in cases before the military and civilian justice system. Commanders in the field ignored arrest warrants issued by military prosecutors against members of their units, blocking the work of military justice authorities.

Scores of civilians were tried in front of military courts in breach of international fair trial standards. In October, the National Assembly started to discuss a draft law on implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which would require war crimes and crimes against humanity to be tried by civilian courts.

On 12 August, an FARDC company of former armed group members laid siege to the Military Prosecutor’s Office in Goma. They succeeded in forcing the release of a commander who had been arrested for refusing in July to redeploy his troops to the area in Walikale where mass rapes by armed groups took place a few weeks later.

Prison conditions

Prisons lacked the resources to meet international minimum standards. Prisoners were not guaranteed even one meal a day and had inadequate access to health care. Dozens died in prison as a result of the poor conditions, and many more died in hospital after undue delays in being transferred. Prison facilities were in a state of decay that impeded the effective separation of women from men, and of detainees from convicted prisoners. Cases of rape within prison and police detention facilities were reported.

Human rights defenders

Human rights defenders were attacked, abducted, and subjected to death threats and other forms of intimidation by government security forces and armed groups. Many defenders in North Kivu who spoke out against abusive army commanders were forced into hiding or to flee the region. Others were targeted because of their advocacy in individual human rights cases. The ANR, which was subject to no independent oversight or judicial control, violated the right to freedom of expression of human rights defenders and journalists.