DRC: Neglected Congolese victims deserve justice now

August 9, 2011

DRC: Neglected Congolese victims deserve justice now

Even where prosecutions are successful court judgements are rarely enforced. Amnesty International was unable to identify a single case in which compensation had been paid by the government when it was held accountable by the courts for crimes under international law. Congolese people must be made aware of their legal rights and receive reparations.

In March 2011 Amnesty International visited prisons in Bukavu and Goma. Bukavu was built to house up to 350 prisoners but contained 1,207 inmates including 37 children under 18. Seven infants were also in prison with their mothers.

Goma Central Prison was built for 150 inmates but held 943. Prison conditions must greatly improve and routine escapes from detention must end.

A variety of justice reform projects are currently being carried out in the DRC but none of them are sufficiently comprehensive or well coordinated to address the inadequacies of the judicial system. An efficient coordination mechanism must be agreed among donors and the government.

Given the current weaknesses in international and national programmes as well as the under-funding of the DRC justice system, Amnesty International is calling on the Government, the United Nations, the European Union and other relevant donors to provide the necessary financial and technical support to ensure a comprehensive, long term justice strategy is developed.