Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September 2014, 13:07 GMT

MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: October 2007

Publisher UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)
Publication Date 28 November 2007
Cite as UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: October 2007, 28 November 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/475001921a.html [accessed 30 September 2014]

Monthly Human Rights Assessment: October 2007

Human Rights Division / MONUC

28 nov. 07 – 15.47h

Summary: Germain Katanga, warlord and leader of the Force de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri (FRPI) militia was transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for trial; In Kisangani, Province Orientale, two military magistrates were subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by FARDC soldiers acting on the orders of the Commander of the 9th Military Region; The UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the DRC addressed the UN General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (third) Committee.1

In Katanga Province, an attempted prison break in Buluwo resulted in five deaths; The "Gédéon" trial continued before the Kipushi Military Tribunal, Katanga Province; MONUC and Congolese military justice officials conducted a second investigative mission into allegations of mass rape perpetrated in Lieke Lesole, Opala territory, Orientale Province; FARDC and PNC elements were responsible for a huge number of violations of the rights to life and physical integrity, including rape.

Main developments

1. On 30 September 2007, two military magistrates attached to the Office of the Military Prosecutor in Kisangani, Orientale Province, were subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by FARDC elements acting on the orders of the Commander of the 9th Military Region. The men were arrested at their residence located in the Makiso commune at around 5:00 p.m. by General Kifwa himself, accompanied by twenty members of his security detail.

They were undressed, severely beaten in the presence of members of their respective families and subsequently taken to the Katele military camp, almost naked and with their hands tied behind their backs where they were again subjected to severe beatings. On the morning of 1st October, they were further humiliated by being exposed during the weekly military parade presided over by General Kifwa. The victims were admitted to a local clinic in a serious condition.

2. In reaction to the above incident, all civilian and military magistrates operating in the city of Kisangani went on strike and subsequently, on 2 October 2007, addressed a memorandum to the President of the Republic in which they condemned the recurrent intrusion and interference in the independence of the judiciary by senior military commanders, in violation of the Congolese Constitution and international norms and standards as well as the use of torture, cruel , inhumane or degrading treatment by the Commander of the 9th Military Region.

The signatories to the memorandum also recommended that the perpetrator should be suspended, replaced and brought to justice, sine qua non condition for the end of the strike; the clarification of the type of relationship that should exist between the military leadership and the judiciary and an end to interference of high-ranking officers in the administration of justice. MONUC condemned the illegal arrest and mistreatment of the magistrates in a press release issued on 4 October 2007. MONUC also supported the demands expressed in the memorandum signed on 2 October by Magistrates of Kisangani; recommended that the Commander of the 9th Military Region and his subordinates should be immediately suspended and brought to justice; and urged the relevant authorities to take all necessary measures to guarantee the independence of the judiciary in the DRC.

3. Germain Katanga, leader of the Force de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri (FRPI) militia in Ituri, was transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the night of 16-17 October 2007 with the assistance of Congolese authorities. He is accused of having committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Ituri in 2002 and 2003. Germain Katanga was allegedly involved in many serious massacres committed in Ituri, including in Nyakunde in September 2002 where at least 1200 civilians were massacred by FRPI militiamen under his command.

Germain Katanga also allegedly directed many other massacres including those of Bunia, Komanda and Bogoro where hundreds of civilians were tortured, enslaved and killed. Germain Katanga was promoted to the rank of General in the FARDC on 10 January 2005, together with five other former warlords of Ituri, all accused of similar crimes. He was arrested on 11 March 2005 together with Thomas Lubanga and with three other leaders of the Lendu/Ngiti militias (Floribert Ndjabu, Goda Sukpa, Pitshou Iribi).

4. On 26 October 2007, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the DRC, Mr. Titinga Pacere, addressed the UN General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (third) Committee. He stated that the human rights situation in the DRC remained a matter of grave concern, characterized by arbitrary executions, rape, torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment perpetrated by the FARDC and the PNC as well as armed groups, in a climate of total impunity.

He deplored the fact that in North-Kivu, the ongoing clashes involving pro-Nkunda soldiers have been accompanied by serious human rights violations. He denounced the widespread problem of sexual violence, most specifically in North-Kivu, South-Kivu and Equateur Provinces. He called upon the authorities to give special priority to preventing and combating the prevailing climate of impunity. To this end, he called for the creation of an International Criminal Court or mixed Chambers specifically to deal with crimes in the DRC, and urged the government to adopt a "zero-tolerance" policy for perpetrators of serious human rights violations.

5. On 3 October 2007, a joint team composed of the MONUC/Kisangani and the Congolese military justice officials, the Administrator of Opala territory, UNPOL and Milobs conducted a second investigative mission into allegations of mass rape perpetrated in Lieke Lesole, Opala territory, Orientale Province, from 21 July-3 August, by a group of Mayi Mayi under the command of Col Thoms. The team interviewed 29 victims of rape, including 8 minors as well as 24 victims of ill-treatment and extortion. Mayi Mayi elements under the command of a certain Col Thoms were allegedly responsible for 114 cases of rape and other human rights violations committed in Lieke Lesole from 21 July to 3 August 2007.

6. In Katanga Province, on 15 October 2007, an attempted prison escape at the high security prison in Buluwo – 110 km north of Lubumbashi – resulted in five deaths, three inmates and two policemen, and injury to eleven persons, including prisoners, FARDC soldiers and policemen. Most of the inmates at Buluwo are military prisoners and have been sentenced to death, life in prison, other long prison terms or are political detainees. The mutiny was triggered by a decision taken by the Acting Deputy Director of the prison to provide the PNC and FARDC prison guards with food from the inmates' food supplies.

FARDC soldiers were responsible for at least ten cases of arbitrary execution as well as other human rights violations, particularly violations to the rights to physical integrity, liberty and security of persons throughout the DRC

7. On 30 September 2007, two civilians were allegedly arbitrarily executed by two FARDC corporals of the 24th Integrated Brigade, close to the Parking market- 49 km northeast of Beni, North-Kivu. According to reliable sources, the perpetrators had forced the men to carry their personal belongings and then shot them at point- blank range because they showed signs of fatigue before arriving at their destination. The same sources indicated that, in order to cover up their act, the two FARDC elements claimed that the men had been killed during an attack by a group of ADF/NALU (Ugandan rebels). The Office of the Military Prosecutor has already identified the perpetrators.

8. On 27 October 2007, a mother and her four children were shot dead by a FARDC soldier in Gbado, Commune of Maluku, Kinshasa. The alleged perpetrator later committed suicide. According to police sources, he frequently assumed the role of a policeman with the complicity of his brother, the Commander of the local police station. Earlier that day, he had reportedly had an altercation with a bandit. Apparently, in retaliation, he later went to the man's home and shot his wife and four children.

9. On 9 October 2007, in Cagala, territory of Walungu, South-Kivu Province, a civilian was allegedly shot dead by FARDC soldiers in his private residence. The victim's wife was also injured during the attack.

10. In Butembo, North-Kivu Province, armed men in military uniform believed to be FARDC soldiers were allegedly responsible for two cases of arbitrary execution. On the night of 20-21 October 2007, a woman was shot dead by an armed man in military uniform and on the night of 24-25 October 2007, a business man was shot dead in similar circumstances'. No one has yet been arrested in connection with the killings.

11. On the night 13-14 October 2007, the driver of the former Governor of North-Kivu Province was allegedly shot dead in Goma, North Kivu, by an armed man believed to be a soldier of the 14th Integrated Brigade. The victim's wife, a six-month pregnant lady, was also seriously injured during the attack. She was admitted to the local hospital in a critical condition.

12. In Gwoknyeri (27 km west of Mahagi, Ituri), in a local bar, thirteen civilians were threatened with death and one of them was shot on his right leg by a FARDC sergeant, on 29 October 2007. All victims were suspected of stealing his magazine. The perpetrator was later neutralized by the bar customers.

13. In Ituri, on 12 October 2007, a minor was allegedly raped by a FARDC soldier of the 1st Integrated Brigade in Ayforo – 45 km north of Aru. The alleged perpetrator is still at large.

14. In South-Kivu, on 29 September 2007, between the villages of Kasagi II and Mankulu, a woman was allegedly threatened with death and subsequently raped by a soldier of the 11th FARDC Brigade based in Shabunda.

15. In North-Katanga, on 9 October 2007, ninety-two civilians, including women, residents of the village of Kahese-80 km southwest of Manono- in the Collectivity of Kyofwe, Groupement of Mbayo- were subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as extortion by 25 FARDC soldiers of the 67th Brigade. The alleged perpetrators were on official mission to the area in order to arrest a number of men suspected to be Mayi-Mayi combatants. The victims have lodged a formal complaint with the Office of the Military Prosecutor in Kalemie.

16. In Province Orientale, on 27 September 2007, a civilian was arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained over a period of 12 days, and beaten up by six FARDC soldiers in Makangba – 48 km of Isiro.

17. On 9 October 2007, a truck driver was allegedly arrested, extorted and subjected to ill-treatment by a group of FARDC soldiers under the command of a Lieutenant in Ngote- 32 km west of Mahagi-, Ituri, on the grounds that he had refused to give a ride to the wife of one of the perpetrators.

18. In Kasaï oriental, on 6 October 2007, a civilian was allegedly extorted and subjected to ill-treatment by five FARDC soldiers in the Commune of La Muya, Mbuji Mayi. The victim was admitted to the local hospital.

19. In North-Katanga, on the night of 23 October, a woman was allegedly arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained with her two month-old baby in place of her husband by two FARDC soldiers of the 671st Battalion in Kafumbe – 90 km southeast of Manono-.

PNC elements were implicated in serious human rights violations during the month in review, in particular, violations of the rights to life and physical integrity, including torture and rape

20. On 27 October, a police officer shot dead a motorcycle taxi driver in Butembo, North Kivu Province during clashes with a group of taxi drivers who were passing with the body of a dead colleague on a police vehicle. Earlier that day, the discovery of the dead body of the motorcycle taxi driver in the Commune of Bulengera had resulted in a mass demonstration by the other taxi drivers which was dispersed by the PNC at around 11:00 a.m.

In reaction to the arbitrary execution of their colleague, the taxi drivers set fire to the PNC vehicle. They subsequently set up roadblocks on the main streets of the town, set fire to the house of the policeman who had killed their fellow taxi man and also to the PNC station in the Mususa Commune.

21. On 21 October 2007, two civilians were shot dead by a PNC officer in Mwene Ditu, Kasaï Oriental Province. The alleged perpetrator together with three other PNC officers met with resistance from local residents when they went to arrest a suspect. The PNC officer subsequently fired at the crowd killing two civilians. The alleged perpetrator went into hiding but his colleagues were arrested and transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor.

22. In Ituri, on 2 October 2007, a 90-year-old arson suspect was allegedly tortured to death by two policemen in the locality of Djupuyaka, Mokambo collectivity – southeast of Mahagi. Local sources indicated that the victim was wrongfully suspected of arson and was severely beaten during his arrest and transfer to Apala. On 12 October 2007, he succumbed to his injuries.

23. In Kasaï Oriental, on the night of 6-7 October 2007, two civilians, including a theft suspect and a PNC collaborator, were allegedly shot dead by a PNC officer in the village of Muhemba Nzewu, District of Kabinda – 80 km southeast of Mbuji Mayi. According to local sources, one of the victims resisted arrest on legal grounds as it was 11:00 pm, whereas the second victim, a PNC collaborator, was killed by accident as he was trying to neutralize the suspected thief. The PNC has opened an investigation into the case.

24. On 16 October 2007, an inmate sentenced to life imprisonment for libel against the Head of State, forgery and the use of forgery, and criminal conspiracy in Katanga Province was allegedly abducted and summarily executed, by the Groupe Mobile d'Intervention (GMI), in connection with the Buluwo Prison mutiny of 15-16 October 2007. Local sources revealed that the victim died as result of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The dead body was transferred to the mortuary of the General hospital in Likasi, Katanga Province.

25. In Equateur, on the night of 30 September 2007, two minors were allegedly raped by a FARDC soldier and a PNC element, in the locality of Yandongi, District of Mongala (540 km northeast of Mbandaka). According to victim's parents, the two minors were intercepted, taken to the nearby forest, threatened with death and subsequently raped.

26. In Maniema Province, on 6 August 2007, a minor, who was detained at the local PNC holding cell, was allegedly raped by the PNC Commander in Punia – 230 km northeast of Kindu. The Commander had relocated the victim to his private residence, reportedly on security grounds. The victim was threatened and subsequently raped by the PNC commander. The alleged perpetrator was arrested and detained at the local prison.

27. In Ituri, on 22 October 2007, a minor was allegedly raped by a PNC officer of the Groupe Mobile d'Intervention (GMI) in Bunia. The victim's father has lodged a complaint with the local PNC. The alleged perpetrator was arrested

28. In Kasaï Occidental, on the night of 23-24 October 2007, a minor was allegedly gang raped by two policemen, at the Kananga railway station. The victim was admitted to the local clinic whereas as one of the suspects was arrested and detained at the PIC (Police d' Investigation Criminelle) holding cell

29. In Kasaï Occidental, on 22 September 2007, a minor was allegedly raped by two policemen attached to the Katoka II PNC sub station, Kananga. The victim was intercepted, taken to one of the holding cells and alternately raped by the two policemen. The perpetrators are still at large.

30. In Kasaï Oriental, in the neighborhood of Bubanji, Commune of Diulu, Mbuji Mayi, a minor was allegedly repeatedly raped by a PNC officer attached to the mines Office, in connivance with his junior sisters, over a period of 72 days (since 4 August 2007). The alleged perpetrator and his accomplices were arrested and detained on 12 October 2007.

31. In Kasaï Occidental, on 24 October 2007, a woman was allegedly gang raped by four PNC officers in Mashala, Territory of Dibengue. The alleged perpetrators were arrested.

32. On 29 October 2007, a minor was allegedly intercepted and subsequently raped by a policeman in Bandundu Ville. The alleged perpetrator was caught in flagrante delicto by the victim's mother. He was later arrested and transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor. In an unrelated case, on 28 October 2007, a minor was allegedly victim of an attempted rape by a policeman in the locality of Bulungu, District of Kwilu – 200 km north of Kikwit, Bandundu Province. The alleged perpetrator was arrested and transferred to the local PNC headquarters.

33. In Katanga, on 24 October 2007, a fisherman was allegedly subjected to ill-treatment by two elements of the naval police in the locality of Kapolowe – 120 km northeast Kipushi. The victim was repeatedly beaten up and subsequently detained at the PNC sub-station in Kapolowe. He was later admitted to the local hospital in a critical condition. One of the two alleged perpetrators was arrested and detained.

34. In Kinshasa, eleven journalists were briefly arrested, detained and allegedly struck by PNC officers attached to the Funa PNC station in the Commune of Kalamu on 30 October. The victims were reportedly preparing to cover a meeting organized by members of the extra-parliamentary opposition scheduled for later that day. According to the local PNC, the meeting was "not authorized". The police officers allegedly confiscated the personal belongings of the journalists during their arrest.

Implication of other security services in Human Rights violations

35. On the night of 22-23 September 2007, in the neighborhood of Mikonga, Commune of Nsele, Kinshasa, a woman was allegedly shot dead and her husband injured by two men in Republican Guard uniforms. The assailants had attempted to extort the couple. The victim died on the spot whereas her husband was admitted to the local hospital.

36. On the night of 4-5 October 2007, a civilian was allegedly extorted and shot dead in his car, in presence of his wife, by two armed men wearing Republican Guard uniforms, in the neighbourhood of Binza, Commune of Ngaliema, Kinshasa.

37. On 2 October 2007, a civilian was allegedly arbitrarily arrested and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by two ANR elements in the village of Bishile – 45 km from Kongolo, Katanga Province, who accused him of facilitating prostitution. The victim was admitted to the local hospital in a critical condition.

38. In North-Katanga, on 19 October 2007, a journalist was allegedly arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained and severely beaten by 12 ANR agents in Kongolo – 350 km northeast of Kalemie-, causing injury to his right eye. The victim had gone to the ANR office to verify a report. He was admitted to the local hospital for treatment.

39. In Kasaï Oriental, on 12 October 2007, a civilian was allegedly arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained for four days in place of his son by the local ANR. The victim's son was suspected of embezzlement in a local company.

Members of armed groups have continued to commit human rights abuses on the populations of North and South Kivu

40. In North-Kivu, on the night of 28-29 October 2007, a civilian was killed, three others were injured by machete and a minor was abducted by Mayi-Mayi combatants commonly referred to as "Baraka Group" in the Groupement of Mwenye, territory of Lubero.

41. On 15 October 2007, two diamond traders were allegedly extorted and shot dead by two Mayi-Mayi combatants in the locality of Kikonde, territory of Fizi – 141 km south of Uvira-South Kivu Province.

42. Still in South-Kivu, on the night of 31 October-1 November 2007, three civilians were allegedly abducted and taken to an unknown destination and a local clinic was looted during an attack carried out by the FDLR in the village of Kabushwa/Katana – 42 km north of Bukavu.

Administration of Justice

43. During the month of October the trial of former Mayi Mayi leader, Kyungu Mutanga, alias "Gédéon" continued before the Kipushi Military Tribunal in Katanga Province. Several witnesses testified to the implication of Mayi Mayi elements under the command of Gédéon in armed attacks, murder, arbitrary executions, cannibalism, mutilation, rape and sexual slavery in the territory of Mitwaba in 2004.

Throughout the hearings, Gédéon categorically denied his involvement and claimed to have learned of the different accusations brought against him and his men for the first time in court. On 30 October the Prosecutor informed the Tribunal that 11 new persons, including Gédéon's wife, two children and bodyguards, were officially summoned to appear before the court.

44. On 6 October 2007, a former FNI militia member who was among the persons charged with the murder of two MONUC Military Observers in Mongbwalu in May 2003, and had escaped from the Bunia Prison on 13 January 2007, was captured by the PNC in Mongbwalu. He was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for war crimes by the Bunia Military Court on 19 February 2007. He was officially notified of his sentence by the Office of the Military Prosecutor in Bunia on 10 October. After the notification was delivered, his lawyer immediately filed a motion against the judgment, therefore effectively requesting a new trial for the accused. The new trial began on 23 October before the Bunia Military Tribunal.

45. In South-Kivu, on 27 October 2007, fifty-seven civilians, including 20 women, accused of practising witchcraft, were arbitrarily arrested in Luvungi – 58 km north of Uvira- illegally detained, subjected to ill-treatment and subsequently transferred to Lemera – 80 km north of Uvira- by elements of the FARDC 12th Integrated Brigade with the complicity of local traditional leaders. Local sources indicated that the 57 were detained under very inhumane conditions at the residence of the traditional leader (Mwami) of the Bafulero tribe to await tests aimed at determining if they were indeed involved in the practice of witchcraft.

All 57 detainees were released following the intervention of the UNHRO on 31st October and most of them were transported back to Luvungi. Comment: It's important to point out that Congolese Law does not recognise witchcraft as an offence and therefore the arrest of the 57 civilians was completely arbitrary. The Mwami's action is illegal and is punished under Art. 57 of the Penal Code.

46. In South-Kivu, two cases of mob justice were reported, respectively in Bukavu and Burhale, Territory of Walungu. In Bukavu, on the night of 29-30 October 2007, a civilian suspected of theft was lynched by the local population. In Burhale, another theft suspect was beaten to death by the local residents.

Prisons and other Detention Centres

47. On 1 October 2007, the inmates of Kindu Central Prison, Maniema Province, staged a violent protest against the appalling conditions at the detention facility. They prevented the rehabilitation work on a section of the prison and ransacked the Director's office. The protest was provoked by a fight between two military inmates and a civilian, resulting in injury to all three. The situation was brought under control in the afternoon following the intervention of the PNC Provincial Inspector, the Public Prosecutor as well as the Military Prosecutor. The three injured and another inmate who had been sick for over two weeks were taken to the Kindu General Hospital for treatment.

48. On 16 October 2007, a 64-year-old man died while in detention at the Office of the Military Prosecutor holding cell in Lodja, Kasaï Oriental Province. The victim had allegedly been arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained over a period of 14 days for receiving stolen goods. Despite his deteriorating health condition, the victim was not granted bail to go to the local clinic. In reaction to his death, the local population staged a violent demonstration which was subsequently dispersed by the PNC. The Office of the Public Prosecutor has opened an investigation into the case.

49. Mass escapes from prisons and holding cells in the DRC continued throughout the reporting period. Cases were registered in Equateur Province and in Ituri. In Gemena, ten inmates escaped from the local central prison on the night of 17-18 October 2007. During the night of 16-17 October 2007, a group of 14 inmates, charged with serious crimes, including rape, murder and armed robbery reportedly escaped from the Mahagi Central Prison. On the night of 21-22 October 2007, ten suspects escaped from the PNC holding cell in Thedeja – 21 km southeast of Mahagi-Ituri. In Equateur Province, between 16 and 22 October 2007, five inmates escaped from the Gbadolite Central Prison – 950 km north of Mbandaka.

50. On the night of 22-23, an inmate escaped form the Kalemie Central Prison in North Katanga Province. Still in North-Katanga, on 13 October 2007, two PNC officers charged with rape escaped from the FARDC (Inspection Judiciaire Militaire) holding cell in Kongolo. The guard on duty was arrested and detained.

51. In Province Orientale, during a visit of the Ministers of Justice and Human Rights, nine inmates of the Kisangani Central prison were granted conditional release (libération conditionnelle) for having served a quarter of their sentences and for good behaviour, in compliance with Articles 35 and 38 of the penal Code.

52. During the night of 3-4 October 2007, an inmate escaped from the PNC holding cell in Aru, Ituri. The two FARDC soldiers on duty were allegedly drunk. They went into hiding after the escape. In Ituri, on 9 October 2007, two inmates escaped from the Bunia Central Prison. In North-Katanga, during the night of 4-5 October 2007, three inmates escaped from the Kalemie central prison.


Endnotes:

1 Some of the incidents under investigation took place in August and September 2007.

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