MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: January 2008
|Publisher||UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)|
|Publication Date||3 March 2008|
|Cite as||UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: January 2008, 3 March 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47cff41d1a.html [accessed 31 August 2014]|
MONUC Human Rights Division
03 mar. 08 – 13.07h
Summary: At least 30 civilians were allegedly killed by CNDP elements in the vicinity of Kalonge, Masisi Territory, North-Kivu Province, between 16 and 20 January 2008;In Kinshasa, Ms Aimée Kabila Mulengela, Laurent Desiré Kabila's daughter was shot dead by two men – one wearing military uniform – at her residence; The Gédéon trial resumed before the Kipushi Military Tribunal, Katanga Province; In Bas-Congo, incidents between BDK members and PNC officers resulted in the death of six civilians and more than thirty injured; FARDC and PNC elements were responsible for a large number of violations of the rights to life and physical integrity, including rape.
1. Concordant information indicates that on 16 and 17 January 2008, in the vicinity of Kalonge, at least 30 persons were killed in several incidents by CNDP elements using firearms, machetes and hammers. The killings were planned and civilians were deliberately targeted. Based on testimony gathered so far, the likely motive for the killings is the fact that the victims had left a CNDP-held area to seek refuge in an area controlled by PARECO (Patriotes Résistants Congolais).
2. The United Nations Human Rights Office in the DRC (UNHRO) has conducted investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations committed by soldiers of the FARDC 13th Integrated Brigade following recent operations against dissident FRPI militiamen in Kamatsi, Territory of Irumu in Ituri. During a visit to Kagaba on 31 January 2008, UNHRO/Bunia confirmed six cases of enforced disappearance and one case of arbitrary execution.
The team also received reports of two cases of arbitrary execution (one of which allegedly involved the killing of five civilians) and a case of attempted arbitrary execution. The UNHRO encouraged the Office of the Military Prosecutor to conduct a formal judicial investigation.
3. Since December 2007, 79 detainees, including 31 children, have been transferred from Goma to the CPRK (Centre Pénitentiaire de Rééducation de Kinshasa). They were interrogated at the Military Intelligence HQ in Kinshasa. Most of these detainees are accused of spying, treason and fleeing before the enemy during battle.
In line with this case, on 29 January 2008, the UNHRO met with the FARDC Chief of Staff of Military Intelligence (ex-DEMIAP) in Kinshasa to discuss the detention and legal conditions of the 79 detainees and find a solution to their situation within the context of the Acte d'Engagement that was signed on 23 January 2008 at the end of the Goma Peace Conference. As there were discrepancies in the number of minors and civilians in the group, it was decided that a subsequent meeting would be held to determine their exact numbers in order to facilitate their eventual release.
4. In Katanga, on 15 January 2008, the Gédéon trial resumed before the Kipushi Military Tribunal. Ten victims from Mitwaba testified before the Tribunal. A new accused, who was implicated in the murder of the Dilenge traditional ruler, also appeared in court. On 29 January 2008, the Court heard the testimony of a man who claimed to have been abducted in 2005 by two of Gédéon's co-defendants.
He stated that during his abduction and forced recruitment into the Mayi Mayi group, he had witnessed a number of atrocities, including arbitrary executions, mutilation of corpses and cannibalism perpetrated by militiamen acting on the orders of the two men. In response, the two categorically denied any implication in those atrocities and claimed that the witness was indeed their commander.
The statements made by twelve victims at the previous hearing were also confronted with the declarations of the 25 co-defendants. The day's proceedings came to an abrupt end after one of the main accused claimed that he had fought against the Rwandans on behalf of the Government and that high-ranking Government officials had supplied weapons to the residents of Butumba village in 1998. The trial will resume on 5 February 2008.
5. Following allegations of serious human rights violations committed by lendu combatants of the FNI (Front Nationaliste Intégrationniste of Peter Karim) splinter group, under the command of Konzinziko Chabani Ekoli, on the night of 4-5 January 2008, in the localities of Lalo and Djurukidogo (70 km northwest of Bunia), on 12 January 2008, the UNHRO carried out an investigative mission in situ.
The team established that two children were burnt to death, the chief of the locality of Djurukidogo and a 15-year-old girl were abducted, two men were subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, nine villages were looted and burnt down and about 982 civilians sought refuge out of the affected localities.
6. On the night of 15 January 2008, Ms Aimée Kabila Mulengela, Laurent Desiré Kabila's daughter was shot dead by two men – one wearing military uniform – at her residence in Kinshasa. The assailants broke into her house and stole her computer, mobile phones and other valuables. It would be recalled that the UNHRO has been following the case of Ms Kabila since it initially found her illegally detained at Kin Mazière detention centre during a routine visit.
Ms Kabila was arrested on 30 December 2005, held there with no charge for 56 days and released upon UNHRO intervention. After her release, she went into hiding with her five other children, claiming that she was at risk of further human rights violations because of a dispute with the Kabila family. On 26 January 2008, the two alleged perpetrators were arrested.
7. In Maniema Province, on 6 January 2008, four human rights activists were allegedly threatened with death by the Administrateur du Territoire in Punia (230 km northeast of Kindu). The victims had denounced the massacre of 13 civilians perpetrated by RCD combatants in complicity with the then local administrative authorities, including the current Administrateur du Territoire, in 2002. The four victims went into hiding.
Implication of FARDC soldiers in human rights violations
8. In North-Kivu, on the night of 12-13 January 2008, a civilian (trader) was allegedly shot dead in presence of his second wife by armed men in military uniform in the neighborhood of Katindo. The UNHRO will follow the case.
9. In Equateur, on 14 January 2008, a three-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a FARDC soldier in Gemena (520 km northeast of Mbandaka). The alleged perpetrator broke into the residence of the victim, in the absence of her parents. The victim was admitted to the local hospital. The alleged perpetrator was arrested and detained in the Office of the Military Prosecutor holding cell.
10. Still in Equateur, on 13 December 2007, a five-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a FARDC Lieutenant in Gemena. The victim was intercepted on her way to the market, taken to the nearby bush, threatened with death and subsequently raped. The victim was admitted to the local hospital. The alleged perpetrator was arrested and detained in the Office of the Military Prosecutor holding cell.
11. In North Katanga, during the night of 7-8 January 2008, in the neighbourhood of Regeza Cité Kapulo in Kalemie, a civilian was intercepted by two FARDC soldiers who allegedly beat him with the butts of their A-47 rifles and extorted his mobile phone and 12,000 FC. The victim who was unable to identify the perpetrators will however lodge an official complaint to the Auditorat Militaire.
12. In Kasaï Oriental, on 13 January 2008, a civilian was allegedly subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by five FARDC soldiers in the commune of Kanshi, Mbuji Mayi. The victim had resisted extortion of his motorbike. The victim sustained serious injuries on mouth, left eye and lip.
13. In North-Kivu, on 8 January 2008, a woman was allegedly subjected to ill-treatment by a soldier attached to the Intelligence Office of the 8th Military Region in Butembo. The victim was undressed and threatened with death by the T2 Officer.
14. In Bandundu, on 4 January 2008, a woman was arbitrarily arrested in place of her son by a FARDC soldier attached to the Office of the Military Prosecutor. Another victim's son was allegedly beaten up by the alleged perpetrator. She allegedly paid the sum of 15,000 FC in exchange for her release.
15. In Ituri, from 3 to 10.January 2008, the President of the local civil society in the Territory of Mambassa, and also Coordinator of the local human rights association, was arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained at the FARDC T2 offices. He was allegedly undressed and repeatedly beaten up during his detention. The victim was accused of interfering with the functioning of the FARDC.
Implication of PNC elements in human rights violations
16. The UNHRO has received frequent reports of serious human rights violations committed by PNC elements while on missions to remote areas. On 23 January 2008, a civilian who was serving lunch to a group of police officers on mission in the village of Bulukutu – 600 km south-west of Mbandaka – 32 km of Boende – Equateur Province, was allegedly shot dead by one of the officers because he felt that the victim had given a larger serving to his colleagues. The alleged perpetrator was arrested but later released allegedly due to the absence of detention facilities in the locality.
17. Another case was reported on 28 January, in Bena-Leka, territory of Demba, Kasaï Occidental Province, where seven PNC elements subjected a civilian to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment because he had failed to comply with instructions issued by the local authorities to install hygienic facilities on his premises. The man was severely beaten, undressed and made to walk naked to the local ANR office.
The ANR chief provided him with clothes and then released him. Reliable sources indicated that the victim's wife and sister were also manhandled by the policemen. UNHRO/Kananga was able to contact the Provincial Minister in charge of the territorial administration who intervened to calm the situation in Bena-Leka.
18. On 23 January, a police officer allegedly raped a minor who was detained for theft in a private residence in the locality of Ekelewa, territory of Aru, Ituri.
19. A woman was allegedly raped by three police officers on 3 January at the PNC camp in Boende, Equateur Province. The victim was arrested at her home, transferred to the PNC camp, threatened with death and subsequently gang raped.
20. On 28 January, a Radio Okapi journalist was threatened by the Chief of the PIR (Police d'Intervention Rapide) in Goma, North Kivu while covering a story on the non-payment of police elements sent from Kinshasa for the Kivus Peace Conference.
21. In Province Orientale, on 28 December 2007, a civilian was allegedly arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained and later extorted and beaten up by seven PNC officers in the Territory of Dungu. The victim was released three days later by the local Judicial Police Officer.
22. In Kasaï Oriental, on 14 January 2008, a journalist was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by a group of PNC officers in the Neighbourhood of Masanka, Commune of Diulu. The victim was covering a Karate match. His camera and two mobile phones were also damaged. The victim sustained injuries on his right hear and his jaw.
23. In Northern Katanga, on the night of 17-18 January, a MONUC national security staff was arrested, severely beaten up, tied up and detained in police custody in Kalemie, North Katanga. Around 3:00 am, the victim was reportedly informed by the MONUC Kalemie security duty officer of an attack on the residence of a UNHCR staff. The victim informed Security that he was going to check the information as he lives in the vicinity.
On his way to the scene of the crime, he was able to see a group of men running away and he then proceeded to hide himself in a field for security reasons. He was later arrested as a suspect by PNC elements, who were patrolling the area. Although he identified himself as a MONUC security staff, he was severely beaten up, tied up and then detained in a police holding cell while his radio and personal cellular phone were taken from him.
The victim was released around 12:00 pm after a statement was taken from him. The victim was admitted to MONUC hospital where he received medical treatment. UNHRO/Kalemie was able to see traces of injuries on his body consistent with his allegations. UNHRO/Kalemie is closely following up on the case.
COMMENTS: PNC elements simply ignored the attempts by MONUC RSO and the Benin Battalion troops who arrived on the spot to ascertain that the victim was a MONUC staff. It should not be ruled out that the refusal of the PNC Commander to release the victim might be linked to the arrest and detention of the PNC Commander over theft charges on 25 August 2007.
24. In Kasai Oriental, the UNHRO registered on 10 January 2008 the case of a civilian who was allegedly subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by PNC guards during his detention in the PNC holding cell in the night of 27 December 2007. The victim later passed away.
25. In Maniema, the UNHRO heard of four civilians, including two minors who were subjected to torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatments as well as extortion by two PNC commanders and ten other PNC officers in Kindu on 22 September 2007. Following the incident, the victims were admitted to the local hospital for medical treatment. All of them have officially lodged a complaint against the two PNC commandants.
26. In Kasaï Occidental, a local partner NGO in Tshikapa reported to the UNHRO that during the night of 7 to 8 January 2008, a policeman attached to the Bakwa PNC sub-station (Territory of Tshikapa, 300 km south of Kananga) completely naked broke into a house wherein a woman was sleeping. The PNC officer undressed her, attempted to rape her but eventually failed as villagers intervened on time. He was later arrested.
27. Still in Kasaï Occidental, the UNHRO learnt from a partner NGO that on 8 January 2008, a woman was severely beaten by the Commander of the Kamako PNC sub-station (about 400 km south of Kananga). She was admitted to the local hospital. Her husband who asked the commandant to pay the medical treatment was threatened with arrest.
28. In Bandundu, according to a local source, on 22 December 2007, a PNC officer allegedly killed a civilian in Mpoko (Territory of Mushie, Plateau district, about 190km south-west of Bandundu) when shooting at the crowd who was demonstrating.
29. Still in Bandundu, a woman was subjected to severe ill-treatment by two PNC officers attached to the PNC sub-station in Makabayu (about 15 km of Kwamouth in the Plateau district) for not having paid a debt. Following the victim's official complaint, the PNC officers were arrested.
Implication of armed groups in human rights abuses
30. In North-Kivu, on 23 January 2008, two civilians were allegedly killed during a CNDP attack against PARECO positions in the village of Kisaki, Groupement of Ufamandu, Masisi territory.
31. On 24 January, the chief of Kilali village (Groupement of Bakano, Collectivity of Wanyanga, 35 km southwest of Walikale) was allegedly shot dead by the FDLR. Local sources indicated that the FDLR had accused him of providing information on their location to the FARDC 85th Brigade. Three of the alleged perpetrators were arrested.
32. Still in North-Kivu, on 27 January 2008, two girls were allegedly abducted, threatened with death and subsequently gang raped by elements of Lafontaine Mayi Mayi group in the locality of Kayali and Bunyatenge in the territory of Lubero. Both victims were admitted to the local hospital.
33. In Ituri, on 24 January 2008, during a joint monitoring visit to Lalo, the UNHRO met with three civilians who had sustained machete wounds during an attack by elements of a FNI (Front des Nationalistes et Intégrationnistes) splinter group, under the command of Konzinziko Chabani Ekoli, in the village of Ngbatsiba. The victims were admitted to the local hospital.
34. In South-Kivu, on 7 January 2008, a 68-year-old man was allegedly extorted and shot in his right leg by a FDRL combatant in the locality of Lemera. The victim was admitted to the local hospital.
35. In Province Orientale, during the reporting period, the LRA (Lord Resistance Army) intensified its operations in the Territory of Dungu. During a field mission to the Territory of Dungu, the UNHRO observed that over 20,000 civilians have sought refuge out of the territory as a result of continuous human rights abuses, including abductions, extortions, arbitrary arrests and looting perpetrated by LRA elements.
On the night of 15-16 December 2007, the Combonian monastery and hospital were systematically looted by LRA elements in the locality of Duru (90 km north of Dungu). On 29 December 2007, three fishermen were allegedly abducted and taken to an unknown destination by LRA elements in the locality of Madoro, Dungu Territory).
36. In North-Kivu, on 14 January 2008, a civilian was allegedly arrested by CNDP elements in Bunagana, Groupement of Jomba on the grounds that he was collaborating with the FDLR. Still in North-Kivu, on 4 January 2008, in Mabenga, north of Rutshuru two civilians were allegedly killed while four others were injured during an ambush set by FDLR elements.
37. On 6 and 7 January 2008, in the locality of Kisharu, UNPOL reported that armed men identified as FDLR elements reportedly pillaged civilian properties. During the incident, one civilian was allegedly killed whereas another was seriously injured.
38. In Ituri, in the night of 4 to 5 January 2008, militiamen belonging to a FNI splinter group attacked the villages of Lalo and Djurukidogo (Walendu Djatsi collectivity in Djugu Territory). They pillaged both villages and set them on fire. During the arson, two children resulted dead and a woman was seriously injured. The same group later continued to burn other villages in the area.
Administration of justice
39. In Ituri, on 28 January 2008, the Bunia Military Tribunal sentenced two FARDC soldiers to death and another to 10 years imprisonment for criminal conspiracy, extortion and violation of military instructions. They were also dismissed from the FARDC.
The same day, four PNC officers were sentenced to life imprisonment, 20, 10 and 2 years in prison respectively for murder, rape, murder and failure to assist in the investigation of a crime. The officers who were convicted of murder and rape were ordered to pay the sums of $50,000 and $5,000 US respectively, in damages.
40. In Bas-Congo, on 29 January 2008, the Boma Military Tribunal in Muanda sentenced a FARDC soldier to 10 years imprisonment for rape. He was also dismissed from the FARDC and ordered to pay the sum of 50.000 FC in damages. Still in Bas-Congo, on 31 January 2008, the Boma Military Tribunal in Muanda sentenced a police officer to 10 years in prison for rape and the Mbanza Ngungu Military Tribunal sentenced a soldier to 10 years imprisonment for rape and also ordered him to pay 44,200 FC and 3,000USD in judicial fees and damages respectively.
41. In Katanga, on 10 January 2008, the High Military Court in Lubumbashi confirmed the first-instance verdict in the appeal trial of Colonel Mwamba Mwamba. The defendant had been previously sentenced to the death penalty by the Military Court for the murder of the President Kabila's aunt, Espérance Mukalay Kabila, in June 2005. In addition, the High Military Court ordered the defendant to pay the amount of 36,280USD in damages to the family's victim and in solidum with the State.
The Public Prosecutor expressed his concern about this disproportionate compensation allocated to the presidential family considering that the victim had no heirs and her relationship with her husband had not been proven. Additionally, in comparison with high profile cases wherein crimes against humanity have been committed, victims never obtain more than 10,000 USD as a compensation for their suffering.
42. On the same date, in the case of three FARDC soldiers charged with desertion, the High Military Court ruling on the first-instance verdict decided to reduce their sentence from 6 to 4 years of imprisonment and to annul their dismissal from the army. The three Banyamulenge FARDC soldiers were posted in Kalemie had left their position in May 2004 due to a campaign led against Rwandans. By this second-instance ruling, the defendants who had already served more than half of their imprisonment may be released in June 2008 and able to reintegrate the army.
43. Still in Bas-Congo, on 30 January 2008, the hearing into the case of three Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) members, charged with aggravated assault, arbitrary arrest, torture, usurpation and the abduction of a civilian on 1 January 2008, took place before the Tshela Tribunal de Grande Instance (210 km northwest of Matadi). The arrest of the three BDK members by the PNC on 3 January was reportedly one of the factors that triggered the January 5 violent incident in the territory of Sekebanza during which six persons, including five BDK members and one ANR agent lost their lives. In his closing statement, the Prosecutor requested 15 years imprisonment for all the three accused, in conformity with art 67 para 2 of the Penal Code. The three accused did not have any lawyer present at the trial. The verdict will be pronounced on 7 February 2008.
44. Incidents of mob justice continue to be reported. Preliminary investigations revealed that on 30 January 2008, a demobilized soldier who was caught in the act of committing a robbery outside a nightclub in Kalemie, North Katanga, was allegedly beaten to death by security guards and local residents.
45. In North-Kivu, on 9 January 2008, a presidential ordonnance setting up an Operational Military Court in the province was passed. While the UNHRO acknowledges positively the purpose of fighting against the prevalent impunity, the office is concerned by the large territorial and material competency of this newly jurisdiction whereas no limits have been set for its ratione temporis competency.
Prisons and other Detention Centres
46. The UNHRO has obtained information on three prison escapes in Kikwit, Province of Bandundu, for the month of January 2008. On 29 January, ten inmates, including three charged with murder, escaped from the Bulungu prison (200 km north of Kikwit). The police officers who were on guard at the time of the escape were questioned by the local judicial authorities.
On the night of 27 January, two detainees escaped from the Kikwit Central Prison and on 22 January an inmate was shot dead outside the prison as he attempted to escape. None of the escapees have so far been captured. The dilapidated state of the prisons in Kikwit has been cited as the main cause of the escapes.
47. The UNHRO/Aru is very much concerned over the recurrent prison escape at the Aru Central Prison, in Ituri. On 10 January 2008, two inmates charged with murder and rape respectively, escaped the Aru Central Prison. It would be recalled that on 9 January 2008, six detainees had escaped from the same prison. UNHRO/Aru had made representation to the local judicial authorities.
48. In Northern Katanga, on 17 January 2008, the Director of the Kalemie Central Prison was briefly taken hostage by the inmates, in protest against the chronic food shortage in the prison. The inmates had not eaten for three days.