Democratic Republic of the Congo: Treatment of members of the Army of Victory church and the Save the Congo movement by government authorities since the arrest and conviction of Pastor Kutino in May 2006
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa|
|Publication Date||25 March 2008|
|Citation / Document Symbol||COD102793.FE|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo: Treatment of members of the Army of Victory church and the Save the Congo movement by government authorities since the arrest and conviction of Pastor Kutino in May 2006, 25 March 2008, COD102793.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/49b92b4dc.html [accessed 28 March 2015]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Information on the treatment of members of the Army of Victory (Armée de la victoire) church since Pastor Kutino's arrest could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
On its website, the Army of Victory church describes itself as follows:
the main branch of the World Mission for Message of Life (Mission Mondiale Message de Vie), which brings together over 30,000 followers, supporting Archbishop KUTINO Fernando's vision with prayers and donations. He is assisted by a college of bishops and a team of deacons. The organization's headquarters is located at 72 rue Kanda-Kanda, in the Kasa-Vubu commune [administrative division]. (Armée de victoire n.d.)
Save the Congo (Sauvons le Congo) is a religious movement established by Fernando Kutino in 2003 (Sauvons le Congo n.d.; RSF 19 June 2003). Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) describes Save the Congo as [translation] "a political and religious movement" (ibid.).
Kutino was arrested in May 2006 for [AI English version] "incitement to hatred," and in June 2006, a military court sentenced him to 20 years in prison for [AI English version] "illegal possession of firearms, criminal conspiracy and attempted murder" (AI 4 July 2006; OMCT 20 June 2006; see also Le Phare 20 June 2006). Amnesty International (AI) stated that it was [AI English version] "an unfair and summary trial" and that Kutino's arrest and conviction appeared to be [AI English version] "politically motivated" (AI 2007). In a September 2007 article, Save the Congo stated that this case was appealed to the Gombe military court for review, but that meanwhile, Kutino was still in prison (Sauvons le Congo 24 Sept. 2007). In January 2008, Christian Today reported that Kutino was still in prison and that his trial had resumed on 12 December 2007, but that it was "being hampered by official obstruction and delays" (21 Jan. 2008). Christian Today is an online daily newspaper based in London that distributes religious news (Christian Today n.d.). According to an article in the daily newspaper Le Potentiel, the trial was still under way at the beginning of February 2008 (8 Feb. 2008).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Amnesty International (AI). 2007. "République démocratique du Congo". Amnesty International – Rapport 2007.
_____. 4 July 2006. "République démocratique du Congo : les actes de répression politique sont en augmentation." (AFR 62/014/2006)
Armée de victoire. N.d. "Armée de victoire."
Christian Today [London]. 21 January 2008. "Congolese Judge Detained after Releasing Human Rights Lawyer."
_____. N.d. "About Us."
Organisation mondiale contre la torture (OMCT). 20 June 2006. "Condanations des pasteurs Kutino Fernando et Bompere Mbo Timothée."
Le Phare [Kinshasa]. 20 June 2006. "Condamné à 20 ans de prison : Kuthino fait toujours peur."
Le Potentiel [Kinshasa]. 8 February 2008. Donatien Ngandu Mupompa. "Cour militaire de Kinshasa/Gombe : Le pasteur Kutino entendu sur la prévention d'association de malfaiteurs."
Reporters sans frontières (RSF). 19 June 2003. "Une radiotélévision confessionnelle réduite au silence."
Sauvons le Congo. 24 September 2007. "Affaire KUTINO: Refus délibéré de fixer la date d'audience par la Cour militaire de la Gombe."
_____. N.d. "Historique."
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: Le Comité des observateurs des droits de l'homme (CODHO) did not provide information within the time constraints of this Response.
Internet sites, including: AllAfrica.com, Amnesty International (AI), L'Avenir [Kinshasa], Belgium – Commissariat général aux réfugiés et aux apatrides, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net), Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme (FIDH), Freedom House, Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Crisis Group, jeuneafrique.com, Radio France internationale (RFI), United Nations (UN) Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), United States (US) Department of State.