MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: December 2007
|Publisher||UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)|
|Publication Date||12 February 2008|
|Cite as||UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: December 2007, 12 February 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47b4516e1a.html [accessed 23 September 2014]|
Monthly Human Rights Assessment: December 2007
Human Rights Division / MONUC
12 feb. 08 – 14.35h
Summary: The UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the DRC concluded an eight-day official visit to the country; FARDC and PNC elements were allegedly responsible for at least 7 arbitrary executions of civilians as well as several violations of the right to physical integrity, including 12 cases of rape of minors; The UNHRO organized/participated in activities held throughout the DRC to commemorate Human Rights Day; In Katanga Province, the "Gédéon" trial continued before the Kipushi Military Tribunal and the Kilwa massacre appeal trial commenced before the High Military Court in Lubumbashi; 30 inmates escaped from the Kalemie Central Prison, in northern Katanga.
1. On 6 December 2007, the UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the DRC, Mr. Titinga Pacéré, concluded an eight-day visit to the country. During his stay in Kinshasa, he met with the Presidents of the National Assembly and the Senate, the Presiding Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Military Court, Government Ministers, including the newly appointed Minister of Justice and Human Rights, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, the diplomatic corps, MONUC, members of the Synergy against Sexual Violence, representatives of human rights NGOs and the civil society.
Mr. Titinga also carried out a three-day visit to Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu Province where he met with the Governor and other senior provincial authorities, the international community as well representatives of civil society. The Independent Expert called on all governmental, legislative and judicial authorities to commit themselves to preventing and combating the scourge of sexual violence and impunity. He is expected to present a report on the human rights situation in the DRC during the March 2008 session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
2. On 6 December 2007, the Kilwa massacre appeal trial commenced before the High Military Court conducting on-site hearings in Lubumbashi, Katanga Province. The two main accused, FARDC Colonel Adémar and Captain Sadiaka, appeared before the Court assisted by three defense lawyers. Neither of the other accused persons who were sentenced in absentia at the first instance trial, nor the two foreign employees of the multinational company Anvil Mining Company, appeared in court. The Anvil mining employees were represented by their lawyers who declared that their clients had already been acquitted and did not understand why they had been summoned.
In his response, the Prosecutor indicated that he had filed an appeal against the first degree verdict, and recalled that all parties must appear in court, in compliance with the Congolese Criminal Procedure Code. At a subsequent hearing, the lawyers for Anvil Mining argued that the appeal introduced by the Prosecutor was not general but was limited to the verdict pronounced in relation to crimes committed in Pweto by Col. Adémar and Captain Sadiaka. On 21 December, the Court turned down an appeal introduced by counsel on behalf of 144 victims ruling that the appeal introduced by the Prosecutor was not global but limited only to the life sentence that was handed down on the two main accused for voluntary homicide committed in Pweto. The Court also ruled that the cause for which the victims were claiming compensation had already ended with the acquittal of Anvil Mining and that the lawyers had not obtained proper powers of attorney from the victims, in accordance with the law.
3. On 4 December 2007, the Gédéon trial continued before the Kipushi Military Court. Gédéon's bodyguards testified during the day's hearing. Ten co-defendants appeared for the first time, including five charged with homicide praeter intentionnel (inflicting wounds and blows without the intention to kill) in connection with the death of a civilian in Mitwaba on 27 October 2007. A social worker informed the tribunal that 193 children who were formerly associated with Gédéon's armed group had undergone the DDR process at the Transit Centre in Mitwaba.
A long debate over the age of one of Gédéon's co-defendants who was registered as a minor in 2006 when Gédéon's forces surrendered to MONUC raised the issue of the ratione personae competence of the Tribunal to hear minors. On 11 December 2007, the Tribunal rejected the motion that was filed at the previous challenging its ratione personae competence to try a minor, stating that the objection should have been made before the commencement of the in-depth examination of evidence in the case. During the day's hearing, one of Gédéon's main co-defendants claimed to have been a member of Gédéon's armed group but had not met him before arriving in Kipushi. He confirmed Gédéon's alleged control over all the Mayi Mayi Brigades in the area and his practice of ordering his men to collect all the weapons captured from the FARDC. The trial was adjourned to 8 January 2008.
4. On 10 December 2007 the UNHRO participated in several activities that were held throughout the DRC to commemorate Human Rights Day. The activities organized in the provinces included forums, round-table discussions, debates, workshops, public marches and motorcades and involved the presence of human rights NGOs, local authorities, the members of Provincial Assemblies, MONUC and UN Agencies. In Kinshasa, the celebrations were held in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights under the high patronage of Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga.
There were messages from human rights NGOs which highlighted the main aspects of the human rights situation in the DRC. The messages of the UN Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights were read by the SRSG and Director of the United Nations Human Rights Office (UNHRO) respectively. The Minister of Justice and Human Rights also addressed the gathering and, at the end of his speech, officially launched the year-long sensitization campaign in the DRC. A local theatre group made presentations depicting the theme of this year's celebrations.
FARDC soldiers were responsible for at least 4 cases of arbitrary execution as well as other human rights violations, particularly violations of the right to physical integrity, including eight cases of rape, throughout the DRC
5. In Equateur, on 7 December 2007, a civilian died allegedly as a result of the injuries he sustained when he was severely beaten by two FARDC soldiers of the 10th Integrated Brigade in the village of Gbagata (8 km from Gemena). The victim was arrested on 30 November 2007, on the orders of the village chief following a heated argument. He was later detained at the PNC holding cell and subjected to ill treatment.
6. On 16 December 2007, a civilian was allegedly shot dead by an element of the 3rd Company of the FARDC 7th Brigade of the Land Forces of Maluku, on mission in the locality of Bolobo, Yumbi territory, Bandundu province. Sources indicated that the man was shot because he was unable to pay the 200 FC fine demanded by the FARDC soldier to cross an illegal check point. The perpetrator was reportedly arrested and transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor in Bandundu.
7. In Aru, Ituri, three armed men in uniform believed to be FARDC elements shot dead a motorcycle taxi driver on the night of 25-26 December. The shooting resulted in a demonstration organized by a group of taxi drivers the following morning. The FARDC fired shots in the air to disperse the demonstrators and reportedly looted a local shop during the ensuing confusion.
8. During the night of 24-25 December, a resident of Kalengera, territory of Rutshuru, North Kivu, was allegedly shot dead by elements of the 6th Brigade because he resisted their attempt to extort his radio.
9. On 1 December 2007, a civilian was shot dead by a FARDC soldier of the 11th Integrated Brigade in the locality of Nzibira – 75 km south of Bukavu, in the Territory of Walungu, South Kivu Province. Local sources indicated that the victim, a cold drinks vendor, had requested the FARDC soldier to pay for a bottle of beer that he had ordered. The latter got angry and subsequently shot the victim at point blank range.
10. On 19 December 2007, a civilian died after having been kicked several times in the lower abdomen by a FARDC Lieutenant and his escorts, in Lufunkwe – 7km southwest of Kalemie, North Katanga. The incident occurred after the officer ordered the victim to repay an outstanding debt. The perpetrator was arrested on the orders of the Military Prosecutor but his escorts are still at large.
11. In Bandundu Province, on 3 November 2007, a civilian was allegedly shot in the right leg by an officer of the FARDC intelligence service. (T2). Local sources indicated that the victim had condemned the acts of extortion perpetrated by the FARDC against the civilian population in the locality of Kahungula, Kasongolunda territory.
12. In North-Kivu, on 26 December 2007, a civilian resident of Cité of Mubi – 30 km of Walikale Centre – was allegedly shot in the foot by three soldiers of the 85th Brigade (Ex-Maï Maï) based in Kilambo. The victim had resisted extortion. Two of the alleged perpetrators were arrested by the Office of the Military Prosecutor.
13. During the reporting period, the UNHRO obtained information on five cases of rape, including that of three minors, perpetrated by men in FARDC uniform. One of the minors was raped in Kinshasa, on the night of 6-7 December 2007 by a group of men in FARDC uniform. She sustained serious injuries and was admitted to a local hospital. The second, a pupil in Ituri, was allegedly raped by a FARDC soldier of the 1st Battalion of the 1st Integrated Brigade in Kusu – 95 km northwest of Mahagi.
The alleged perpetrator was arrested by the police but FARDC soldiers later broke into the PNC holding hell and released him. The third case was recorded in the territory of Walungu, south Kivu Province, on 27 October 2007, where the victim was allegedly abducted at her home by a FARDC officer and repeatedly raped over a period of two days. The adult victims were raped by FARDC elements in Kasaï Oriental on 16 and 20 December respectively. The perpetrators were both arrested and transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor in Mbuji Mayi.
14. On 24 December 2007, four female employees of the Régies des Voies Aériennes (RVA) in Gbadodite, Equateur Province, were severely beaten by soldiers of the 101st FARDC Battalion as they conducted a sit-in on the Gbadolite Airport runway to protest against non-payment of airport taxes by a private airline.
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
15. On 19 December 2007, a 17-year-old boy suspected of theft in Goma, North Kivu province, died allegedly as a result of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted upon him by a senior police officer at the TZF police station, in the neighborhood of Birere. According to local sources, the victim had been arrested the previous day and detained at the local PNC holding cell but managed to escape.
He was recaptured by the police officer who proceeded to severely punish him. In reaction to the incident, local residents tried to burn down the police station demanding that the perpetrator be brought to justice. The officer was later arrested and transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor.
16. In Equateur, on 3 December 2007, a civilian was allegedly shot dead by armed men in PNC uniform in the neighborhood of Ikongowosa, Mbandaka. The assailants broke into his private residence, threatened him with death, extorted his valuables and shot him at point blank range. The victim's daughter was allegedly raped by one of the assailants.
17. In Kasaï Occidental, on 20 December 2007, a civilian was allegedly shot dead by a PNC Officer attached to the Robot Battalion, in the village of Ntambwe Kayembe, Groupement of Ntenda, Territory of Dibaya (110 km east of Kananga). The victim had gone to hand over a battery to the local PNC Commander. The alleged perpetrator went into hiding. Two policemen of the Battalion were later arrested and detained at the local PNC station.
18. In Kasaï Oriental, on 8 December 2007, an artisanal miner was allegedly extorted and shot in his right leg by a group of six PNC officers in the neighborhood of Kasamayi, Commune of Kanshi, Mbuji Mayi. Still in Mbuji Mayi, on 18 December 2007, a civilian was shot and wounded by an element of the mining police assigned to the MIBA in Mbuji Maji.
The incident occurred when a group of civilians, on their way to the Bakwa Cimuna cemetery, passed through the mining site. Without any warning, the alleged perpetrator shot at the group of people wounding the victim in the left foot. The victim was admitted to the local hospital.
19. In Bandundu, in the locality of Kukumbi, territory of Bulungu, a civilian suspected of raping a woman was allegedly seriously beaten up upon arrest by two police officers attached to the Lunungu Police Station. The victim was admitted to the Bungulu General Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
The alleged perpetrators claimed that the suspect had tried to escape. The PNC Provincial Inspectorate has reportedly begun an investigation into this case.
20. Men wearing the PNC uniform were responsible for eight cases of rape during the reporting period. Five of the victims were minors. Two girls, one of whom was 4 years old, were raped In Kasaï Occidental Province on 12 and 30 December respectively. The other three were raped on 14 December by three police officers from the Popokabaka police station in Bandundu Province. The men allegedly forced the three minors to carry goods that they had extorted from the local population before raping them.
21. A male nurse was allegedly arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained and subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by a judicial Police Officer (OPJ) attached to the Bena-Leka PNC station, the territory of Demba, from 18 to 21 December 2007. The victim had allegedly requested one of his patients, (believed to be a relative of the OPJ) to pay an outstanding medical bill. He was allegedly tied up, beaten and detained in a private holding cell. He was released after having allegedly paid $30.
22. In Kasaï Oriental, on 8 December 2007, a woman was subjected to ill-treatment by a PNC officer attached to the Kasa Vubu II PNC sub-station in the Commune of Dibindi, Mbuji Mayi. The victim was undressed and beaten up by the alleged perpetrator. She was later admitted to the local hospital in a critical condition.
23. A civilian was allegedly beaten up by a police officer in the neighborhood of Alunguli, in Kindu, Maniema Province, on 16 December 2007 after refusing to give him cigarettes. The victim was admitted to the local hospital.
24. In Kasai Oriental, on 16 December 2007, two civilians were allegedly struck by police officers acting on the orders of a judicial police officer. The policemen broke into the victims' residence looking for their father in connection with an outstanding debt but the latter was absent. In reaction, the policemen beat them with their rifles and belts. Both victims had visible marks of violence on the back and head consistent with their allegations.
25. In Kasaï Occidental, on 7 December 2007, a member of a local human rights NGO was allegedly subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by a senior police officer at Bena-Thsiadi police station, territory of Dimbelengue. The victim was reportedly carrying out a sensitization session on human rights when the officer ordered his immediate arrest and punishment.
The human rights activist was allegedly beaten up had his beard burnt and his clothes torn. He was later released after having paid a fine.
Members of armed groups have continued to commit human rights abuses on the populations of North-Kivu
26. On 7 December 2007, a family of five was killed by armed men believed to be PARECO combatants in the village of Munguli (6 km of Nyanzale). Two civilians were allegedly killed by the FDLR in the localities of Mighobwe (138 km south of Butembo) and Kanyabayonga (175km south of Butembo) on 2 and 9 December 2007, respectively.
27. Between 13 and 18 December 2007, four civilians (a couple and their two children) were shot dead during clashes between the CNDP (Conseil National pour la Défense du Peuple) and the PARECO (Patriotes Résistants Congolais) in the village of Kanyatsi (1 km of Ngungu). On 31 December 2007, two civilians were allegedly arbitrarily executed by CNDP elements in Kimoka. The same day, the Principal of the Mema High school near Bihambwe was allegedly arbitrarily executed by CNDP elements on the grounds he had refused to join the CNDP. In Kibati, Territory of Masisi, on 19 December 2007, a motorcyclist was allegedly abducted and taken to an unknown destination by CNDP elements.
28. On 15 December 2007, a woman was reportedly shot dead by Mayi Mayi combatants in Shasha, Bahunde Collectivité as they fled towards Bweremana. Forty huts were burnt down in the villages of Buhagazi and Ngingo in Shasha-Kirotche locality, Maisisi territory, on 15 December 2007, during a fight between Mayi Mayi and CNDP elements. Some local sources indicated that these acts were perpetrated by CNDP soldiers. Others sources held the Mayi Mayi combatants responsible.
29. On 20 December 2007, four women were allegedly arbitrary executed by FDLR combatants in the village of Kisharo – 27 km north of Kiwandja – Territory of Rutshuru. All victims were killed on the pretense that they had "eaten" the girlfriend of an FDLR combatant.
30. On 25 December 2007, a civilian resident of the village of Bukama, near Kyavisogho – southwest of Cantine – territory of Beni – was allegedly killed with machete by the Mayi Mayi from the Baraka group. The victim had resisted extortion of his livestock. The same sources indicated that several women were allegedly raped by the assailants.
31. In the southern part of Lubero territory, the security and human rights situation deteriorated during December 2007 allegedly due to the intensification of criminal activities by both FDLR combatants of the RUD (Ralliement pour l'Unité et la Démocratie) and Mayi Mayi combatants of the Lafontaine group.
Cases of arbitrary executions of civilians as well as of cruel and inhuman treatments and looting were reported on a daily basis, in particular in the villages of Miriki, Luofu – approximately 160 km south of Butembo – Mbughanyinywa, Kasingiti, Masika, Karambi, Kanyatsi and Mbingi. A priest was also reportedly summarily executed by FDLR combatants in Kayna – 150 km south of Butembo – on the night of 9-10 December 2007. Displacements of population were reported by the local authorities.
32. On 5 December 2007 Mayi Mayi elements carried out an attack on the village of Visiki – 63 km west of Beni – during which the Head of the local Red Cross was shot dead. CNDP elements allegedly pillaged the village of Bambu – 30 km north-west of Tongo in the territory of Rutshuru on the night of 5-6 December 2007. That same night FDLR combatants reportedly attacked the locality of Tongo, raped a young woman and pillaged the area.
33. On 11 December 2007, two women were allegedly gang raped by three Mayi Mayi combatants in the village of Mwamba (60 km southwest of Beni). On the night of 5-6 December 2007, a woman was allegedly raped by FDLR combatants in the locality of Tongo.
34. The UNHRO continues to document cases of human rights violations linked to the exploitation of natural resources. The most recent case was recorded on 1 December 2007 in Lemera – 80 km north-west of Uvira, South Kivu Province – where an artisanal miner was subjected to ill-treatment by two FARDC elements who extorted a precious stone he had just found.
The two FARDC soldiers from the 84th Battalion allegedly inflicted several blows to the victim's head and other parts of his upper body and left him for dead. He was subsequently carried to the local hospital in a state of coma. One of the alleged perpetrators has been arrested whereas his accomplice is still at large. Reliable sources have indicated that there are frequent conflicts over mining rights among civilian artisanal miners, traditional leaders and elements of the 84th Battalion of the 8th FARDC Brigade based in the area.
Administration of Justice
35. On 12 December 2007, the Beni Military Tribunal delivered its verdict in the case of the murder of a Belgian citizen committed at his home on the night of 14-15 February 2007. The Tribunal sentenced two FARDC officers and five civilians to death, four of whom, including an FARDC Captain, in absentia. The DRC State was ordered to pay in solidum with the FARDC officers $1,000.000 in damages to the family of the victim and $ 250,000 to the family of a guard who was also killed at that time.
The civilians were ordered to pay $10,000 each in damages. The main military accused was arrested on 11 October 2007in Goma and subsequently transferred to Beni Central Prison. The trial began on 26 October 2007.
36. In Maniema, on 12 December 2007, a FARDC soldier accused of raping a 10-year-old girl was sentenced to 15 years in prison, fined 100.000 FC and ordered to pay 5.000 USD in damages to the victim and 25.000 FC in judicial fees by the Kindu Military Tribunal.
37. Despite very clear provisions of the new laws on sexual violence and several commitments (Actes d'Engagement) signed by local authorities and law enforcement personnel, as part of the 16 days activism against sexual violence, to prevent and severely punish sexual violence, PNC officers continue to obstruct justice by encouraging out-of-court-settlements.
Other factors that seriously affect the fight against impunity are the many cases of interference in the administration of justice by senior FARDC officers who put pressure on Military Prosecutors to release or grant bail to FARDC elements accused of serious crimes or who categorically refuse to place their elements at the disposal of military justice officials when they are accused of committing serious crimes/human rights violations.
38. Local residents continue to resort to mob justice. In South-Kivu, on the night of 1-2 December 2007, a theft suspect was burnt to death by the local residents of the Commune of Ibanda, Bukavu. Two weeks earlier, a FARDC soldier of the Walungu-based 11th Integrated Brigade was lynched by the local residents. The victim was suspected of stealing a goat. The UNHRO is also concerned about the growing number of cases of mob justice committed against suspects of witchcraft practices in the provinces.
Prisons and other Detention Centres
39. On 16 December, thirty inmates, including three women, escaped from the Kalemie Central prison in northern Katanga. According to information obtained by the UNHRO, the inmates dug a hole in a wall that connects an abandoned kitchen to the women's cell and another in the prison wall. The jail break took place between 12:30-13:30 while the regular Sunday mass was in progress.
Thirteen of the escapees were serving sentences ranging from 3 to 15 years, one was sentenced to death and the remaining 17 were in pre-trial detention. One of the 30 was shot and captured by the prison guards. Local sources indicated that the FARDC guards were most probably implicated in the breakout. This mass escape is the latest in a series of escapes and attempted escapes that have been documented in Kalemie in 2007. The complicity of the military guards and the dilapidated state of the prison were the two main causes of this incident.
40. Apart from the mass escape at the Kalemie Central Prison, the UNHRO documented 12 other escapes from holding cells and prisons during the month of December. In North-Kivu, on the night of 1-2 December, a notorious criminal responsible for the death of 46 civilians during several attacks perpetrated in the province escaped from the GMI holding cell in Goma.
In Equateur, on the night of 6-7 December, four suspects escaped from the PNC holding cell in Mbandaka. On the evening of 19 December 2007, three inmates escaped from the Kananga Central Prison in Kasaï Occidental Province, allegedly in complicity with the PNC officer on duty. In Bandundu Province, on the night of 30-31 December, three suspects escaped from the PNC holding cell in Lukolela. In Ituri, during the reporting period a FARDC convict escaped from the Aru Central Prison.