MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: May 2007
|Publisher||UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)|
|Publication Date||19 June 2007|
|Cite as||UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: May 2007, 19 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/46caec9fe.html [accessed 20 November 2017]|
Human Rights Division / MONUC
19 jun. 07 16.01h
Summary: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, paid a six-day working visit to the DRC; FDLR/RASTA rebels killed 17 villagers in South Kivu Province; Five civilians were arbitrarily executed by the 2nd Battalion of the Bravo Brigade in Rudehe-Katwiguru, North Kivu; FARDC and PNC elements were implicated in several violations of the rights to life, physical integrity, particularly rape, as well as the right to liberty and security of person ;
Furthermore, The UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Leandro Despouy, presented a preliminary report on his visit to the DRC to the Human Rights Council; 252 inmates of the Kinshasa Central Prison (CPRK) were granted conditional release; The Kilwa massacre trial resumed before the Military Court in Lubumbashi, Katanga Province, following a suspension of several months; The Boma Military Tribunal (Bas-Congo Province) delivered its verdict in the case of seven members of the politico-religious group Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK).
1. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, paid a six-day working visit (from 13-19 May 2007) to the DRC, as part of a three-country trip to the Great Lakes Region aimed at reaffirming the centrality of protecting and promoting human rights in national reconciliation and sustainable reconstruction. In Kinshasa, she met with President Kabila, the Ministers of Defense, Justice, Human Rights and Foreign Affairs, the President of the National Assembly as well as the Presidents of the Permanent Commissions of the National Assembly.
During her meetings, the High Commissioner stressed the need to combat the culture of impunity and reminded the authorities of their obligation to refuse to grant amnesty to persons known to have committed serious human rights violations. She also encouraged the authorities to introduce a vetting process within the security forces to ensure that officers suspected of committing, condoning or ordering the commission of human rights violations be suspended from their posts and brought to justice.
She presented and received the full support of President Kabila for the mapping exercise that is aimed at carrying out an inventory of all gross human rights and international humanitarian law violations perpetrated in the DRC between 1993 and 2003. The High Commissioner urged the Parliament to pass the laws establishing an Independent National Human Rights Commission and the implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
She also stressed the need to pass laws creating the Constitutional Court, the Conseil d'Etat, Cour de Cassation and particularly the Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature, as provided for in the constitution. During her stay in Kinshasa, she also expressed concern at the overcrowded state of prisons and called on the authorities to explore alternative solutions to detention, particularly the extremely large number of persons in pre-trial detention.
2. The High Commissioner visited Kisangani, Bunia and Goma in the eastern part of the DRC from 16-19 May. She called upon provincial government authorities to commit themselves to preventing and combating impunity and sexual violence. She deplored the dysfunctional state of the criminal justice system, a contributing factor to impunity, and the lack of a protection mechanism for victims, more specifically for victims of sexual violence.
In Kisangani, she visited the wing for victims of sexual violence at the General Hospital and the Centre for medical and psycho social assistance to the victims of sexual violence, both of which are sponsored by UNFPA. In Goma, she officially launched the Canadian Project (aimed at providing medical, legal and psycho-social assistance to the victims of sexual violence in the provinces of North and South Kivu) on 18 May.
3. During the night of 26-27 May 2007, a massacre was allegedly perpetrated by FDLR/Rasta (Rwandan Hutu rebels) in the villages of Nyalubuze, Muhungu and Chihamba, located in the Kanyola Groupement in the territory of Walungu, South Kivu Province. According to a reliable source, 17 persons, including women and children, were killed in their beds with machetes, axes, bayonets and sticks.
Thirteen persons were killed in Nyabuluze, three in Muhungu and one in Chihamba where a MONUC patrol surprised the assailants. Twenty-four villagers were injured. Twelve persons were allegedly abducted and taken into the Mugaba forest. The assailants reportedly left letters addressed to the Administrator of Walungu territory stating that the attack was in reprisal for joint MONUC-FARDC military operations conducted against them recently.
4. On 17 May 2007, five civilians were allegedly arbitrarily executed by FARDC soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the "mixed' Bravo Brigade in Rudehe, Rutshuru territory, North Kivu Province. According to reliable sources, the perpetrators were conducting a patrol when they came upon a group of persons in a field preparing a local alcoholic drink.
The soldiers reportedly accused them of being their enemies (insinuating that they were FDLR collaborators) and then shot them to death. An earlier report and an eyewitness testimony had indicated that there had been between four to eight victims and that the perpetrators were FDLR rebels. Investigations are ongoing.
5. The Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mr. Leandro Despouy, has presented a preliminary report on the visit he made to the DRC from 15-21 April 2007, to the Human Rights Council. He recommended that the Government make the building of a strong, independent and efficient justice system one of its main priorities and should consequently significantly increase the percentage of the national budget that is allocated to the Ministry of Justice.
He further recommended that the reconstruction of the judiciary should be achieved through the reinforcement of the civilian justice system, which should be the only jurisdiction competent to judge civilians as well as military and police personnel accused of committing human rights violations. Military jurisdictions should be gradually limited to hearing cases of a purely military nature.
In order to reduce the overpopulation currently observed in all prisons in the DRC, the Special Rapporteur suggested that the law should fix a maximum period for pre-trial detention, in particular for infractions/offences that carry a maximum penalty of less than five years.
He also proposed that the DRC should embark on joint work with the international community aimed at bringing to justice persons accused of having committed serious human rights violations and suggested that the use of mixed chambers, comprised of national and international judges, could be considered.
6. On 29 May, the Boma Military Tribunal (Bas-Congo Province) delivered its verdict in the case of seven members of the politico-religious group Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) charged with rebellion, participating in an insurrectionary movement, murder, criminal conspiracy and theft at the end of on-site hearings (chambres foraines) in Muanda. Two of the accused persons were acquitted; four were sentenced to three years in prison and the other to five years.
The Tribunal did not refer to the objections that had been raised at the last hearing in connection to the competence of the tribunal to try civilians. Under Article 156 of the Congolese constitution, military jurisdictions are authorized to hear cases involving members of the Armed Forces and the National Police only. The seven BDK members were arrested in the aftermath of the January 31-1st February 2007 clashes between BDK members and FARDC/PNC in different parts of Bas-Congo. The defence lawyers have appealed the decision.
7. On 14 May 2007, the Kilwa massacre trial resumed before the Military Court in Lubumbashi, Katanga Province, following a suspension of almost four months. The former Commander of the FARDC 62nd Brigade and eight other officers and junior officers are accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, murder, pillaging during and in the aftermath of a counter-offensive they launched on 14 October 2004 against members of a secessionist movement who had occupied the town of Kilwa, located in the territory of Pweto 350 km north-east of Lubumbashi.
At least 73 persons were allegedly killed during the operations. Three foreign employees of the Australian mining company, Anvil Mining, have also been charged with complicity in the commission of war crimes. The Court conducted on-site hearings in Kilwa and Pweto from 23 May to question victims from the above-mentioned areas.
8. On 31 May 2007, in Mbuji Mayi, Kasaï Oriental Province, an extraordinary session of the General Assembly of the provincial branch of the Union de la Presse du Congo (UNPC) was violently dispersed by the PNC. According to reliable sources, the journalists were meeting at a local bar to decide on the replacement of the President of that association whom they accused of misappropriation of funds, as well as connivance with the national intelligence agency (ANR) and other local authorities.
A group of policemen, allegedly sent by the Governor, disrupted the meeting and ordered the members to vacate the bar. The members refused because, according to them, they had duly informed the local authorities of the meeting. The police commander then ordered his men to forcefully remove the members. In the ensuing confusion, several journalists were beaten and manhandled by the police. One journalist was severely struck on the head and had to be admitted to a local hospital. Others lost mobile phones, cameras and dictaphones.
9. On 14 May 2007, 252 inmates of the Kinshasa Central Prison (CPRK) were granted conditional release (libération conditionnelle) for having served a quarter of their sentences and for good behaviour. This measure is in accordance with Congolese law (Article 35 and Article 38 of the Penal Code) and is applied in all prisons in the DRC. The Justice Minister was present at the prison and addressed the beneficiaries.
He exhorted them to be law-abiding citizens when they returned to society. This release took place on the eve of the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the CPRK, the largest prison in the DRC, designed and constructed during the colonial period with a maximum capacity of 1,500 inmates. There are currently almost 4,000 inmates.
FARDC soldiers were responsible for many human rights violations, particularly, violations of the right to life, physical integrity and the right to liberty and security of person throughout the DRC
10. Soldiers of the 23rd Battalion of the 2nd Integrated Brigade in Butembo, North Kivu Province, continue to be implicated in serious human rights violations, including violations of the right to life. On 11 May, in Masoya 45 Km north-west of Butembo-, a man and a woman were allegedly killed by a FARDC soldier of the 23rd Battalion.
11. On 2 May 2007, a male resident of Rubare-centre territory of Rutshuru, North Kivu Province of Hutu origin, was allegedly shot dead by soldiers of a battalion of Bravo Brigade based in that village. The Battalion commander has reportedly stated that his men had met the victim in the company of FDLR combatants in the Virunga National Park and subsequently shot him.
12. On 27 May 2007, a civilian was beaten to death and a second seriously injured by soldiers of the 23rd FARDC Battalion of the 2nd Integrated Brigade based in Bulambo-Isale 70 km southeast of Beni.
13. On 25 May, two fishermen drowned in Lake Albert in Ramogi 77 km southeast of Mahagi-Ituri. They were allegedly forced to fish during the night by an officer of the Naval Force. The fishermen came across a Naval Force patrol boat from Mahagi Port and jumped from their boat. One fisherman survived and two died. The officer involved in the case was arrested.
14. On 2 May, a Corporal from the 6th Integrated Brigade allegedly arbitrarily executed a male nurse in Songomoya, located along the shores of Lake Albert, in Ituru. The alleged perpetrator has been arrested by the Office of the Military Prosecutor.
15. On 15 May 2007, FARDC soldiers of the 6th Integrated Brigade based in Jiba, Ituri, allegedly looted several houses in their way to Bule. Four women were also allegedly raped during the attack. The same source indicated that the perpetrators forced some villagers to carry their spoils and that ten of them were missing. The ten persons returned to the village some days later. Two soldiers have been arrested by the Office of the Military Prosecutor in connection with one of the rape cases.
16. During the month of April 2007, elements of the FARDC 6th Integrated Brigade based in Jiba 60 km northeast of Bunia, Ituri were responsible for 14 cases of rape and several cases of ill-treatment of the local population.
17. On 1 May 2007, in Kingalasa 15 km northeast of Muanda, Bas-Congo Province two young female vendors, aged 12 and 13 respectively, were allegedly raped by a FARDC soldier of the Defense-Baki Battalion. According to local sources, during the evening of 1 May, the FARDC soldier, pretending to buy foodstuff, delayed the girls till it was late and took them to the FARDC post, telling them that it was for their safety. Later that night, he bound the girls' hands and raped them. The perpetrator was arrested and transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor.
18. On 22 May 2007, two FARDC soldiers of the 8th Brigade based in Fataki abducted a woman during the night and took her to their camp. One of the soldiers allegedly raped her repeatedly and released her the following day.
19. An FARDC officer attached to border security (Département de la Sécurité des Frontières) allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl in Mahagi, Ituri. Reliable information indicates that the victim subsequently became pregnant. The perpetrator allegedly rented a room from the victim's father for several months during which time he sexually assaulted her.
20. A member of the political party UDPS (Union for Democracy and Social Progress) in Bukavu claimed to have been arrested and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by soldiers of the Republican Guard on 17 May 2007 because of remarks he made about the 17 May celebrations in Kinshasa in the presence of a soldier of the Republican Guard in civilian clothes.
The victim was allegedly thrown into a pick-up truck where he was kicked and beaten with rifle butts by about twelve Republican Guard soldiers in uniform and subsequently taken to the home of a RG officer. He claimed that he was again beaten when the officer realized that he was from Kasaï Oriental Province and then placed in a holding cell in a RG camp.
He was undressed, made to lie on the ground and was severely beaten with an iron bar, sticks and rifle butts. He also claimed to have been extorted of his money. He was allegedly interrogated for four hours and released on 18 May by the RG Battalion Commander who threatened to kill him if he said anything to human rights NGOs or Radio Okapi.
21. A demobilized soldier claimed to have been arrested at an illegal check point by FARDC soldiers on 5 May 2007 and later beaten with a stick on his back and injured on his left little finger in Ndolera 73 Km north-west of Uvira, South Kivu Province by two soldiers of the 8th FARDC Brigade based in Luvungi. The victim declared that he was accused of not complying with an order to participate in the "salongo" (community work).
22. On 22 April 2007, in the neighborhood of Montshundi, Bolobo city 400 Km north-west of Bandundu city a man was allegedly arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by FARDC soldiers of the 3rd Company of the 7th Integrated Brigade in Bolobo. According to local sources, the victim had been threatened with death by a drunken soldier who entered his compound.
The police were alerted about the incident and subsequently arrested the soldier and detained him at the PNC headquarters. In reprisal, a group of FARDC soldiers arrested the man, severely beat him up and then introduced pili pili (hot pepper) into his wounds. The victim, who suffered from appendicitis, was later admitted to the local hospital.
23. On 27 April 2007 in Pabong 7 km south of Ngote, Mahagi territory, Ituri a man was subjected to ill treatment by two FARDC soldiers of the 1st Integrated Brigade 2nd Battalion based in Nioka. The victim was pulled off a moving mini-truck, fracturing his left leg as he fell to the ground. The FARDC inflicted more pain by further beating him. The victim was saved by the local population who gave him traditional medical treatment.
24. On 15 April 2007, in Adingi 4 km west of Amee four FARDC soldiers from the camp in Nioka stole money, a telephone and other goods from a teacher after taking him from the school to his house where he was blindfolded and beaten up. The perpetrators were arrested the following day and sent to Nioka. They were released after a few days. They returned part of the stolen goods to the victim.
25. A man from the village of Ironga, Groupement of Kalima, South Kivu Province, was allegedly arrested and detained from 4 February to 12 May 2007 by soldiers of the 105th Brigade (ex. 14th Integrated Brigade). The victim claimed to that his arrest was carried out on the orders of a local administrative official with whom he was involved in a land dispute. He also claimed to have been repeatedly beaten during his detention. Marks seen on his body were consistent with his claims. He was transferred to Camp Saïo on 14 May.
26. On 17 April 2007, two FARDC soldiers in Punia, 240 km NE of Kindu Maniema Province allegedly arbitrarily arrested a pregnant woman on the orders of their commander, took her to their camp and subsequently subjected her to very severe flogging because of an unpaid debt. The victim had a miscarriage as a result of the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
27. On the night of 18 May, in the town of Butembo, North Kivu, a motorcycle taxi driver was allegedly attacked by two FARDC soldiers, most probably elements of the 2nd Integrated Brigade, who struck him on the head with a bayonet and in the face with a rifle butt, causing him to lose six of his teeth. The assailants also allegedly took his mobile phone and a sum of $130US.
28. Still in North Kivu, on 9 or 10 May, two Hutu men were arrested by soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of Bravo Brigade and sent to the battalion's HQ in Katwiguru (26km away). As both were returning form Busesa, a notorious FDLR hide-out, the soldiers accused them of collaboration with the enemy. An emissary sent by the family to negotiate their release reportedly paid 20,000 Ugandan Shilling (about $10.00 US) but the two men were not released.
29. During the night of 23-24 May 2007, a group of traders in the Groupement of Ondolea 22 Km north of Aru was robbed by soldiers of the 113th Battalion of the 1st FARDC Brigade deployed to the area. The following day, the traders organized and observed a "Journée ville morte" (a general shut down of commercial activities) to protest against the incident. As a result of their action, three FARDC soldiers, including the Commanding officer of the area, were arrested and detained in the PNC holding cell in Aru.
PNC agents were implicated in several human rights violations during the month of May
30. PNC agents were involved in several human rights violations including arbitrary executions, rape, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests and illegal detention during the reporting period. On 6 May 2007, during a police operation, a woman and a gang leader were allegedly shot dead by two policemen of the Groupe Mobile d'Intervention (GMI) of Kin-Est and Unité de Police Intégrée (UPI), in the neighborhood of Mombele, commune of Limete, Kinshasa. The woman was allegedly shot by a stray bullet when the GMI policeman fired in the air. The gang leader was also shot dead by a UPI policeman when he attempted to escape.
31. On 23 April 2007, in Bandudu Province, a man allegedly died as a result cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted by police officers of the Sub Police station of Louange Vidéo 200 Km south of Kikwit. The Commander of that unit was arrested and brought before the Military Prosecutor. The perpetrators are still at large.
32. A female resident of Widi wa Lonenda neighbourhood in Lodja (Kasaï Oriental Province) died allegedly as a result of a severe beating she received from a police officer. According to local sources, the victim was on her way to her residence when a police officer grabbed her bag containing money and other valuables. Her efforts to retrieve her bag proved futile and she was obliged to follow the officer to his residence with the hope of recovering her money. The policeman allegedly attempted to rape the young woman once they arrived at his home.
Due to the fierce resistance put up by the victim, the officer allegedly subjected her to a severe beating, probably with a stick or the butt of his rifle resulting in her death. He subsequently carried the victim's dead body to a local health centre in the presence of her mother and then fled the scene. The perpetrator was arrested by the Office of the Military Prosecutor in Lodja on 21 May.
33. On 17 May 2007, a civilian died after having been subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment during his detention at the Kitulu Police Station, in Butembo, North Kivu. The Commander of the Police Station was apprehended and brought before the Military Prosecutor. The Chef de Quartier adjoint, who allegedly ordered the arrest and the police officer, who inflicted ill-treatment on the victim were later arrested.
34. On 27 April 2007, a 12-year-old girl, from the Commune of Disasi, was allegedly raped by a PNC officer of the Police des Polices of Bandundu. The perpetrator allegedly brought the victim to his residence, threatened her with his firearm and subsequently raped her. He was later apprehended and detained at the Office of the Military Prosecutor.
35. On 4 May 2007, a police commander allegedly raped a female detainee in the holding cell of the Kajiba Police Sub Station in the collectivity of Lubudi, Kasai Occidental Province.
36. On 8 May 2007, in the neighborhood of Ebico, Commune of Basoko, Bandundu city, Bandundu Province, a minor was allegedly raped by a police officer of the Bandundu Mobile Battalion. The victim had been intercepted and raped on her way to school. The perpetrator was arrested and transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor.
37. On 3 May 2007, police officers in Kalima 101 km northeast of Kindu, Maniema Province reportedly arrested and subjected to ill-treatment over thirty persons, mainly students, in reprisal for an earlier attack on one of their colleagues. On 2 May, a policeman arrested and later injured a male student following a heated discussion. A group of students then abducted a police officer in protest against the ill-treatment of their fellow student. The police later proceeded to arrest all persons who appeared to be students and also reportedly destroyed three houses. Gunshots were heard throughout the day in the area.
38. On 9 May 2007, five businessmen were allegedly arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained and subjected to ill-treatment by the police in Punia located 240 km north-east of Kindu, in Maniema Province. According to a reliable source, the men, including the local President of the Fédération des Entreprises du Congo (FEC Congolese Federation of Enterprises), had participated in a "journée ville morte" (a general shut down of commercial activities) that day to protest a decision taken by the provincial authorities to prohibit the export of minerals obtained through artisanal mining, to other provinces. The general shut down coincided with the visit of the Governor who, according to the source, ordered the arrest of the FEC President. The men were subsequently released without any charge.
39. On 10 May 2007, a male resident of Butembo was allegedly arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained and subjected to ill-treatment by a PNC agent. He was allegedly tied up and severely beaten by the PNC who was acting on the orders of the Chef de Quartier Adjoint.
40. On 15 April 2007, a PNC officer accompanied by six armed police officers allegedly burst into a gold mine in Kalumbi Luhela 350 km south of Kalemie threatening the diggers with death and extorting gold and money. One of the diggers who resisted the attack was severely beaten.
41. During the night of 7-8 May, five armed men, including one dressed in the PNC uniform, allegedly broke into the home of a diamond dealer in the Mudiba neighbourhood of the Kanshi commune in Mbuji Mayi and shot him in the right forearm when he resisted their attempts to enter his bedroom. One of the assailants was also shot during the scuffle.
During their hasty retreat from the scene of the crime, the assailants left a Motorola radio that was later identified as belonging to the Mbuji Mayi police.
42. On 23 May 2007, a detainee was allegedly subjected to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment in a holding cell by PNC officers acting on the orders of the Commander of the PSPE Unit in Goma, North Kivu.
43. On 24 May, agents of the Special Services branch of the PNC in Kinshasa (Kin-Mazière) allegedly arrested the leader of a group of workers of the National Transport Office (ONATRA) who were planning to stage a peaceful protest march later that day. The workers had allegedly written to the Prime Minister and the Governor of Kinshasa on 21 May to inform them of the march. Special Services agents arrested the leader at around 7:00 a.m. near to the Gare Centrale in the Gombe Commune and took him to Kin-Mazière where he was allegedly subjected to ill treatment. He was released at around 6:00 p.m.
44. Police officers in different parts of the DRC continue to be frequent perpetrators of arbitrary arrests and illegal detention. The practice of arresting persons in place of others (wives in place of husbands, children in place of their parents) is very widespread. Such persons are generally kept in detention until the alleged perpetrators are located.
Another widespread practice is that of arresting persons and having them signed the proces-verbal de saisie de prévenu (a written document which outlines the arrested person's constitutional rights) without first explaining their rights to them in French or the national languages of the country as stipulated in Art. 18 of the DRC Constitution and in a circular from the State Prosecutor (Procureur Général de la République) dated 31 March 2006.
45. A civilian man was allegedly arrested and detained for five days (from 6 to 11 May 2007) at the Cité de Kalemie Police sub station, in place of his friend. He was ordered to pay $50.00USD for his release. In the village of Pungwe 21 km, south-west of Kalemie four civilians were arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained by a group of seven police officers. The victims were ordered to pay 1.500 CF each for their release.
Other security forces were implicated in several cases of human rights violations
46. On 5 May, a man was allegedly executed by the guards of the Virunga National Park, North Kivu. According to local sources, the victim and his friend entered the Park in search of bananas on a plot of land he previously owned. They were intercepted by the guards of the Mavivi patrol station 15 km north of Beni and ran away in fear. The guards subsequently fired at tem. The victim died on the spot while his friend escaped from the park.
47. In Gemena, Equateur Province, a 70-year-old national of Gambia died on 20 May allegedly as a result of a severe beating he received from DGM agents (Direction Générale des Migrations). The victim was arrested on 12 May during an operation carried out to verify the status of foreigners in the town. He was allegedly subjected to ill-treatment by DGM agents and released later that day. The victim was admitted to Gemena Hospital on 14 May.
48. On 15 May, 15 ANR agents (National Intelligence Agency) together with six soldiers of the FARDC 672nd Brigade attacked the village of Kadimbu, 30 km west of Kabalo 300 km west of Kalemie, in Katanga Province, subjected the villagers to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The assailants allegedly forced the villagers to undress, bound their hands and feet and then proceeded to beat then up. Five women were allegedly raped by the soldiers.
The village was completely looted and the assailants allegedly escaped with money, livestock as well as kitchen utensils. The villagers were forced to abandon Kadimbu and seek refuge in Kabalo. Local sources indicate that the incident was connected to an ongoing dispute between two traditional leaders. The Military Prosecutor has arrested and charged two ANR agents and four soldiers with crime against humanity, rape and looting.
49. On 4 May 2007, in Katanga Province, a teacher of the Tutazamie Junior High School of Likasi, was allegedly arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained by the ANR on the grounds that during the Teacher Day celebrations on 30 April, a student, in a role play skit had offended the Head of State. He was released on the same day after a demonstration organised by the teachers of the school.
50. On 26 April, In Bukavu, South Kivu Province, the Director of the DGM (Direction Générale des Migratiosn) allegedly confiscated the voter registration card and other important documents of a Congolese woman and then ordered his agents to "deport" her to Rwanda through the Ruzizi border post. His action was reportedly carried out in reprisal against the woman for having refused the advances made by one of his cousins.
Members of armed groups have continued to commit human rights abuses on the populations with full impunity
51. On the morning of 19 May 2007, armed men, believed to be FDLR rebels opened fire on a passenger truck in Kiseguru, Rutshuru territory. Three persons, including an element of Bravo Brigade who was on board the vehicle, were killed on the spot. Two other persons, including a woman, succumbed shortly after to their injuries at the local hospital. Twenty other persons received gunshot wounds and were admitted to the local hospital. A second truck, closely following the first vehicle, was pillaged and then set on fire by the assailants after the passengers had fled.
52. On 15 May, FDLR attacked a truck near Kisharo 101 km north of Goma. A passer-by was fatally shot and a female passenger seriously wounded during the attack. That same day, armed men, believed to be FDLR, attacked and looted another truck coming from Goma along the Kalengera-Tongo in the Virunga National Park. Two passengers were allegedly killed when the assailants opened fire on the truck.
53. On the evening of 22 May 2007, FDLR elements allegedly killed the police chief in Nyabanira 20 km north of Rutshuru centre who was well known for resisting their presence in his area of responsibility. That same evening, FDLR combatants allegedly attacked the PNC sub station in Kisharu 30 km north of Rutshuru centre as well as the residence of the police commander, freed detainees from the holding cells and seized five weapons. It appears that the attacks were carried out as a reprisal for the killing of an FDLR collaborator by residents of Kisharu on the morning of 22 May 2007.
54. On 26 May 2007, FDLR elements allegedly arbitrarily executed a man in the locality of Kisharo, in the Binza Groupement, territory of Rutshuru. That same night they allegedly ransacked and looted four houses in the area. On the night of 28 May, a woman was allegedly killed in her home by FDLR elements armed with machetes. The men also looted six houses in the same village as well as in the village of Kasave.
55. On 2nd May two civilians from the Ndo Okebo tribe (one of whom was the chef de localité) were abducted by FNI militiamen in Soudjo (Ndo Okebo collectivity), Ituri. They took them to Uka (Walendu Yatsi collectivity), tied them up, ill treated them and paced them for the night in an underground cell. The following day they were taken to a different FNI camp in Booga where they were kept in an underground cell for more days. The FNI leader subsequently ordered their release.
56. During the night of 30-31 May 2007, in Cidaho 25 km west of Bukavu Groupement of Bugobe, in the territory of Kabare, South Kivu seven civilians, including four minors, were allegedly abducted and taken to the nearby forest by nine assailants who spoke Kinyarwanda and Mashi (the local language). Eight of the men were in military uniform. They looted the village before leaving with the abductees. They also allegedly forced a mother to abandon her one-year old child in the village before abducting her.
57. On 24 May, ADF/NALU (Ugandan rebels) allegedly abducted six civilians for five days in the village of Kpélé 6 Km of Kaïnama territory of Beni, North Kivu, in reprisal against FARDC attacks. The abductees were allegedly subjected to forced labour.
58. During the reporting period, a group of men armed with AK 47 rifles, who claimed to be ex-Mayi Mayi, allegedly abducted and inflicted cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment on civilians, on the highway linking Kalemie to Fizi, most precisely, near to the Misisi minefield located some 180 km from Kalemie, North Katanga.
59. The ADF/NALU are reportedly actively engaged in the recruitment of children. Recently, two women who had been captured by the ADF/NALU two years earlier and forced to undergo military training escaped from captivity. These rebels are reportedly in the process of reorganizing following their dispersal during a joint FARDC/MONUC military operation carried out against them at the end of December 2005.
Administration of Justice
60. The trial of 17 FARDC soldiers who participated in the 11-12 January 2007 mutiny in Bunia continued during the reporting period. The Military Prosecutor has requested life in prison for looting and failure to obey military regulations ("violation de consigne") for a lieutenant (highest-ranking among the defendants but currently at large), 10 to 20 years for 12 other soldiers for the same charges, and 10 years for another 2 soldiers for "dissipation de munitions" (squandering of ammunitions).
Soldiers of the 1st Integrated Brigade supported by elements of other Integrated Brigades in Bunia went on a rampage during which they looted the Bankoko neighborhood of Bunia and allegedly raped five women. Their actions were allegedly provoked by rumours of the misappropriation of their end of year bonus payment by their hierarchy.
Rape charges as crime against humanity could not be sustained due to lack of strong evidence. During the hearing on 25 May 2007, the victims' lawyers asked the Tribunal to pronounce the sentences requested by the Prosecutor and the payment in conjunction with the Congolese State of $685,363US in damages to the victims.
61. The appeal case of the nine FARDC soldiers who participated in the Mbandaka 3rd 4th July 2005 mutiny and who were condemned to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity under article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court resumed on 25 May 2007, in the Military Court of Mbandaka.
Only seven of the convicted prisoners were present as one of them escaped from a military holding cell in Mbandaka in March 2007 and another was hospitalized. Because of the assignment of a new judge to the case, the hearing was mainly devoted to the examination of the procès verbaux which was followed by the lawyers' pleas. The victims' lawyers declared that the compensation assigned to the victims was inadequate and disproportionate to the gravity of the crimes committed. In their closing statements, the defense lawyers requested the Court to acquit the soldiers.
62. On 17 May 2007, the Military Tribunal in Beni, North Kivu Province, delivered its verdict in the trial of a sergeant of the Département de Sécurité des Frontières responsible for the rape of a minor on 18 February 2007. The sergeant was sentenced to five years imprisonment and ordered to pay $2,500 US in damages to the victim. Four FARDC soldiers arrested in connection with the Rubaya killings in North Kivu of 29 April 2007 were brought before the Military Prosecutor, indicted and are currently awaiting trial.
63. A FARDC Captain, allegedly the commander of a group of renegade FARDC poachers in the Epulu Park, in the territory of Mambasa, Ituri, was arrested by the Office of the Military Prosecutor in Beni and charged with illegal possession of weapons of war, desertion, poaching activities and refusal to join the brassage process. The officer is also accused of the killing of a warden of Epulu Park earlier this year.
Prisons and Detention Facilities
64. On 23 May 2007, the Mahagi prison which was rehabilitated by UNDP was officially handed over to the Congolese authorities. The ceremony was presided over by the District Commissioner in charge of Administration, in the presence of MONUC representatives, the Presiding Judge of the Tribunal de Grande Instance and the Prosecutor.
65. Three inmates of the Tshikapa Central Prison died of malnutrition in the course of the month of May. The 159 inmates of the prison, including 104 awaiting trial, are fed twice a month by a local NGO. Most of the inmates presented visible signs of malnutrition.
66. During the night of 10-11 May 2007, eight inmates of the Aru Central Prison, charged with theft and murder, escaped because of the dilapidated state of the buildings. In Kongolo Central Prison 350 km northwest of Kalemie eight inmates, including two soldiers charged with rape, escaped from the prison premises on 8 May 2007.
In Mbuji Mayi Central Prison, two inmates including one sentenced to 15 years in prison for rape, died while in detention. On 8 May, an inmate escaped from the PNC holding cell in Tumbwe, Kalemie District, northern Katanga. He was ordered to escort a sick inmate to the ambulance and he subsequently escaped.
67. Seven civilians, suspects in two murder cases in Buba 18 Km west of Aru held in Kwandroma PNC sub station reportedly escaped from custody during the night of 28-29 May 2007, in connivance with the PNC Commander.
68. On 13 May 2007, in Gemena, Equateur Province, a DPP Captain responsible for the rape of a minor, who was sentenced to five years imprisonment, expelled from the FARDC and ordered to pay $4,000 US to the victim, escaped from the Gemena Central Prison, in connivance with the prison guard. He later broke into the residence of one of the judges of the Military Court and the two lawyers of the victim and threatened to kill them. He was subsequently arrested and brought back to the prison.