News / Africa

DRC Justice System Needs Reforms, Group Says

Aaron Hall, Enough Project’s Congo policy analyst, says judicial system allows cycle of impunity because of corruption and lack of resources

Congolese president Joseph Kabila casts his ballot in the country's presidential election at a polling station in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Monday Nov. 28, 2011
Congolese president Joseph Kabila casts his ballot in the country's presidential election at a polling station in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Monday Nov. 28, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to Butty interview with Aaron Hall of Enought Project

James Butty

The U.S.-based Enough Project has called on the international community to help break what it calls the cycle of impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo by supporting those who wish to reform the country’s justice system.

In a new report entitled: Time Works against Justice: Ending Impunity in Eastern Congo, the group said a lack of accountability has fostered a war in eastern Congo that has killed more than five million people.

Aaron Hall, the Enough Project Congo policy analyst and co-author of the report, said the lack of accountability for war crimes is an obstacle to peace and development.

“In Eastern Congo, and in Congo as a whole, there is a substantial problem with impunity.  What you see is a number of individuals, [who] are in positions of power, who continuingly exploit institutions in Congo, exploit communities and engage in regular violence and extortion, and there is rarely penalty for their actions.  And, this sends a signal to others within Congo, and within the region, that engaging in [certain] behaviors is not only something that you won’t get punished for, but likely will benefit you in a long run,” he said.

Hall said reforming Congo’s justice system will call for rebuilding it from the ground up because the system is saddled with many problems, including dilapidated court houses and corruption among judges, prosecutors and lawyers.

“From the systemic procedures within the justice system, from arresting someone, to pretrial detention, to having a trial, all those steps along the way, there is a real lack of capacity, there’s a real lack of capacity, there’s a real lack of transparency and accountability, and there’s a real of lack of resources,” Hall said.

The report also calls on the international community to use a multi-pronged approach of state-level, conditionally-based pressure and civil society support to ensure Congo implements what it calls Specialized Mixed Courts to try human rights crimes committed in Congo that fall outside the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

“The conditionally-based pressure and the multi-pronged approach that I was talking about was those donor communities that work continually with Congo to urge Congo leaders to introduce that legislation once again and make sure that it is passed and implemented, so that some of these war crimes, human rights abuses, that occurred within that period are brought to justice,” Hall said.

The report recommends that pressure is applied on Congolese and Rwandan leaders to arrest indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda, currently a general in the Congolese army.

“He is an ICC indicted war criminal for the recruitment of child soldiers in 2002.  He is the poster child, if you will, for impunity in Congo, and he continues to perpetrate human rights abuses, exploit natural resources, extort communities in eastern Congo, and essentially flies in the face of any kind of reform, whether it be in the justice sector, the security sector, the resource management sector, not only in eastern Congo, but in Congo as a whole,” Hall said.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid