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

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid