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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora