News / Africa

DRC Abuses: UN Calls for 'Credible' Investigation

M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (2012 photo)
M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (2012 photo)
Nick Long
The United Nations has released details of what it calls horrifying abuses committed by the Democratic Republic of Congo's armed forces and by the M23 rebels after heavy fighting in eastern Congo in November of last year.  A report on the abuses documents nearly 200 cases of sexual violence and 13 arbitrary executions of civilians over a two-week period in North Kivu province.

The U.N. Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC, which wrote the report, says it is not an exhaustive account of all the abuses committed by the Congolese army and the M23 rebels at that time but it gives an insight into what went on.

The office’s director in the DRC, Scott Campbell, told journalists in Goma on Wednesday that the report is based on 350 interviews with victims and witnesses.

He said its main conclusions are that during two weeks beginning November 20, Congolese army troops were responsible for at least 135 cases of sexual violence and two arbitrary executions, while the M23 rebels were responsible for at least 58 rapes and 11 arbitrary executions.

The researchers found the government troops’ abuses were mainly committed after they had retreated in disorder to the town of Minova, where soldiers looted houses and raped at least 102 women, and 33 girls aged from 6 and 17.

A few weeks later the DRC authorities launched an investigation. They have since suspended 12 army officers.

The commander of the U.N. police detachment in Congo, General Abdallah Wafy, who also presented the report on Wednesday, was asked by a journalist if the U.N. was satisfied by the government’s response.

He says yes and no, yes insofar as the U.N. recognizes the authorities’ willingness to carry out an investigation and suspend army officers, but he says the U.N. is still awaiting the outcome.  Wafy added that the actions taken by the government so far are significant and show a considerable advance on their attitude to these kinds of accusations a few years ago.

He says these are not just low-ranking officers that have been suspended.  And he adds that the U.N. is continuing to put pressure on the authorities to follow through on their investigation and bring those responsible to trial.

The U.N. secretary-general’s special representative in Congo, Roger Meece, has said he welcomes the measures taken so far by the Congolese authorities.

He has also called for the ongoing investigation to be pursued in an independent and credible fashion, and for justice to be delivered to the victims.

As for the M23, they do not appear to have launched any investigation into their alleged abuses.

Scott Campbell says that in contrast to the government, the M23 simply issued a statement denying that they were involved in the abuses committed in Goma.  

The U.N. has warned that the violations outlined in the report may constitute international crimes under human rights law.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid