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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid