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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid