National
UN urges DR Congo to tackle impunity for rapes
Publish Date: Apr 10, 2014
UN urges DR Congo to tackle impunity for rapes
DRC president Joseph Kabila
  • mail
  • img
newvision

UNITED NATIONS - The UN rights chief urged Democratic Republic of Congo authorities to "fight against impunity for crimes of sexual violence," as she presented Wednesday the latest UN report on the scourge.

The United Nations documented 3,635 victims of sexual violence in DR Congo between January 2010 and December 2013, and nearly three-quarters of the victims were women, according to the new report from the UN joint human rights office.

Sexual assaults are often vastly underreported by victims or are hard to document. Previous tallies from Congolese government have been far higher, with 15,352 cases counted in seven provinces in 2013, alone.

Rights chief Navi Pillay hailed progress by DR Congo in the area of military justice for sexual assaults, but added "there is still a long way to go" and the political will -- when it exists -- "is not sufficiently translated on the ground."

She called on Congolese authorities to "promptly complete effective and independent investigations, and to prosecute alleged perpetrators, including those suspected of having command responsibility."

The report also recommended authorities provide free legal aid to the victims, create a reparation fund, and adopt a law protecting victims and witnesses -- who often face threats and intimidation.

Just over half the rapes documented in the UN report were committed by members of armed groups that operate in eastern DR Congo. The remainder were attributed to state agents, including soldiers in the military, or FARDC, who were implicated in around one in three rapes.

But members of armed groups nearly always escape justice, and prosecutors rarely charge high-level FARDC officers: of 136 soldiers convicted during the 2010-2013 period, only three were high level officers.

In total, just 187 people were convicted of sexual assaults by military tribunals. They were given sentences ranging from 10 months to 20 years.

Meanwhile, UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said that the persistent security concerns in eastern DR Congo are an aggravating factor for the rape crisis.

The Congolese government needs to restore its authority, to "fill the vacuum" as soon as any part of the territory is freed from the grip of armed groups, Ladsous said.

The publication of this report coincides with a trial of Congolese soldiers prosecuted for a November 2012 incident in Minova, in eastern DR Congo, for mass rape, murder and looting. The public ministry Monday asked for life sentences for most of the 39 accused.

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Burundi government says won
Burundi's government on Tuesday condemned mounting diplomatic pressure over President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial bid to stand for a third consecutive term, signalling it would not bow to international criticism....
FDC fundraises for 2016 polls
Forum for Democratic Change members have been asked to donate to the party so that enough funding is raised to support the party activities....
Burundi sets June 26 for presidential elections
Burundi has set June 26 for presidential elections taking a sharp turnaround from the guidance of East African Community member states that polls must be extended so that reconciliation between warring factions takes shape....
Jobs get families out of poverty - World Bank
“Jobs are what bring families out of poverty and fosters social cohesion,” Christina Malmberg, country manager, World Bank Group Uganda, has said...
Foot-and-mouth disease worries Karimojongs
Foot-and-mouth disease is a severe highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine.Foot-and-mouth disease is a severe highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine. It also affects sheep, goats and other cloven hooved animals....
Parliament has 3 days to approve sh18.4trillion budget
Parliament has only up to Friday this week to complete the process of scrutinizing and approving the 2015/2016 budget...
Should graduated tax be revived?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter