DRC vows to end impunity for rapes

2010-09-20 21:04

Geneva - The Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC's) justice minister pledged on Monday to "spare no effort" in ending impunity for sexual violence, adding that results of probes into recent mass rapes would be published in coming days.

"In terms of the fight against impunity of sexual violence, the government will spare no effort on the subject, at a time when this phenomenon is showing a resurgence across the world," Luzolo Bambi Lessa told the UN Human Rights Council.

The minister of justice and human rights added that a military tribunal is committed to ensuring that perpetrators of 151 cases of rapes and sexual violence in eastern DRC will be brought to justice.

He added that investigations have been launched and that the first results would be communicated in the coming days.

The DRC minister's address at the Human Rights Council came just after Kinshasa objected to the UN's admonitions over the mass rapes by militia groups.

The UN has blamed the Mai Mai militia and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), rebels from neighbouring Rwanda, for raping hundreds of women and children in front of their families.

According to local authorities, some 380 women in the Walikale region, west of Nord Kivu, were raped in July.

A UN Security Council presidential statement had urged the DRC government to do more to catch the perpetrators and help the victims.

But Lambert Mende, a government spokesperson in Kinshasa, asked why the government was being criticised when "we should be encouraged to continue the clampdown we are engaged in against these people."