ICC sends mission to DRC to urge 'restraint'

2016-10-17 20:11
Demonstrators gather in front of a burning car during an opposition rally in Kinshasa. (Eduardo Soteras, AFP)

Demonstrators gather in front of a burning car during an opposition rally in Kinshasa. (Eduardo Soteras, AFP)

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The Hague -The chief prosecutor of the world's only permanent war crimes court said on Monday she has sent a team to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to urge restraint after weeks of deadly unrest.

More than 50 people died in clashes in the capital Kinshasa in September as the opposition called on President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, to step down.

There have been growing fears that Kabila intends to stay in office after his term ends in December. And the European Union on Monday warned the country could face sanctions if it does not hold early elections.

"For a number of weeks now, I have been deeply concerned by the critical situation and recent incidents of violence" in the country, said the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda.

She said in a statement that she has deployed a delegation to the vast central African nation from October 16 to 20 to meet with "official representatives of the DRC, members of political parties, civil society, and the press."


The aim of the mission was to reiterate a call for "restraint" by all those potentially involved and to ensure they "refrain, at all times and in all locations, from committing any act of criminal violence against individuals and property".

Bensouda repeated that her office was "closely monitoring the situation on the ground" and warned again that anyone committing war crimes or crimes against humanity was "liable to prosecution".

The ICC has been investigating alleged crimes in the DRC since 2004, leading to the conviction of two former Congolese warlords, who are both serving jail terms.

The trial of a third Congolese former rebel commander, Bosco Ntaganda, opened in September 2015 and he is facing 18 charges for his role in the northeastern Ituri conflict.

In a fourth case, Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, the former leader of a militia in the east, was acquitted in December 2012.

Read more on:    international criminal court  |  joseph kabila  |  drc  |  central africa

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