UN denounces DRC tribunal's decision in Kasai trial

2017-06-26 19:30
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kinshasa - The UN on Monday criticised a decision by a Congolese military tribunal not to prosecute seven Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers for crimes against humanity.

"We regret" the tribunal's decision, Jose Maria Aranaz, director of the United Nations joint human rights office (UNJHRO) and representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC, told AFP.

"Prosecuting these crimes is a way of preventing other legal violations and further excessive use of force by the armed forces," Aranaz said.

The seven soldiers were already on trial for war crimes and other offences - including murder, mutilation and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment - apparently committed in the Kasai region.

They are being prosecuted over a video that emerged in February showing a group of uniformed men opening fire on civilians, then walking among at least 20 bodies.

The alleged incident occurred during an operation in a village called Mwanza Lomba in Kasai, according to the government.

On Saturday, prosecutors in the trial, which began on June 5, dropped the war crimes charges, but kept the murder charge and others.

"You can justify dropping the war crimes charges because there is no declared conflict in the Kasai," Aranaz said.

But it would have been important to prosecute the officers for crimes against humanity because it would send "a strong signal in the direction of those who are implicated in the violence in Kasai".

The central Kasai region has seen an explosion of deadly violence in recent months, with reports of gross rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and the use of child soldiers.

More than 3 300 people have been killed in eight months of spiralling unrest, a papal envoy to the country said last week, and UN figures show that 1.3 million people have fled their homes.

The UNJHRO believes "officers should guarantee the proportional use of force by military and police elements under their command" and dismiss all efforts to try to put these acts onto "isolated members in the army," Aranaz said.

The unrest in Kasai began when a local tribal chieftain, known as the Kamwina Nsapu, who was rebelling against the authority of President Joseph Kabila's government, was killed during clashes with the security forces in August 2016.

On Saturday, the UN urged Congolese authorities to pare back their military presence in the region "to prioritise dialogue".

Read more on:    un  |  drc  |  central africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Play with your pet when you're not at home

Many pets are alone at home during the week while their owners are at work. So what do these animals get up to while they’re home alone?

 
 

Paws

How to get rid of fleas
12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.