UN experts' murder trial resumes in DRC

2017-06-12 21:16
DRC flag. (iStock)

DRC flag. (iStock)

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Kinshasa - A Democratic Republic of Congo military court held a second day of hearings on Monday in the trial of a man and a teenager accused of killing two UN experts in March, their lawyer said.

Evariste Ilunga, a 16-year-old student, and Mbayi Kabasele, 30, who sells palm oil, are accused of war crimes, including murder and mutilation, as well as terrorism and taking part in an insurrection.

Their trial follows the March 12 kidnapping of American Michael Sharp and Swedish-Chilean Zaida Catalan, who were investigating mass graves in the restive Kasai region where hundreds of people have died in months of violence.

Their bodies were found 16 days later, with Catalan's decapitated though her head was never found.

The lawyer for the two accused, Tresor Kabangu, told AFP that on Monday the Kananga military court heard the prosecution's response to a defence request for a delay, filed when the trial opened a week ago.

The defence had questioned the court's legitimacy to judge war crimes, saying the imprisonment of the suspects was "illegitimate".

The court said it would hand down its decision on Wednesday.

About 400 people have been killed and 1.3 million displaced in Kasai, according to the UN, since government forces in September killed Kamwina Nsapu, a tribal chief and militia leader who had rebelled against Kabila.

Last week, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein urged the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an international investigation into abuses in the region, including summary executions, killings of children, recruitment of child soldiers and sexual violence.

Read more on:    un  |  drc  |  central africa

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