Document - Democratic Republic of Congo: Mass rape highlights failures in protection and justice
AI Index: AFR 62/009/2010
August 26 2010
Democratic Republic of Congo: Mass rape highlights failures in
protection and justice
is appalled at the latest reports of the mass rape and other sexual
violence committed in the Walikale region of North Kivu between 30
July and 2 August.
According to the
United Nations, more than 150 civilians in 13 villages were raped
by members of armed groups, including the Democratic Liberation
Forces of Rwanda (FDLR). Reports indicate that the rape was
organized and systematic.
is calling for the government of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC) and the United Nations to make every effort to provide
the survivors, witnesses and their communities with immediate
medical and psychological treatment. Evidence, including witness
testimonies, should be gathered and preserved, in order to
facilitate bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The attacks occurred
only weeks after the United Nations Security Council adopted a new
mandate for its Mission in the country to support the government in
protecting civilians from violations of international humanitarian
law and human rights abuses, including all forms of sexual and
gender-based violence, and emphasizing that protection of civilians
must be given priority over other tasks entrusted to the
gender-based violence is widespread in eastern DRC and committed by
all sides to the conflicts, including the government forces that
the United Nations is supporting. Amnesty International believes
that an immediate review of the failures of the government and the
United Nations to protect civilians must be undertaken to address
the horrors being inflicted on civilians and to prevent them from
also demands justice and full reparations for the survivors. A weak
national justice system means that urgent efforts are needed to
rebuild capacity at almost every level. In particular, special
efforts must be undertaken to train national authorities in the
effective investigation and prosecution of crimes of sexual
violence and to remove obstacles for survivors seeking
Rebuilding the rule
of law must be seen as an essential element of longer term
protection of civilians in the country. In the meantime, national
and international justice solutions must be found to end the
impunity that allows persons to plan and commit such crimes in the
knowledge they will not be held to account.
On 25 August, the Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström was put in charge of leading the UN’s response to the incident. Issues for discussion with the DRC government are expected to include Security Council’s outstanding request, in Resolution 1888 (2009) that the UN Secretary-General “deploy rapidly a team of experts to situations of particular concern with respect to sexual violence in armed conflict… with the consent of the host government,to assist national authorities to strengthen the rule of law”. This team of experts has not yet been deployed.
The UN Security Council is expected in November 2010 to debate developments relating to the “Protection of Civilians,” following its 10thanniversary debate on Resolution 1325 on “Women Peace and Security” at the end of October.
In May 2010, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1925 (2010), authorizing the deployment of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) until 30 June 2011.