PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 62/30/99
UA 292/99 Fear of execution / Further death sentences / Unfair trials
8 November 1999
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Bukasa Musenga, employee of Elf Congo]
Gaby Ngimbi Kiamba, businessman] sentenced
Muzaliwa Maroy, Director of petrol, Military headquarters] to death
Issa Yuba, Commander of fuel depot, Military headquarters] on 19 October
Onza Kanda, Commander of fuel depot, Military headquarters]
Lambert Djunga Shango, lawyer] ongoing trial
Pierre Risasi, lawyer] on capital
Okumbo, former employee of state mining company] charge
Dada Feza Rukeratabaro (f), former employer of state mining co.]
Amnesty International is concerned that the five men named above who were
sentenced to death by the Cour d’ordre Militaire (COM), Military Order Court
on 19 October 1999, may soon be executed.
The COM found them guilty of stealing fuel from the military. Trials carried
out by the COM do not conform to international standards and do not allow for
any appeals to a higher jurisdiction. Their last chance now lies with a
presidential pardon. If this is not given they could be executed by firing
The organization is very concerned that death sentences are still being handed
out by COM after unfair trials. This is despite a public declaration by the
government that it would abolish the COM and the death penalty.
The four civilians named above are also likely to be given death sentences
at the end of their trial by the COM in connection with their alleged role
in a mining concession dispute between the DRC Government and Banro American
Resources mining company.
An Amnesty International delegation visiting the country in August 1999 was
told that there is currently a moratorium on executions.
Hundreds of death sentences have been passed by the COM, and over 100 executions
carried out, since its creation in 1997.
Although the COM was established to administer tough military discipline it
is often used to try civilians, many of whom are political prisoners and
prisoners of conscience.
The court’s proceedings have consistently contravened international standards
for fair trial. Its statute prohibits appeal to a higher jurisdiction, leaving
defendants with no opportunity to challenge convictions and sentences.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, because
it is a state sanctioned violation of the right to life and the right not to
be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.