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Democratic Republic of Congo: Fear of imminent execution

, N° d'index: AFR 62/024/1998

Kyunga wa Mbuyu, Amisi Masimangu, Kwangwe Lwimbo, Zamba Wali, Ruaga Hungu, Tshibuabua Mukubayi, Bahati Birembano, Badibanga Kakonde, Bofamba Jean, Kenga Ngoy, Lemba Erick, Dianambo Mushakamba, Tshisola Piere Yiukilayi and Kabasele Tshiondo are at risk of imminent execution. They were sentenced to death for muder, armed robbery and criminal association after a series of unfair trials conducted by a military court.

PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 62/24/98
EXTRA 46/98 Fear of imminent execution 13 July 1998
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Kyunga wa Mbuyu
Amisi Masimangu
Kwangwe Lwimbo
Zamba Wali
Ruaga Hungu
Tshibuabua Mukubayi
Bahati Birembano
Badibanga Kakonde
Bofamba Jean
Kenga Ngoy
Lemba Erick
Dianambo Mushakamba
Tshisola Piere Yiukilayi
Kabasele Tshiondo
The above named men are at risk of imminent execution after being sentenced
to death by the Cour d’ordre militaire, Military Order Court, in Katanga
province, formerly known as Shaba,in hearings which took place between 5 and
23 June 1998.
The condemned people, civilians and members of the military, were found guilty
of murder, armed robbery, and criminal association.
Although the defendants were reportedly allowed legal counsel during the trial,
the Court’s proceedings have consistently contravened international norms for
fair trial. Defendants and their counsel are not allowed sufficient time and
resources to prepare their defence. The military court’s statute prohibits
appeal to a higher jurisdiction, leaving defendants with no opportunity to
challenge convictions and sentences handed down by the court. Although the
court was established to try soldiers, it is increasingly being used to try
civilians, and is being applied to ordinary crimes.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Over the last months, military tribunals in the Democratic Republic of Congo
have sentenced dozens of people to death, many of them civilians. Since January
1998, at least 56 people have been executed within days of being sentenced
to death by the Cour d’ordre militaire, Military Order Court, which was set
up in 1997 by President Laurent-siré Kabila. The competence of the country’s
judges is unknown.
On 18 April 1998, President Kabila granted presidential clemency to Malume
Mudherwa, a 15 year-old boy sentenced to death on 28 March, following an
international campaign against his execution.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all countries and 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.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
French or your own language:
- urging President Laurent-Désiré Kabila to commute the death sentences of
the persons sentenced to death in Katanga in June 1998;
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- urging the Congolese authorities to grant them a fair trial conforming to
international standards, including the right to appeal against their conviction
and sentence;
- urging the Congolese authorities to abolish the death penalty, which is a
violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel,
inhuman or degrading punishment.
APPEALS TO:
(Please note: It is sometimes difficult to get faxes through to the DRC. As
a minimum, please send a letter to the DRC embassy in your country.)
Head of State
Son Excellence
Laurent-Désiré KABILA
Président de la République
Présidence de la République
Kinshasa-Ngaliema
Democratic Republic of Congo
Telegrams: Président, Kinshasa, DR Congo
Faxes: + 243 88 02120
Salutation: Monsieur le Président de la République / Dear President
Minister of Justice
M. Mwenze KONGOLO
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
BP 3137, Kinshasa-Gombe
Democratic Republic of Congo
Telegrams: Ministre Justice, Kinshasa, DR Congo
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Dear Minister
President of the Military Order Court
M. Kiyana MINKUNTU
Président de la Cour d’ordre militaire
Palais de Justice
BP 7016
Kinshasa-Gombe
République Démocratique du Congo
Salutation: Monsieur le Président de la Cour Militaire / Dear President of
the Military Order Court
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Democratic Republic of Congo
accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.

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