Justice and Accountability

New Comprehensive Study - "A Criminal State: Understanding and Countering Institutionalized Corruption and Violence in Congo"

Enough's new comprehensive study reveals how the Democratic Republic of Congo is not a failed state—for everyone. It is a failure for the vast majority of Congolese who suffer from abysmal security, healthcare, and education services. However, it is an efficient state for ruling elites and their commercial partners who seek to extract or traffic resources at the expense of Congo’s development. Over the past 130 years, Congo has had many elements of violent kleptocracy, a system of state capture in which ruling networks and commercial partners hijack governing institutions and maintain impunity for the purpose of resource extraction and for the security of the regime. Violence has been the systemic companion of these regimes.  This study argues that President Kabila and his close associates rely in large part on theft, violence, and impunity to stay in power at the expense of the country’s development. If international policymakers are to have a real impact in helping Congolese reformers actually reform the system, they need to shift the lens through which they view the conflict.  Read More »

Enough Project Statement on May 26th Congo Democracy Protests, Need for Targeted Sanctions

The Enough Project is deeply concerned about the growing political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For over a year, citizens have been calling on President Kabila to indicate his intentions to step down, resulting in dozens of arbitrary arrests and detentions. Government security forces are continuing this trend of violent response to the country-wide demonstrations using tear gas, beatings, and bullets.   Read More »

Jean-Pierre Bemba Convicted of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

Date: 
Mar 21, 2016

Enough Project experts available for comment and analysis on landmark case

On Monday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled Jean-Pierre Bemba guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Experts at the Enough Project have been following the case, and are available for comment and analysis.

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “Today's verdict is a victory for the women, men, and children who were brutalized by Bemba's forces, particularly victims of rape - this is the first time the court has convicted anyone on sexual violence charges."

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “The verdict also means that Bemba won't be returning to Congo to stand in the elections. He would have been a very potent challenger. It's now time for President Kabila to commit to holding the elections as soon as possible.”

Dranginis added, "The court's ruling also breaks new ground on how we judge powerful leaders who commit atrocities from far away. International justice is catching up with modern conflict dynamics, which rarely respect borders. No longer can criminal elites hide atop complex command structures. Though Mr. Bemba was in DRC during the commission of many of his crimes, and a Congolese citizen, the court found he was nonetheless the "Commander in Chief" of forces in CAR.  The next crucial step is to decide victims' reparations - the court should consider drawing those from the accused's own coffers and include specific measures for victims of sexual violence.”

Bemba is a former leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), a rebel group from the Democratic Republic of Congo responsible for widespread sexual violence during a military campaign to help defend the former president of the Central African Republic, Ange-Félix Patassé, from a coup attempt. 

In its verdict today the ICC found him guilty, as military commander of the MLC, on two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes including murder, rape, and pillage.  

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

Verdict Monday in War Crimes Trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba

Date: 
Mar 19, 2016

Enough Project experts available for comment and analysis

On Monday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is scheduled to deliver a verdict in the war crimes trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba. Experts at the Enough Project have been following the case, and will be available for comment and analysis.

Bemba is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity including rape, murder, and pillage allegedly committed during armed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 and 2003. Bemba has denied all charges against him.

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “The Bemba trial reminds us that atrocities are often inherently transnational. It has examined the use of elite cross-border alliances, and the all-too-common reality that perpetrators can commit extreme brutality remotely, from high up a chain of command."

Bemba is a former leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), an armed rebel group which the ICC prosecution accuses of widespread sexual violence during a military campaign to help defend the former president of CAR, Ange-Félix Patassé, from a coup attempt. 

Dranginis added: "Monday's judgement, now six years in the making, comes at an historic moment as a brand new government takes office in CAR, where Bemba's alleged crimes took place over a decade ago. In Bemba's case, the ICC has broken new ground on critical issues like witness intimidation, and sent a timely message to governments in CAR and DRC [The Democratic Republic of the Congo] that abuse of power will not be ignored."

During the trial, the prosecution has argued Bemba is liable for the alleged crimes of his troops. The Bemba trial began in November 2010. 

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

New Report - Point of Origin: Status Report on the Impact of Dodd-Frank 1502 in Congo

Photo: Erberto Zani / www.erbertozani.com

In a new Enough Project report based on 2015 and 2016 field research in eastern Congo, Senior Policy Analyst Holly Dranginis provides a status update on the impact of Dodd-Frank 1502 in Congo, including progress, challenges, and policy recommendations for continued improvements.  Read More »

Nigeria Has Decided, But in Sudan Elections Don't Mean Choice

Yesterday, in an historic election, Nigeria had its first peaceful and democratic power transfer. This month, Africa will see another election, in President Omar al Bashir's Sudan. Unfortunately, there, elections don't necessarily mean choice. Given current restrictions on civil society organizations, some fear that if the elections proceed on April 13th, they will only intensify the conflict and worsen the humanitarian crisis in Sudan.  Read More »

Right to the Truth: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Credit: Holly Dranginis/Enough Project

In recognition of one of the newest universal human rights, March 24 was proclaimed in 2010 to be the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. First litigated in a case against Ecuador for failing to provide truth and justice for the family of a victim, the understanding of the right to truth has expanded over time as belonging not only to members of victims’ families, but to all members of society. While not a substitute for justice, truth is essential to ensuring lasting peace in conflict-affected communities.  Read More »

Enough 101: The GHRAVITY Executive Order and Sudan

In this 101, Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst Akshaya Kumar answers 5 questions about the GHRAVITY Executive Order (Grave Human Rights Abuses by the Governments of Iran and Syria Via Information Technology) and how it can be expanded to allow the U.S. to target the middle men and enablers of atrocities in Sudan.  Read More »

Enough and Coalition Write to Secretary Kerry on Democracy in Congo

Editor's Note: The letter below, from a coalition of experts and NGOs including the Enough Project, was released recently. The letter, directed at Secretary of State John Kerry, supports the U.S. Government's ongoing efforts to promote free and fair elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and proposes specific steps for enhancing engagement.  Read More »

Ending Grand Theft on a Global Scale: Prosecuting the War Crime of Pillage

M23 rebel fighters north of Goma, DRC (2012) AP Photo/Jerome Delay

In Enough Project Policy Analyst Holly Dranginis’ latest report, Grand Theft Global: Prosecuting the War Crime of Natural Resource Pillage in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dranginis provides an inside look at why the widespread theft of minerals in Congo has gone on unpunished, and how policymakers and legal practitioners can help advance cases.  Grand Theft Global is the result of research in Congo, The Hague, and Washington, DC, including dozens of interviews with Congolese attorneys, international prosecutors, and local communities affected by pillage and the violence it enables.  Read More »

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