FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2014
STATEMENT: Enough Project Reacts to Verdict on Sexual Violence Case in Democratic Republic of Congo
Following the release of a verdict in the eastern Congolese military court prosecuting rapes in Minova that ended with two soldiers convicted and many completed cleared, Holly Dranginis, Policy Associate at the Enough Project, released the following statement:
“Minova has sparked much-needed attention to prosecuting sexual violence in Congo and other conflict-affected states. However, it has also shined a light on deep flaws in Congo’s approach to ending impunity for atrocities. From a legal perspective, the case was doomed from the beginning, and today's verdict confirms that. The selection of indictees excluded senior commanders, but otherwise was largely arbitrary with mostly rank and file soldiers being charged. Both sides – prosecution and defense – faced a debilitating lack of resources. Evidence was scarce and mismanaged.
That said, the bravery of survivors who testified cannot be overstated. They risked their safety and wellbeing and in doing so have made a significant contribution to the global fight for sexual violence accountability.
If Congo is serious about addressing its sexual violence crisis, it must fill critical gaps in the administration of cases. We have come a long way, but there is much more work to be done.”
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The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.