Establish Specialized Mixed Chambers and Adopt ICC Implementing Legislation
During the Current Parliamentary Session
The 146 undersigned Congolese civil society and international human rights organizations
welcome recent commitments by authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to ensure
justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity. They call on the government to press for adoption of the draft law establishing Specialized Mixed Chambers and the draft law
implementing the statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the current
parliamentary session, which began on March 15, 2014.
Repeated cycles of violence and impunity over the past two decades, particularly in eastern
Congo, have resulted in the deaths of an estimated five million people from violence, hunger
and lack of medical care. National armed forces from Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, and
numerous non-state armed groups have carried out massacres, summary executions, rape,
torture, forced recruitment of children, and pillaging and burning of homes.
While there has been some progress with national and international trials, the vast majority of the perpetrators of these crimes remain unpunished. The trials that have taken place in
Congo’s military courts have faced numerous challenges, including with regards to the
quality of investigations, protection of victims and witnesses, respect of the rights of the
accused, and ability to prosecute senior level commanders most responsible for the crimes.
The creation of a new mechanism within the Congolese judicial system to prosecute these
crimes, and adoption of the ICC implementing legislation into Congolese law, could go a
long way in finally bringing justice to victims and their families who feel forgotten and
abandoned, despite unimaginable suffering. These decisive and concrete steps to fight
impunity would also send a strong warning to rebel leaders and military commanders that
serious crimes will not go unpunished—and hopefully help bring an end to Congo’s history
of rampant abuse.