Congolese Women Angered by ICC Decision to Drop Sexual Violence Charges
Monday, June 9, 2008 10:06 AM

Lawyers, women's organizations, and survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are outraged by the International Criminal Court's decision to drop charges of sexual slavery against two militia leaders, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo, who were indicted on these and other charges of playing leading roles in inter-ethnic violence in the DRC. Rape was widely used as a weapon of war in the Ituri region, but the charges against Katanga and Ngudjolo were the only alleged crimes of sexual violence relating to the conflict that were slated for prosecution. Now that the ICC has dropped the charges due to an internal dispute over witness protection, many women feel that the court is ignoring their horrific experiences. Advocates and victims had hoped that prosecutions in the ICC would help compensate for lax enforcement of a 2006 national law on sexual violence that was supposed to make punishment of these crimes a priority in the DRC.

Compiled from: Women's U.N. Report Network; Jacques Kahorha, "Outcry Over ICC's Scrapping of Rape Charges," Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 3 June 2008.