Democratic Republic of Congo: Mobile Court Convicts Military Officers of New Year's Day Mass Rape
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:30 PM

In response to the New Year's Day mass rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Fizi mobile court in Baraka, DRC, passed a verdict on February 21, 2011, concerning several military officers involved in the rape of over fifty women and girls. Four senior military officers were convicted of rape and terrorism as crimes against humanity and were sentenced to 20 years in prison. The court also found five other lower-ranked soldiers guilty of rape and inhumane acts. These soldiers received sentences of 10 or 15 years.

Mobile courts were created in the DRC to address gender violence victims’ inability to access justice. In the DRC, the vast majority of perpetrators go unpunished. Mobile courts reduce victims’ problems of accessing justice by bringing the rule of law to remote and vulnerable communities. Consequently, officials are eager to facilitate the mobile court’s’ prosecution of sex crimes. The mobile courts have jurisdiction over military and civil cases and are complementary to the International Criminal Court.

Though tens of thousands of severe crimes continue to go unpunished, the example of the Fizi mobile court’s convictions and the speed of the investigation, arrests, and trial provide hope for a future DRC that has higher legal accountability and lower levels of sexual violence.

Compiled from: WURNMobile Gender Justice CourtFizi Mobile Court: Rape Verdicts, (2 March 2011).