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Keen interest in trial of militia leader

Publish date: 03 December 2018
Issue Number: 802
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: DRC

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the trial of a militia leader for mass rape and other grave crimes is crucial for justice in the DRC. Ntabo Sheka is being prosecuted for crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism, and related charges in a trial that began last week in the eastern city of Goma. HRW says Congolese judicial authorities, with the support of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, should ensure that justice is done in a fair, credible and impartial manner, and provide victims meaningful redress. ‘Sheka's trial marks an important moment for justice for thousands of victims of rape and other ghastly crimes in eastern Congo,’ said Ida Sawyer, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. ‘Ensuring a fair trial for those accused of the most serious crimes is a crucial step in ending the cycles of violence and impunity that have plagued the region for over two decades.’ Between 30 July and 2 August, 2010, Sheka's militia and two other armed groups allegedly raped at least 387 women, men, girls and boys in 13 villages. The other armed groups include the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and a group made up of Congolese army deserters. Sheka stands trial with his private nurse, Jean Batechi; NDC fighter Jean Claude Kamutoto; and Séraphin Nzitonda. Another co-accused, Sadoke Mayele, died in prison in Goma in August 2012.

HRW statement