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DRC: Minova rape trial verdict criticized

 

rape trials, DRC, FADRC, Minova

A veiled witness and rape survivor gives testitomony during proceedings while a member of the prosecution holds the microphone. Photo source: Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi (Al Jazeera).

On 20th November 2012 more than 130 women and girls in the eastern village of Minova, were raped and sexually assaulted by members of the Congolese armed forces. 39 soldiers were charged and implicated in the case and tried in a military court in Goma, North Kivu.

The trial of the 39 Congolese soldiers accused of the 2012 mass rape, committed in the eastern village of Minova DRC, concluded this week. The verdict of the trial was issued and two were convicted of rape, 13 cleared and the remainder convicted of lesser charges.

The verdict was criticized by civil society. Avocats Sans Frontières called the ruling unsatisfactory and considered that the ruling could only be a first step in the search for the culprits. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said the verdict was a new affront to victims.

Brigid Inder [Executive Director Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice], Zainab Hawa Bangura [UN special representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict] and Victoria Dove Dimandja [Co-Founder of the Congolese Women’s Group in the UK] also discussed the verdict in an Al-Jazeera interview.

Moreover, the UN Human Rights Office stated that the trial exposed the shortcomings of the Congolese justice system.

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