On the night of October 14, 2004, a group of poorly armed and unorganised individuals attacked the small south eastern town of Kilwa. Calling themselves the Mouvement Révolutionnaire de Libération du Katanga (MRLK), they took over the town, and about 100 youths voluntarily joined their ranks. No human rights violations were reported during this period.
Shortly after, the Australian company Anvil Mining called in the 62th Infantry Brigade of the Congolese army stationed in Pweto, about 135 kms away, and provided trucks, drivers, food and other logistical support to facilitate their movement to Kilwa.
The army invaded the town in full force, bombing homes and conducting arbitrary arrests, unlawful detentions, torture, pillage and summary executions.
A UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) investigation carried out 22-24 October 2004 put the death toll at 73, including summary executions of 28 arrestees. In 2007, 8 accused army commanders and 3 Anvil Mining employees were brought before a military court but the case was dismissed. An appeal against this decision was also dismissed on procedural misconduct, thus blocking any chances of reparation for the victims at the domestic level.
Alleged violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The complainants alleged the violation of their rights as guaranteed by the African Charter. In particular, they allege violations of;
Article – 1 Obligation of Member States
Article – 4 Rights to life
Article – 5 Prohibition of Torture
Article – 6 Protection from Arbitrary Arrest
Article – 7(1) Right to fair trial
Article – 14 Right to Property
Article – 26 Duty to Guarantee Independence of Courts
This communication was filed before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Status of the Communication
The people of Kilwa, represented by IHRDA, Action contre l’impunité des droits humains (ACIDH) and Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) filed a communication before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACmHPR) against the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This communication was found admissible during the 15th Extraordinary Session of the African Commission held in Banjul from the 7th to 14th March 2014.
IHRDA’s litigation partners in this communication are Action contre l’impunité des droits humains (ACIDH) and Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID).