Case against the Democratic Republic of Congo before the African Commission, on collective rape during military operations

The case involves collective rape and was filed on 4 Oct 2016 before the African Commission by IHRDA in collaboration with Equality Now and Association of Women’s Human Rights Lawyers. The violations took place during a military operation in 2011 where roughly fifty women were victims of collective rape in front of their husbands and children, beatings, destruction, looting of shops, extortion of phones and money found on the victims. On 21 February 2011, the Military Court of South Kivu sentenced nine out of eleven of the said military men to terms ranging from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment for various crimes including crimes against humanity by imprisonment or other serious deprivation of liberty, crime against humanity by rape, a crime against humanity by other inhumane acts of a similar character, and terrorism. In addition, the Court held that the perpetrators and the State were jointly liable to pay the plaintiffs damages totaling USD 10,000 for each of the victims of rape; USD 10,000 for each of the victims of imprisonment; USD 200 for each of the victims of assault and battery; and USD 500 for each of the victims of robbery and extortion;

All those convicted appealed to the High Military Court sitting in Kinshasa. After their conviction, convicts were said to have escaped from the central prison in Bukavu while others were granted amnesty. The case has been pending before the High Military Court since 2011 and victims have not attended hearings because they were unable to pay their transportation and accommodation in Kinshasa. Due to the failure of the State to prosecute and punish the perpetrators, the lawyer for the victims requested assistance from IHRDA and EN to jointly bring the case to the regional level. IHRDA is awaiting confirmation of receipt from the Commission after filing the seizure letter.

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