Ituri: MONUSCO and UNDP Support the Fight against Impunity for Crimes against the Peace and Security of Humanity
MONUSCO and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in collaboration with the High Military Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo, organised a workshop from 14 to 15 July 2021 in Bunia to take stock of the provincial strategy for prioritising the prosecution of crimes against the peace and security of humanity in Ituri.
Twenty-three participants, including two women, took part in this two-day reflection, which made it possible to update the list of priority cases and to mobilise partners for joint support in the fight against impunity for crimes against the peace and security of humanity.
For two days, participants had to review the provincial strategies, to document the results obtained, to analyse the success factors and to draw the conclusions in the form of a report of the study on the Strategy for Prioritising Prosecutions in the east of the DRC where this strategy has been tested in its initial phase since 2019.
"Justice is confronted with important challenges, unfortunately the means to face them do not always follow or are insufficient. This is why a system has been put in place to prioritise some cases and to concentrate most of the resources so that these cases can be handled conclusively, and we can achieve results that will enable us to effectively fight impunity for serious crimes. This is why we have come back to see how these cases are evolving, to see if there is any bottleneck and to put our thoughts together and try to pull out of it, ‘’ explained Colonel Freddy Mukendi, president of the chamber of the High Military Court.
The various presentations given during the workshop showed, among other things, that there had been progress and positive results in the prosecution of crimes against the peace and security of humanity, as well as the mobilisation and synergy of the actors involved in the thematic. Visible progress was also noted in the prosecution of members of the security forces (military and police officers), alleged perpetrators of gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. However, some cases will have to be dealt with more swiftly. "One of the aims of this workshop was to develop strategies to see how to make their investigation successful," explained Colonel Freddy Mukendi.
‘’It is a question of looking at the criteria that were decided at the beginning to prioritise some of the cases, to apply them to those that are in progress in the different provinces and to concentrate the means from the technical and financial partners for their happy outcome. The context depends on each province... We need to see with the local judicial authorities, taking into account local realities and the specific problems encountered in the province, where we stand and how to overcome any obstacles encountered in the investigation of these cases ’’.
Fight against Impunity
In the context of armed conflicts and state of siege, as is the case in Ituri, with a multitude of local and international armed groups committing crimes against civilians, the focus is on the prosecution of serious crimes against the peace and security of humanity, explained the organisers of this workshop, in order not to leave these crimes and their alleged perpetrators unpunished.
‘’Strategies should be crafted and adequate resources provided to stop these crimes or, at least, to reduce them to the strict minimum ; the state of siege is one of the measures taken by the national authorities to effectively combat this type of crimes. The Provincial Strategy for the Prioritisation of the Prosecution of the Crimes reinforces the state of siege’’.
Finally, this two-day workshop also noted with regret that, although included in the decisions rendered by the courts, fewer allocations of damages are effectively granted to the victims who are the complainant in the lawsuit.