The rule of law and military justice
There are two main reasons why ROL Section is involved in strengthening the capacity of the DRC military justice system, as called for in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1925.
First, the military justice system is a vehicle for promoting the rule of law and respect for human rights. It is the main legal tool and accountability mechanism within the FARDC and armed groups for ending the culture of impunity amongst its members.
Second, reforming and strengthening the capacity of the military justice system is also an essential tool for post-conflict security sector reform in the DRC. The level of individual and institutional discipline of the FARDC is low. Improving the effectiveness of the DRC military justice system is therefore an essential prerequisite for progress in improving the discipline and operational effectiveness of the FARDC, and consequently its ability to fulfill its constitutionally mandated mission of protecting the DRC and its people, in a manner which is consonant with its obligations under Congolese and international law, including respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
The military justice component of the ROL Section
The Rule of Law Section works closely with Congolese military justice authorities, including the Auditeur-Général and the President of the High Military Court, in furtherance of these goals. The Section also works closely with international donors and other UN agencies to secure the necessary resource support to enable this to happen.
One of the main projects of the Rule of Law component in the military justice field is the creation and operation of Prosecution Support Cells (PSCs). Under paragraph 12 d) of its resolution 1925 (2010), the Security Council has mandated MONUSCO to “Support national and international efforts to bring perpetrators to justice, including by establishing Prosecution Support Cells to assist the FARDC military justice authorities in prosecuting persons arrested by the FARDC”.
Each PSC is composed of experienced military and civilian prosecutors and police investigators (government provided personnel) will provide technical advice and logistical support to FARDC military prosecutors and investigators in the conduct of investigations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, with a particular emphasis on sex crimes, as well as in the conduct of investigation of other violent crimes, such as homicide, pillage of natural resources and sexual violence perpetrated in the Eastern Provinces of the DRC.
Objectives of PSCs
Through the provision of tangible technical and logistical support to the Congolese military and civilian justice authorities in the DRC, MONUSCO seeks to achieve the following objectives by the establishment of the PSCs:
- improve the capacity of military and civilian justice authorities to investigate and prosecute serious crimes, including sexual offences, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and consequently achieve tangible results in the fight against impunity;
- promote respect for human rights in the context of joint military operations;
- shield military justice personnel from undue command interference, intimidation, and retaliation;
- deter corruption;
- build the long-term capacity of military and civilian investigators and prosecutors through the mentoring and on-the job-training of personnel;
- achieve a train-the-trainers effect, whereby staff trained and mentored by PSCs could, for their part, share knowledge and train peers and junior investigation and prosecution personnel.
The PSC initiative is a joint effort of the Government of DRC and other bilateral partners (the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which is the implementing partner, the Government of Canada (funding), Peace Building Fund (PBF), the UN Standing Police Capacity, the Government of USA, …)