Kinshasa, 28 September 2013: In the night of 21-22 September 2013, one FARDC colonel escaped from Bukavu prison less than two weeks after he was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Military Court of South-Kivu province. The colonel escaped along with another inmate, an FARDC Major. The two military officers were sentenced by a mobile court hearing organized with the support of MONUSCO for gross human rights violations including rape and murder.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in the DRC and head of MONUSCO, Martin Kobler, said he was "deeply concerned" by their escape: "I am appealing to the Congolese officials to take the necessary actions to provide security for the witnesses, lawyers and magistrates who participated in the trial that led to the conviction of the two fugitives as well as to open judiciary investigations with a view to determining the exact circumstances of the escape and the responsibilities of the suspected accomplices. I also urge them to take the necessary actions to arrest the escapees," he said.
While welcoming the mobile court hearings and the verdict rendered by the court, MONUSCO deplores, however, the escape, which represents a step backward in the fight against impunity for the perpetrators of gross human rights violations.
MONUSCO is also concerned over the faulty security and surveillance system of the prison, which led to the escape of the two FARDC officers.