Alert: Keep track of all human rights news on our website and social media!
Democratic Republic of the Congo
06.12.02
Urgent Interventions

DRC: arrest of defender

Case COD 270401.CC
CHILD CONCERN

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT is very concerned about the death penalty to which 4 children were condemned by the Military Court (COM, Cour d’Ordre Militaire) of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Military Court is an exceptional court from which no appeal is possible. In each of these cases the trials have allegedly been carried out summarily.

According to the Comité des Observateurs des droits de l’Homme (CODHO), a member of OMCT, the convicted children are:

1. Diyavanga Nkuyu, born on 15 March 1984, arrested on 25 February 1999 and convicted in May 1999 for criminal association;
2. Mbumba Ilunga, born on 26 January 1984, arrested on 13 September 2000 and convinted on 11 October 2000 for involuntary murder;
3. Mwati Kabwe, born on 15 Mai 1984, arrested on 2 September 2000 and convicted on 10 October 2000 for involuntary murder;
4. Bosey Jean-Louis, born on 25 Mai 1984, arrested on 2 June 1999 and convicted on 2 July 1999 for involuntary murder.

According to the information received, all these children were convicted as soldiers at the time of the facts. They are currently awaiting the execution of their sentences in the ex Makala central prison in Kinshasa.

Summary of the judicial procedure

The Congolese military penal code subjects every soldier, including those under 18 years old, to the competence of the armed forces jurisdiction and to punishments stipulated by military law.

Furthermore, the international secretariat of OMCT recalls that, according to the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the DRC, the COM has been widely criticised for its failure to satisfy the conditions of independence and of impartiality in its judgements. The COM exercises prerogative powers that are incompatible with international norms on the administration of justice. In particular, its statutes do not allow any form of appeal.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo urging them to:

i. immediately repeal the death sentences passed on each child, in conformity with their international obligation established art. 6, paragraph 5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and reiterated in article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
ii. ensure that the children sentenced to death have the right to appeal the sentence before a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body, according to article 40, paragraph 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
iii. amend the Congolese legislation as a matter of priority in order to abolish the death penalty for children under 18 years of age;
iv. ensure the competence, independence and impartiality of the COM as well as the fairness of its procedures, according to article 14 paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as article 40, paragraph 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
v. recognize the necessity for every child to be judged by judges with a special training in juvenile justice;
vi. guarantee the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards and, in particular, the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Addresses:

President Joseph Kabila. Présidence de la République, Kinshasa-Ngaliema, République Démocratique du Congo. Fax (+ 243) 880 02 120

Minister of Justice, Ministère de la Justice, BP 3137, Kinshasa Gombé, République Démocratique du Congo. Fax : (+243) 880 55 21

Minister of Human Rights, Ministre des droits humains, Fax : (+243) 12 20 664

Please also write to the embassies of Democratic Republic of Congo in your respective country.

Geneva, April 27, 2001

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
Sign up now

Subscribe to our latest news & alerts