The United Nations welcome that “Criminalization of torture in the DRC is moving forward”
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
9 July 2013
(…) Two years after the enactment of the law criminalizing torture, the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) welcomes progress in the fight against this scourge and the first convictions of state agents who have practiced or encouraged the use of torture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Since the enactment of the law on the criminalization of torture on 9 July 2011, a law which legally defines and criminalizes this crime for the first time in the history of the country, at least five soldiers of the Congolese armed forces (FARDC), five agents of the Congolese National Police, one agent of the national intelligence service and one administrative official have been convicted for practicing and/or encouraging the use of torture. Sentences which ranged from six months to life imprisonment were imposed by courts in Equateur, Bas Congo, Kasai Occidental, Katanga, Maniema and Orientale provinces.
Since 2012, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights has engaged in a series of activities across the country to sensitize defense and security forces, judicial authorities and civil society actors on the content of the law and to ensure its effective implementation. (…)
“I am pleased with the considerable progress which has been accomplished by the government in order to ensure conformity with national law and international standards and to put an end to the cycle of impunity which prevails for acts of torture”, said Juan E. Mendez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (…)
Investigations into acts of torture and effective prosecutions of perpetrators by Congolese judicial authorities should dissuade potential perpetrators from committing extremely grave cases of torture. In this respect, the UNJHRO continues to support the authorities in all actions aimed at prosecuting presumed perpetrators of torture, acts for which they must answer before the law.
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