Eleven DRCongo troops to go on trial on rape charges
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 09, 2011, 23:59
  
Kinshasa: Eleven government troops, including four officers, are to go on trial in eastern DR Congo on charges of raping three dozen women since early January, judicial sources said Wednesday.

A military court in the eastern town of Bukavu, in Sud-Kivu province, will try the 11, including a lieutanent-colonel and three majors, in the eastern town of Baraka from tomorrow, said Colonel Freddy Mukendi, who heads the court.

The suspects are accused of raping at least 35 women and injuring 32 other people during the night of December 31 to January 1 in the town of Fizi.

The attacks led UN human rights chief Navy Pillay to urge Kinshasa to ensure a prompt investigation and to ask that the perpetrators be brought to justice as soon as possible.

The trial is expected to last 10 days and groups such as the American Bar Association, Avocats Sans Frontieres (Lawyers Without Borders), the UN Development Program and the UN mission in DRCongo MONUSCO are covering travel expenses for the victims and the court as well defence lawyer fees.

Late in January, the government questioned UN allegations that its soldiers raped 67 women that month, saying it only confirmed three cases and had arrested several suspects.

The UN Joint Human Rights Office had said the rapes occurred in the Sud-Kivu and Nord-Kivu provinces in the unstable east of the country, where many armed groups operate, on the night of January 1.

However government troops had only arrived in an area of Nord-Kivu where 32 rapes were allegedly committed on January 2, government spokesman Lambert Mende said in a statement, expressing "reservations" about the claims.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, February 09, 2011, 23:59


comments powered by Disqus