DRC: Reference Group on Prioritisation of Conflict-Related SGBV


From left to right: Olympia Bekou (Deputy Director, CMN), Eugene Bakama (Advisor, CAD), Eloi Urwodhi (Advisor, LIPADHOJ)

CMN hosts reference group and NGO meeting in Kinshasa on the prioritisation of conflict-related sexual violence

Between 20 – 24 February 2017, CMN hosted a series of exchanges in Kinshasa, to discuss the development, adoption and implementation of a prioritisation strategy for the investigation and prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence. This included a reference group meeting of national experts and an exchange with civil society representatives.

Reference Group of National Experts

Officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Superior Council of Magistrates and MONUSCO joined CMN and its national partners Ligue pour la Paix, les droits de l’homme et la justice (LIPADHOJ) and Club des amis du droit du Congo (CAD). The Reference Group considered nascent efforts to address prioritisation issues and acknowledged the need for clear and concrete criteria as well as comprehensive case mapping throughout the country. Focusing on the gravity of the crimes and the representativity of victimisation, the group reviewed the prioritisation criteria developed by CMN since 2006 and adapted to the DRC in its report “Prioritising International Sex Crimes Cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Supporting the national justice system in the investigation and prosecution of core international crimes with a sexual element”.

The group concluded that a strategy would be welcome and called for a second meeting between relevant stakeholders in order to further discuss details of the criteria that a global prioritisation strategy for the prosecution of core international crimes in the DRC should comprise. The group also recommended hosting meetings with the relevant political actors in order to plan the adoption and implementation of a global prioritisation strategy for conflict-related sexual violence.

Civil Society: mapping and prioritising conflict-related sexual and gender based violence crimes

On 24 February 2017, CMN hosted a meeting with national NGOs to discuss needs and challenges related to the documentation and investigation of conflict-related sexual violence in the DRC. Sixteen participants from NGOs working in the justice and sexual violence sectors in Kinshasa and the eastern part of the DRC joined the meeting. The group considered the priorities of the civil society organisations present as well as the infrastructural problems that contribute to widespread impunity for sexual and gender-based violence. The civil society representatives also considered the importance and need of a prioritisation strategy in light of the infrastructural problems of the justice sector in the DRC. The meeting concluded with the adoption of an NGO declaration calling for the implementation of a national prioritisation strategy for conflict-related sexual violence.

The CMN delegation also met with Ministers, Chief of Staff and Legal Advisors at ministries and government institutions influential in the adoption of a prioritisation strategy. Together with local partners LIPADHOJ (Ligue pour la Paix, les Droits de l’Homme et la Justice) and CAD (Club des Amis du Droit du Congo), the delegation was hosted by the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Human Rights, Special Representative of the Head of State for the Fight against Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment and Superior Council of Magistrates. Officials from the ministries and state institutions acknowledged the importance of a prioritisation strategy in order to reduce the backlog of pending cases in military and civilian courts. Furthermore, they recognised the significance of a reference group that can mentor and advise the state authorities in the adoption of such a strategy.


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