DRC: Legal Framework for Conflict-Related SGBV Prosecution

Crimes Against Humanity (6)

Analysis of crimes, liabilities, mens rea, penalties, statutes of limitation and procedural law

National Legal Requirements: Prosecution of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Brussels, March 2017
96 pages
ISBN: 978-82-8348-194-5.
PURL: http://www.legal-tools.org/doc/f06792. 

FireShot Capture 131 - DRC Report_ p. 26_ - https___mail.google.com_mail_u_0_#inbox_15af6779caea8ddc

The Report analyses the legal framework for the prosecution of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It maps legislative changes that aim to transfer the prosecution of such crimes from the exclusive jurisdiction of the military justice system to the civilian system. The report analyses the definitions of SGBV crimes under several national laws, as well as alternative charges, liabilities, penalties and procedural issues. The Report identifies provisions that enable or limit the effect of the law and proposes possible solutions, where limitations are identified. The Report reviewed multiple laws including modifications and amendments to legislation including the Laws on Sexual Violence (2006); Child Protection Law (2009); Criminal Code (modified 2015); Military Criminal Code (modified 2015); and the ICC Act (2016).

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Access relevant Congolese provisions and jurisprudence on sexual violence

Recent developments in the domestic legislation of the DRC include the enactment of laws that not only cover core international crimes, but also provide for sexual and gender-based violence. Substantial progress was made regarding the definition of rape, which was adjusted to match international standards in 2006.

Compare Congolese legislation on sexual and gender-based violence with the International Criminal Court’s framework

In addition to the crime of rape, some crimes, such as the crime of sexual slavery and enforced prostitution, broadly comply with standards set out in the International Criminal Court’s Elements of Crimes. Other crimes such as ‘other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity’ have not been specifically defined, but remain prosecutable under other charges and provisions, from torture to murder.

Understand the institutional framework for SGBV prosecution following legislative reform

The Report also examines issues of criminal procedure, discussing the criminal complaint process and the obstacles and burdens that this might imply for victims of sexual violence. Obstacles include ambiguity on the criteria for closing an investigation into conflict-related sexual violence, a lack of legal certainty about the time the proceedings will take and the financial burden that a civil party victim must take on to get his or her case heard in the first instance. Accordingly, the Report assesses the situation prior to the amendments and the enactment of the 2006 Law on Sexual Violence, as well as after its adoption.

Other relevant publications

This report is part of a series of reports on the national legal requirements of the prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence in DRC, CAR and Colombia.

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