MONUSCO. Photo: congoayuk.wordpress.com via Bing.
MONUSCO. Photo: congoayuk.wordpress.com via Bing.

DRC rebel leader wanted for alleged CAH surrenders to MONUSCO: On 26 July 2017, the founder and leader of a Congolese rebel group who has been allegedly involved in a number of atrocities committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), surrendered to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in the country’s North Kivu province. Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, founder of the Nduma defense of Congo (NDC) rebel group, has been wanted since 2011 on a national warrant for  crimes against humanity, including mass rapes. He remained at large for more than six years while, and it is still unclear what prompted his surrender. According to an earlier UN report, between only 30 July and 2 August 2010, at least 387 women, men, girls, and boys were allegedly raped by a coalition of combatants from Sheka’s militia and two other armed groups in villages in eastern DRC’s Walikale territory. In its press release, MONUSCO said that it would support judicial authorities in pursuing prosecution for all human rights violations, underscoring its standing agreement with the DRC government which ensures that those who are handed over are treated in accordance with all relevant human rights standards.“Thousands of civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been affected by crimes committed by forces under Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka’s command, and many still fear the next attack,” said Human Rights Watch Central Africa director Ida Sawyer. “His surrender today brings hope for justice and a reprieve from the violence,” she added. (MONUSCO Press Release, AlJazeera, HRW, TheWashingtonPost)

MONUSCO. Photo: africadefensejournal.wordpress.com via Bing.
MONUSCO. Photo: africadefensejournal.wordpress.com via Bing.

UN High Commissioner for HR announces appointment of team of experts to investigate abuses in Kasai regions of DRC: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein announced the appointment of a team of international experts to investigate the situation in the DRC’s Kasai regions. The team of experts, composed by Bacre Ndiaye (Senegal), Luc Côté (Canada) and Fatimata M’Baye (Mauritania), was mandated by a UN Human Rights Council resolution on 22 June 2017, in which the Council had expressed grave concerns about reports of serious and gross human rights abuses, as well as violations of international humanitarian law, in the Kasai regions. Some of the abuses reported include the “recruitment and use of child soldiers, sexual and gender-based violence, destruction of houses, schools, places of worship, and State infrastructure by local militias, as well as of mass graves”. The resolution, which commissioned the experts to investigate the situation further, also called upon the Government of the DRC to cooperate with the team so that the conclusions of the investigation can be used to “establish the truth and to ensure that the perpetrators of deplorable crimes are all accountable to the judicial authorities of the DRC”. (MONUSCO Press Release)

ICC Trust Fund for Victims implementation plan in Katanga case: On 25 July, the ICC Trust Fund for Victims submitted to ICC Trial Chamber II a draft implementation plan for individual and collective reparations in the Katanga case. In its order for reparations of 24 March 2017, the Trial Chamber had ordered individual compensation to 297 identified victims, and four collective award to all victims in the form of housing and education assistance, income generating activities and psychological rehabilitation. The draft plan proposes different categories of reparations’ services corresponding to the findings of harm suffered by the victims, and offers flexibility to the victims in order to account for their current situation and needs. The current draft, informed by extensive consultations with the Legal Representatives of Victims, the authorities in Ituri and Kinshasa in the DRC and the Defence counsel for Mr Katanga, describes in particular the various services of support for housing, for income‑generating activities, education aid, and psychological to be implemented. (ICC Press Release, TFV Draft Implementation Plan)