3/20/2017

Impunity in the Great Lakes Region

In contrast, the credible threat of prosecution can have a positive effect by stigmatizing and isolating a disruptive actor from the political scene. The indictment
of Charles Taylor by the Sierra Leone Special Court, for example, undermined his political stature, hastened his departure from Monrovia and thus has helped
to strengthen stability in the region.
Therefore, when the council enumerates recommendations for the situation we urge you to include specific steps to end impunity in the resolution or action
plan. Furthermore, we urge you to see such steps are implemented on the ground. I will enumerate a few specific recommendations.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
In the Congo we welcome the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ituri. We look forward to the issuance of arrest warrants for those most
responsible for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole regardless of their official position or nationality. The ICC
prosecutor has the opportunity to send a strong message against impunity across the region and we urge him to maximize it. But ICC involvement alone is not
enough to end impunity for the serious crimes that occurred since 1996. The ICC will only try a handful of perpetrators. As a practical necessity and to best
strengthen the rule of law, many more trials for war crimes should take place in the Congo. To that end, we look forward to the passage by the transitional
parliament of ICC implementing legislation consistent with international human rights norms. The law contains provisions granting authority to eleven appeals
courts to try violations of international humanitarian law. But this is only a first step. These trials will be complex and the court system of the Congo will need
targeted international assistance to develop the capacity to conduct these trials. We applaud the success of the European Commission’s pilot project for
rebuilding justice in Ituri. It is an important step, but it is very limited. We urge the international community to provide the expertise and resources necessary
for the Congo to strengthen its national judicial system.
MONUC forces should also assist in the arrest of individuals sought by the ICC and Congolese authorities. MONUC’s mandate, as set forth in Resolution 1565
and reiterated recently in Resolution 1649, includes cooperation with efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. We urge the Security Council to continue to make
justice a priority in its initiatives in the Congo. We also believe MONUC should strengthen its rule of law unit to be able to better assist in developing national
judicial capacity.
While some of these actions will unfold over the medium term, we urge that immediate steps-- consistent with Resolution 1649 -- be taken to assist Congolese
authorities in bringing to justice perpetrators of grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law. This will send a strong message that the
culture of impunity will not be tolerated. The council should urge the Congolese government, neighboring countries, and MONUC to arrest known human
rights abusers. This should include former general Laurent Nkunda whose renegade forces are responsible for renewed fighting in North Kivu last week and
continuing abuses against civilians. Nkunda’s role in the eastern Congo exemplifies the dynamic link between justice and peace: bringing Laurent Nkunda to
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