Monday, April 27, 2015

Reforms proposed in DRC

A wide-ranging set of legislative proposals is being discussed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Among them:
Guarantee the exclusive jurisdiction of civilian courts over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide:
To date in Congo, only military courts have exercised jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity. As explained above, there have been concerns about trials for grave international crimes before military courts in Congo.
Recognizing the difficulties military justice systems have prosecuting offenses against civilians by military personnel, international and regional standards recommend that military courts should not be involved in prosecuting serious human rights violations, and should focus purely on military offenses.[3] This approach is recommended for a number of reasons, including that serious human rights violations do not fall within the scope of military duties, that access to military justice may be difficult or traumatizing for victims of serious crimes committed by soldiers, and that military justice systems may lack impartiality when prosecuting members of their own ranks.
[3] UN Human Rights Commission, Updated set of principles for the promotion and protection of human rights through action to combat impunity, E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1, Resolution 2005/81, April 21, 2005, principle 29; Draft Principles Governing the Administration of Justice through Military Tribunals, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2006/58, January 13, 2006, draft principle 9; UNGA Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted December 18, 1992, G.A. res. 47/133, 47 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 207, U.N. Doc. A/47/49 (1992), Art. 16, which states that persons presumed responsible for such crimes "shall be tried only by the competent ordinary courts in each State, and not by any other special tribunal, in particular military courts." The same principle exists in the 1995 Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, article IX; African Commission on Human and People's Rights 2008 Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, Principle L(a).

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