Thursday, December 3, 2015

Obstacle to prosecuting senior officers in DRC

Nick Branson has written this analytical article for Africa In Fact concerning the administration of justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo. About military courts he observes:
Another concern is that Congolese military courts cannot prosecute the most senior generals because the presiding judge must hold a superior rank to the accused. The Congolese armed forces are extremely top-heavy as a result of successive peace deals that included integrating rebel leaders into the army. This means the "big fish" will escape prosecution, argues Pascale Kambale, an international human rights lawyer with the Open Society Foundations. 
But this could be improved if the judicial services commission, rather than the military command, nominated judges. This would depoliticise the process and enable the most capable judges to serve across Congolese territory, regardless of the officers posted to their jurisdiction. Of course, the military might resist such an attempt for the civilian legal system to encroach on its independence, but this approach remains the only prospect of addressing impunity.

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