KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The office of the Personal Representative to fight sexual violence and child recruitment into armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) welcomes the conviction of a high-ranking officer and members of the Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) and officers and members of the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC) for rape and other crimes committed against women and girls.
Personal Representative Ms. Jeanine Mabunda notes that the conviction on 7 November 2014 by the FARDC Military Court of General Jerome Kakwavu to 10 years imprisonment for rape, murder and torture as well as the conviction and imprisonment of 25 other FARDC soldiers and PNC officers in separate cases in October 2014 for rape of women and girls in Masisi and Rutshuru, North Kivu Province, and Kananga, Kasai Occidental Province, is a direct consequence of actions taken by the government of the DRC consistent with engagements made to victims of sexual violence, national and international stakeholders.
The Personal Representative reiterates that these convictions demonstrate that the political and military authorities of DRC, under the leadership of His Excellency President Joseph Kabila Kabange are, without reservations, focused on putting an end to patterns of sexual violence in the DRC by holding perpetrators accountable regardless of their status, rank or profile.
"While the recent adoption of the Action Plan of the FARDC to address sexual violence was a major milestone, the convictions of General Kakwavu and other FARDC and PNC members translate it into a concrete and successful outcome," said Personal Representative Mabunda. She adds that these convictions will "provide a solid basis to reassure victims of sexual violence and our partners that the government remains committed in rhetoric and more importantly in actions and that no perpetrator, regardless of their rank, is above the law."
The Personal Representative expresses her gratitude and that of the government of the DRC to bilateral and multilateral partners, including but not limited to, the United Nations particularly the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, MONUSCO, donor countries and the multitude of Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations working in coordination with the government of the DRC to address sexual violence.
Despite these achievements, Personal Representative Mabunda acknowledges that serious practical, operational and institutional challenges continue to hamper the government's efforts to comprehensively address conflict related sexual violence; most notable is the need for resources to fully implement the FARDC Action Plan and other measures and programs. The government of the DRC continues to count on the support of its partners in this regard.
CONTACT: Gladys Mambulu, Gmambulu@stopdrcchildrecuritment.com, 243-974-5555-40
SOURCE Office of Personal Representative