US News In the DRC, the difficult access to justice for women victims of rape

17:10  25 november  2020
17:10  25 november  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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For women and girls in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC ), rape is a constant threat. Armed groups that used rape as weapon of war are not brought to justice , but instead given amnesty and integrated into the national army or let into general society, where they rape once more.

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La Cour suprême de Justice à Kinshasa, en RDC. © RFI / Habibou Bangré The Supreme Court of Justice in Kinshasa, in the DRC.

The DRC is one of the countries where the rape of women is often used as a weapon of war. According to a 2019 United Nations report, the country recorded 900 rape victims, most of whom were recorded in the eastern part of the country plagued by armed conflict.

From our correspondent in Lubumbashi, Denise Maheho

"I am under 18 and the man is 33 years old. One day the young man took me by force and now I am pregnant. Today her family threw me out. Myself, I cannot go to court because I have no money ", testifies a young girl who preferred to remain anonymous. Welcomed at the Lubumbashi legal clinic after suffering an rape a few months ago, she comes to seek assistance in order to take legal action.

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Against this backdrop, Access to Justice for Women : India’s Response to Sexual Violence in Conflict and Social Upheaval (Report) examines four examples of sexual violence against women in the Indian. states of Punjab, J&K, Gujarat, and Odisha. The case examples focus on the efforts of female victims

against women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo , where rape is used as a tactic of war. Even though the weak judicial system makes sexual violence difficult to prosecute, women are for victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Продолжительность

In Haut-Katanga, further south of the DRC, some ,315 cases of rape were recorded according to official statistics during the first two months of this year. In Lubumbashi , the legal clinic is the only structure that supports victims before the courts. A few years ago, she was helping 100 victims a year. Today it can only attend 20 due to lack of funding.

Substantial legal costs

A major problem, all the more so as in these cases, magistrates sometimes demand costs of up to $ 1,000, a sum far greater than the victims' financial means.

“We have to confirm the complaint, we have to buy papers. When a magistrate has to go down on the ground to go and relive the reconstruction of the facts, he always asks for costs. The non-payment of these costs sometimes puts the magistrate in the uncomfortable position of asking the parties to find a compromise, ”says Thimothé Mbuya, head of the legal clinic.

Asked about the situation, the prosecutor of the general prosecutor's office of Lubumbashi, Leon Kuminga, condemned these illegal practices and declared to have warned the magistrates against corruption.

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