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Human Rights Council – Report of the UPR Working Group on Democratic Republic of Congo
December 3, 2009

Consideration of UPR Reports

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Political Counselor Mark Cassayre

December 3, 2009, Geneva

Merci M. le President,

Nous remercions Monsieur le Ministre, Son Excellence Upiro Kakura Wapol, et sa délégation pour la présentation aujourd’hui et pour leur participation au processus de l’EPU.

According to the seven thematic special procedures for the DRC, fighting impunity should be the Government’s number one priority. What concrete investigative, disciplinary, and judicial actions has the Government taken in 2009 to remove and suspend identified perpetrators of serious human rights violations or crimes, especially sexual violence, from the ranks of the Congolese military (the FARDC), and particularly the ex-rebels integrated into the military since March who have been accused of unlawful killing and rape in the context of the “Kimia II” counter-insurgency operation in eastern DRC?

The United States recommends that the Government significantly increase its commitment to fight impunity – specifically that 1) it suspend , investigate, and prosecute as appropriate FARDC soldiers who have been identified as perpetrators of serious human rights abuses or crimes, including the FARDC’s 213th Brigade, as well as the five members of the FARDC who were credibly accused of serious human rights abuses by MONUC and the UN Security Council over the past year; and 2) that it establish an effective screening mechanism to vet the past human rights records of officers, particularly for important posts in the military.

The DRC has undertaken a commitment to cooperate with the ICC on cases that the DRC government has self-referred to the Court. The United States urges the DRC to meet that commitment and uphold its treaty obligations by arresting Bosco Ntaganda and transferring him to the ICC.

The United States notes that torture and ill-treatment of suspects and prisoners and failure to provide food and basic health care in Congolese detention facilities continue. We also note that UN officials have raised very serious concerns about the DRC’s prisons.

The United States recommends that the Government of the DRC grant UN special rapporteurs regular access to detention facilities run by the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) and the Republican Guard, and that it adopt a viable action plan to better address the urgent need for comprehensive penal system reform.

The United States further recommends that the Government of the DRC prepare action plans to identify, release, and ensure reintegration of all unlawful child soldiers, to prevent further recruitment, to investigate and prosecute those perpetrators of child soldering who have violated domestic criminal law, and to address other violations and abuses committed against children, including all forms of forced child labor and child prostitution.

Thank you, Mr. President.