Global perspective Human stories

DR Congo: UN report deplores excessive use of deadly force, impunity in poll clashes

DR Congo: UN report deplores excessive use of deadly force, impunity in poll clashes

While both the security forces and protestors claiming electoral fraud shared responsibility for deadly violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) earlier this year, the high death toll pointed to an excessive use of lethal force by the army and police, who are now enjoying impunity, the United Nations reported today.

In a report on the clashes in the western Bas-Congo province between security forces and the political-religious group Bundi Dia Kongo (BDK), in which 105 people were killed and at least a further 100 injured, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour called on the authorities to bring to justice all those who had committed crimes.

The authorities should ensure that the trial in appeal of the civilian members of BDK are tried by civilian courts and take appropriate measures to equip the national police so that it could better deal with such events, Ms. Arbour added.

She deplored the impunity being enjoyed by the security forces and the fact that trials of civilians involved were being conducted before military tribunals, a clear violation of international human rights standards.

The violence followed the first democratic elections in the vast country in over four decades, the largest and most complex polls the UN has ever helped to organize, aimed at cementing the DRC’s transition to stability after a brutal six-year civil war that cost 4 million lives through fighting and attendant hunger and disease, widely considered the most lethal conflict in the world since World War II.