DRC: UN calls for prosecution of perpetrators of summary executions and enforced disappearances in Kinshasa

By United Nations - Office of the UN High Commissione

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 15, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A United Nations report released today details serious violations of human rights, including summary and extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, committed against civilians by Congolese security forces in the context of Operation “Likofi" in Kinshasa between 15 November 2013 and 15 February 2014.

The report, based on investigations conducted by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO)* in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), documents the killing of at least nine civilians and the enforced disappearance of at least 32 civilians by agents of the Congolese National Police (PNC) as part of Operation “Likofi". The total number of victims could be much higher since UNJHRO human rights officers faced various difficulties in their investigations into these human rights violations.

"I am appalled by the gravity of the human rights violations documented in this report and I call on the Congolese authorities to bring to justice without delay the perpetrators of these human rights violations," said High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the DRC, Martin Kobler, added that "this shows how urgent it is to accelerate security sector reform and to establish strong accountability mechanisms within the Congolese police force."

Note to editors:

In accordance with its mandate, UNJHRO staff conducted investigations into violations of human rights committed in Kinshasa by the PNC as part of Operation “Likofi" (meaning "Punch" in Lingala) between 15 November 2013 and 15 February 2014. The objective of Operation “Likofi" was to track down delinquents, commonly called "kulunas", in the city of Kinshasa. For this report, UNJHRO staff collected more than 70 testimonies from different sources, including within the police itself.

The report documents 41 victims, including four children, of violations of the right to life, including summary and extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances, committed during the Operation “Likofi" in several communes of the capital. The human rights violations documented in the report implicate the PNC and particularly members of the Légion nationale d'intervention (LENI) and of the Groupe mobile d'intervention (GMI). The majority of the killings and enforced disappearances of civilians documented in the report were perpetrated with the same modus operandi by PNC agents, who generally operated at night, wore masks, and traveled in vehicles without license plates in certain neighborhoods of Kinshasa.

The UNJHRO took note of the decision taken by the General Commissioner of the PNC on 15 August 2014 to set up a commission of inquiry aimed at investigating and identifying abuses allegedly committed by PNC agents in the scope of Operation Likofi.