A joint judicial investigation confirms 375 human rights violations committed during attacks by ADF in Erengeti, Beni territory, North-Kivu province

By Mission de l'Organisation des Nations unies en République dé

The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (UNJHRO) and MONUSCO Justice and Corrections Section supported, between 3 and 12 December 2015, a judicial investigation by Beni-Butembo military prosecutor's office in Eringeti and in the surroundings site of displaced persons, in Beni territory, North Kivu province.

The aim was to carry out in-depth investigations into the circumstances of the systematic attacks perpetrated on 29 November 2015 by combatants of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) against civilian population, Congolese armed forces and MONUSCO peacekeepers. During this joint investigation mission, 233 sources were interviewed including 225 victims (145 women and six children).

In total, 375 violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law were documented, including:

- 25 cases of violations of the right to life, including 13 women and two children;

- Six cases of violations of the right to fiscal integrity, including four women;

- Three cases of abduction followed by forced labor, including two children;

- 244 cases of violations of the right to property (looting);

- 93 cases of violations of the right to property (of five pharmacies, one community radio, 12 warehouses and 17 shops voluntary burnt down);

- One case of violation of international humanitarian law (occupation, looting, torching, attempt of torching and destruction of a health center);

- Three cases of murder attempt, all victims were women.

«The results of the joint investigation confirm systematic attacks committed with extreme cruelty and without distinction by ADF combatants against civilian population, which are serious violations of international humanitarian law” stated Jose Maria Aranaz, UNJHRO Director. He commended the Congolese authorities for their efforts toward bringing armed groups combatants responsible for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law before national or international justice.

ADF attacks against civilian population in Beni were already the subject of a public report published by the UNJHRO on 13 May 2015. This report revealed that between 1 October and 31 December 2014, at least 237 civilians, including 65 women and 35 children, were killed, 47 civilians were injured, 20 civilians were abducted and two civilians were victims of sexual violence by ADF combatants in the territory of Beni during attacks on 35 villages.

Mr Aranaz also repeated the urgent need to neutralize ADF combatants with no further delay in order to put an end to the inacceptable insecurity face by civilian population in Beni.