“BARAKA, Congo | A Congolese court sentenced an army colonel to 20 years in prison Monday, convicting him of crimes against humanity in the highest-profile sexual-violence case ever tried in this nation where thousands are brutally raped each year” bericht de Washington Times 21 febrari 2011. Deze Congolese rechtbank is een zogenaamde mobile gender justice court. Een mobile gender justice court is een rijdende rechtbank in Congo gericht op onder andere verkrachting, landrecht conflicten, scheidingen en huiselijk geweld. De mobile gender justice court werkt samen met de Congolese regering en is een initiatief van de Open Society. De Open Society schrijft hierover op haar website:
“For many victims—often women—it has been an incredible effort to even file a complaint. The process of having that complaint taken seriously by a court, and having an opportunity to tell their stories in public and be recognized officially, can be tremendously powerful. The mobile court also helps challenge the shame and rejection that many victims of gender violence face within their communities. By focusing attention on the perpetrators’ alleged wrongdoing, trials can help reverse some of the stigma gender violence survivors often endure.
The mobile court has jurisdiction over military, as well as civilian, justice systems. Under this program, Congolese judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers travel to some of the worst crime sites, typically locations that have never before had access to justice. Cases are heard over a period of weeks or months, before the court moves to its next location. Gender justice cases to date have focused primarily on rape, but can also include such issues as land rights, divorce, and domestic violence. Since these communities do not normally have access to courts, justices have discretion to hear other cases, and have also addressed murder and torture. Often, the entire community turns out to attend the trials.”
BusinessDay schrijft 22 februari 2011 hierover het volgende bericht.
“Eleven soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo went on trial, accused of raping more than 60 women on New Year’s Day. in the town of Fizi in South Kivu province.
The accused have not only been charged with rape and imprisonment but, given the systematic nature of the crimes, have also been charged with crimes against humanity. What’s noteworthy here is that these trials are not being heard far from the affected communities — as is the case with Taylor’s trial or any of the cases likely to be heard by the ICC. Rather, they are being heard before an innovative mobile gender court in Fizi’s neighbouring town of Baraka.”
Klik hier voor het hele artikel (BusinessDay, 22 februari 2011, geschreven door Nicole Fritz, directeur Southern Africa Litigation Centre)