DRC: Allegations of sexual abuse of four persons under ICC protection

Call for an effective and transparent investigation.

FIDH and its member organisations in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), ASADHO, LE and GL, express their profound concern following the release of information about allegations of sexual abuse suffered by four individuals under the protection of the International Criminal Court (ICC) by a former staff member of the Court working in DRC.

According to a press release published on 12 April 2013 by the ICC, the Court has opened an internal inquiry into these allegations, and has taken measures to ensure the safety, security and well being of the alleged victims of these violations.

Our organisations are alarmed by these allegations. We underline the importance of transparency and recognize that the ICC has taken a positive step in making the allegations public. In its communication, the Court has insisted that it has a zero tolerance policy over allegations of sexual abuse.

It is unbelievable that something like this may have happened. We call on the ICC to ensure that, in accordance with its own principles, the alleged victims of abuse find support to seek justice, guarantees of non repetition and, if the facts are confirmed, reparation from the institution and relevant national tribunals said Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President.

In a country where crimes of sexual violence are being massively committed, all responsibilities, including institutional ones, must be established, said Dismas Kitengue, President of Groupe Lotus. Every effort should be made by the ICC to ensure that effective, independent and credible investigations are conducted into these very grave allegations.

Sylvain Lumu Mbaya, Executive Secretary of the Ligue des Electeurs said that the Court needs to take all measures possible to ensure that this will never happen again. The ICC has a responsibility to ensure that all its protection processes meet the highest standards possible. We call for an extensive review and audit of the protection programme.

The Congolese authorities should now ensure that these allegations are duly investigated, stated Jean-Claude Katende, ASADHO President. Both Congolese authorities and ICC representatives should ensure proper cooperation.

FIDH and its member organisations call on the Court to guarantee adequate transparency over the investigation and its results.

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