web http://cdcsmiles.com/wp-includes/media-template.php geneva;”>The heinous crimes range from mass rape, systemic killings, looting and gross abuse of human rights and forced labour.
Kabila is facing a rebellion in the eastern part of DRC, with the M23 Movement accusing FARDC of abuse of human rights, discrimination, racism and corruption.
The UN report for the month of May notes that violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by FARDC soldiers in particular were perpetrated “in a systematic manner and with extreme violence, mostly as FARDC units retreated from the front lines and regrouped in and around the town of Minova, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province.”
In April 2012, a mutiny of (FARDC) in North Kivu, initiated by General Bosco Ntaganda, led to the creation of the Mouvement du 23 mars (M23) rebellion.
After occupying part of Rutshuru territory from July 2012, the M23 rebellion seized the towns of Goma and Sake on 20 and 22 November 2012 respectively, while troops from the FARDC retreated towards Minova, South Kivu province.
Congo President Joseph Kabira
In partial compliance with the communiqué issued on 24 November 2012 by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), M23 combatants began to withdraw from Goma and Sake on 1 December 2012.
This created a lull in fighting but fears of possible resumption of hostilities are high after M23 said it would respond with fire if attacked by the UN intervention Brigade set to be deployed in the area to combat the rebels.
Meanwhile, the present UN report outlines gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including killings and arbitrary executions, mass rape, and violations resulting from widespread looting, committed by FARDC soldiers during combat and retreat, and by combatants of the M23 during combat and the period of occupation of Goma and Sake between 15 November and 2 December 2012.
The findings are the result of increased monitoring activities and of several field investigations conducted by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) during which more than 350 interviews were conducted with victims and witnesses.
“In this context, at least 102 women and 33 girls were victims of rape or other acts of sexual violence perpetrated by FARDC soldiers. FARDC soldiers were also responsible for the arbitrary execution of at least two people, violations of the right to physical integrity of at least 24 civilians, cases of forced labour and the widespread looting of villages,” the report which Chimpreports has seen, reads in part.
“During the period of occupation of Goma and Sake by the M23, combatants of this armed group perpetrated gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law,” it added.
The UNJHRO also documented at least 59 cases of sexual violence, of which 58 were cases of rape by M23 combatants in Goma and surrounding areas. At least 11 civilians were arbitrarily executed and at least a further two were victims of attempted arbitrary execution by the M23.
In December 2012, 11 FARDC soldiers were arrested in connection with these incidents, including two for murder, but only two for related cases of rape.
At least 12 senior army officers have been suspended to date in relation to the investigations into the incidents in Minova but observers say the revelations underlines the rot in FARDC and necessitates a massive overhaul and fresh training.
The report notes that Following the advances of the M23 into Goma and Sake, FARDC units under the operational command of the 8th and 10th Military Regions fled southward in a disorganised manner, and regrouped in Minova and surrounding villages OF Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, where they perpetrated the most serious human rights violations.
M23 rebel Leader Sultani Makenga being heavily guarded in Bunagana
FARDC soldiers entered several villages, where they committed mass rape and other acts of sexual violence, as well as cases of arbitrary execution, mistreatment and systematic looting.
The UNJHRO documented the killings of at least two people by FARDC troops as they retreated and regrouped in and around Minova, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province.
“The two victims were killed in villages near Minova during looting incidents. In the first case on 22 November 2012, in Ruhunde village, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, one man was beaten with the butt of a rifle and punched as he tried to resist the looting of his house by FARDC soldiers,” reads the report.
He died several days later from his injuries. The second victim, a 14 year old boy, was shot dead on 25 November 2012 in the village of Kalungu, Kalehe territory, by a soldier of the 391 Battalion.
The boy was returning from the fields when two soldiers tried to steal his goat. As he tried to resist and flee, one of the soldiers shot him.
On 18 November 2012, at least seven civilians were victims of attempted killings as FARDC soldiers fled Goma.
In one case, FARDC soldiers shot and injured five adults and one child as they looted a home in the Majengo area of Goma, North Kivu province.
Another man was shot while travelling on a motorbike near Mugunga, Goma, North Kivu province.
The UNJHRO and MONUSCO Child Protection documented 135 cases of sexual violence committed by FARDC soldiers between 20 and 30 November 2012.
At least 97 women and 33 girls (aged between 6 and 17) were raped and a further five women were victims of attempted rape in and around Minova, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, particularly on the Minova – Ruhunde axis.
According to concurring testimonies, the majority of the rapes were committed in a widespread manner on 22 and 23 November 2012.
Most of the cases documented followed a similar modus operandi: FARDC soldiers entered houses, usually in groups of three to six, and, after threatening the inhabitants, looted whatever they could find. 10
One or two of the soldiers would leave with the looted goods and at least one would stand guard as the remaining FARDC soldiers raped women and girls in the house.
Victims were threatened with death if they shouted; some were raped at gunpoint. Most victims were raped by more than one soldier.
Almost all cases of rape documented by the UNJHRO were accompanied by death threats and additional acts of physical violence.
During the period under review, the UNJHRO documented violations of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against at least 24 civilians, including four minors in villages around Minova, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province.
Most of victims were beaten while attempting to resist FARDC soldiers from attacking their houses in and around Minova, South Kivu province.
In two cases, men who intervened to prevent the rape of their wives were beaten by FARDC soldiers. In one of these cases, during the night of 22 to 23 November in Kalungu, Kalehe territory, the victim was tied with ropes and beaten by FARDC soldiers while his wife was raped in the adjacent room.
Extensive looting by FARDC soldiers was documented by the UNJHRO. On 19 November 2012, FARDC soldiers looted a number of houses, particularly in the Ndosho and Kyeshero areas of Goma, North Kivu province, as they were leaving Goma.
In addition, as they retreated towards Minova, FARDC soldiers systematically looted the town of Minova as well as at least eight villages on the Minova-Nyamasasa axis (Minova, Mubimbi, Buganga, Kalungu, Kishindji, Bwisha, Nyamasasa, Ruhunde and Bishenge), Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, between 21 and 25 November 2012, as well as the villages of Nyamasasa, Ruhunde, and Kalungu between 28 and 30 November 2012.
FARDC soldiers also looted at least two IDP camps, in Mubimbi, Kalehe territory, during the night of 22 to 23 November 2012 and in Minova, Kalehe territory, during the night of 23 to 24 November 2012.
In both instances, soldiers waited for humanitarian aid to be distributed to IDPs and looted the distributed goods during the following evening.
11 Soldiers of the 8th Military Region illegally occupied houses in the villages of Nyamasasa, Ruhunde and Buganga.