Human Rights Council
13 September–1 October 2021
Agenda item 10
Technical assistance and capacity-building
This report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 45/34 of 7 October 2020, which renewed the mandate of the team of international experts on the situation in Kasai and requested it to submit a final report to the Council at its forty-eighth session during an interactive dialogue and to provide an oral update at its forty-sixth session.
The report comes against the background of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the withdrawal of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) from Kasai and Kasai Central provinces and a volatile political climate that has seen some governors of the Kasai region deposed. The socioeconomic and security situation is characterized by successive intercommunal clashes, runaway rates of urban crime, food insecurity and a deplorable humanitarian situation linked in part to the ongoing forced expulsion or refoulement of Congolese living in Angola.
Regarding the fight against impunity, apart from a few positive developments, the team of international experts noted a lack of meaningful progress in the processing of cases brought against perpetrators of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed during the crisis linked to the Kamuina Nsapu militia. None of the 16 priority cases that the Congolese military justice system has identified and taken up since 2019 has, thus far, been referred to the courts.
The trial of the alleged murderers of Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp, who were members of the Security Council’s Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is stalled, with no sign of a swift resolution. The case of their Congolese guides has seen little progress.
The team of international experts believes that there is an urgent need to deploy additional human resources and step up the recruitment of new military judges.
The team of international experts was informed of the investigative measures taken by the military justice system in the cases of the women enslaved by Bana Mura militiamen and welcomes the fact that some of the women have been freed. The team urges the Government to redouble efforts to secure the release of the other women and to arrest all their alleged enslavers.
Concerning the strategies on reconciliation, transitional justice, victim assistance and reparations, the team of international experts observed a number of significant gains at the national and provincial levels. These include the launch and ownership of the transitional justice process by the highest authorities of the State and the adoption of the edict on the establishment, organization, powers and functioning of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Kasai Central Province.
The team of international experts believes that there is an inevitable nexus between punitive justice and transitional justice.
The team of international experts welcomes the Government’s decision to decentralize the transitional justice process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the symbolic request for forgiveness addressed to victims.
Given this momentum, and in the interest of promoting local projects to facilitate community reconciliation, the team of international experts suggests that the interministerial task force, which met only once during the reporting period, be given the mandate to coordinate transitional justice arrangements nationwide, with the support of an adequately resourced permanent secretariat.