Statement : |

Statement by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on her Office’s mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 16 to 20 October 2016

The Democratic Republic of the Congo ("DRC") is a Situation country where, since 2004, my Office has been carrying out investigations into, and prosecutions against, the perpetrators of crimes falling under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (the "ICC" or the "Court"); to date, these have led to the issuance of six warrants of arrest.

As I stressed in my previous statements, the situation in the DRC for the past few weeks raises concerns, particularly the events and certain alleged acts which took place in Kinshasa in September 2016.   There is no place for violence.

These alleged acts, widely reported nationally and internationally, are sources of serious concern, and prompted my statement of 23 September 2016 on the recent violence in Kinshasa.

I am determined to steadfastly press ahead with our efforts in the DRC in accordance with my Office's mandate. I would like to emphasise once more that nothing can justify the commission of acts proscribed by the Rome Statute, irrespective of time or location. Criminal violence is not an option: it cannot be tolerated, regardless of source or perpetrator.

Bolstered by this determination, I sent a delegation from my Office to the DRC to reiterate in situ my call to all parties potentially involved, and to all Congolese actors, irrespective of their official status or political affiliation, to show restraint, and ensure in particular that they, their supporters, sympathisers and agents refrain, at all times and in all locations, from committing any act of criminal violence against individuals and property, and take the necessary measures to prevent the commission of such acts.

My 23 September statement and this mission from my Office are part of a set of measures I have taken to establish our monitoring of the situation in the DRC, where we are continuing our work. It is imperative that all activities and actions in the territory of the DRC, irrespective of their actors, nature or form, be conducted with the utmost restraint and sense of responsibility, and that any violent act contrary to the Rome Statute be avoided at all times.

I reiterate that anyone who commits, orders, incites, encourages, or contributes in any other way to the commission of crimes under the  jurisdiction of the ICC is liable to criminal prosecution. My Office will not hesitate to take all appropriate steps to bring to justice those responsible in accordance with the principle of complementarity.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who met the delegation from my Office during its mission, including members of the DRC Government, Congolese political and judicial authorities, representatives of the political parties involved in national dialogue, civil society, and the media.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecution of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office has been conducting  investigations in: Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two separate investigations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan; Burundi; the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece and Cambodia; Colombia; Gabon; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine, Nigeria and Ukraine.

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Source : Office of the Prosecutor