UN rapporteur welcomes conviction of senior army officer in DRC for crimes against humanity

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By Sadiya Hamza
United Nations- Ms Zainab Bangura, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict on Tuesday welcomed the conviction of a senior army officer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for crimes against humanity.

Bangura, in a statement issued in New York, said “the conviction sends a very clear message to perpetrators of sexual violence in DRC that they cannot hide behind a badge or evade justice with a uniform.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a former DRC national armed forces officer, Lt.-Col. Bedi Engangela, also called “Colonel 106”, was convicted on Monday and sentenced to life imprisonment by a court for crimes against humanity.

He was also sentenced for 20 years for rape and a 15 year sentence for sexual slavery.

She said the decision by the military court in Bukavu in South Kivu province in eastern DRC was just the latest in a recent string of convictions of military and police officers for sexual violence crimes.

“The decision by the military court in Bukavu in South Kivu province in eastern DRC is just the latest in a recent string of convictions of military and police officers for sexual violence crimes.

“This and many of these trials and ultimately convictions, send a very clear message to perpetrators of sexual violence in DRC that they cannot hide behind a badge or evade justice with a uniform, and that no matter how high ranking they may be, they are not above the law.

“With these prosecutions and sentencing the courts have also shown survivors that their voices and cries have been heard and they will not have to suffer in silence or be denied justice, because their Government supports their right to redress,” she added.

She also said that the conviction demonstrated that the work being undertaken by the DRC Government to end impunity for crimes of sexual violence was bearing fruit. (NAN)

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