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On behalf of myself, your Chairperson, Viraj Ananth, and your Vice-Chairperson,

Vaishakh Datta, I would like to welcome you to the Historic United Nations Commission
on Human Rights, 2002.
As the principal body of the United Nations tasked with the promotion and protection of
Human Rights Globally, it is assisted in its work by the office of the United Nations High
Commissioner of Human Rights. Established as a subsidiary body of the ECOSOC, it has
been on the forefront of spearheading Human Rights, drafting the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights – forming the foundation of Global Humanitarian Law.

As the EB we feel that this agenda has massive scope for debate without the flaw of
having too wide an ambit ensuring that debate in committee does not digress, to that end
we look forward to creative, unprecedented debate. Substantive debate will take a front
seat in this committee and all we ask of delegates reading this is to ensure that you come
to committee prepared with sufficient debate on the topic at hand hence keeping
committee debate from running dry.

We recommend that you pay attention to the QARMA section of this guide, making sure
that you are thorough with the questions raised and are able to answer them in a solution
oriented fashion, ensuring high committee productivity. Our judging criteria will be a
well balanced mix of all aspects (substantive debate, participation in formal debate, style
and manner, diplomacy, participation in unmoderated caucuses, written work) but what
we look forward to the most is creativity and innovative points. Do bear in mind that this
being a Humanitarian Committee, solution oriented debate is always looked forward to,
as the end goal is to solve problems.

That aside, we sincerely hope that over these two days you not only have a good time at
the MUN and at NLS, but also have a great learning experience and take something back.

Any queries regarding committee, the agenda, or anything to do with the MUN in
general, feel free to contact me on
We wish you the best of luck in your preparation for the conference and look forward to
meeting you soon.

With warm regards,

Viraj and Vaishakh.


The Second Congo War – which took place from 1998-2003- was a conflict deeply
rooted in historical issues surrounding colonialism. Many conflicts on the African
continent were perpetrated against colonial powers until the late 1970’s. However, a new
type of conflict emerged in the 1980’s led reform rebels.” These reform rebels – many of
whom were associated with the university at Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania – targeted
indigenous African leaders that they deemed corrupt. Over the course of the next decade
these reform rebels had remarkable success, and by 1994 the leaders of Uganda, Rwanda,
Eritrea, and Ethiopia were all former reform rebels. These nationalistic movements came
hand-in-hand with increased aid to insurgent rebel groups in neighboring nations deemed
oppressive. In turn these alliances between nation states and foreign insurgencies created
an acute sense of regional destabilization. Furthermore, a clear preference for offensive
military strategy greatly exacerbated this continental security dilemma. In a sense, the
Congo War really began in Rwanda when in 1994 Rwandan Hutu leaders began a policy
of exterminating their Tutsi neighbors, killing 800,000 Tutsis and non-compliant Hutus in
the space of 100 days. This genocide ended when the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front)
invaded Rwanda with support from neighboring ally Uganda. Fearing retribution for their
actions, tens of thousands of Hutus fled into the Congolese provinces of North and South
Kivu. Subsequently, the RPF-led government in Rwanda began training Congolese Tutsis
to fight this new influx of Hutu refugees. In 1996, Congolese Tutsis overthrew President
Mobutu’s government at Kinshasa with the aid of the RPF. Together, Angola, Uganda,
Rwanda and Burundi fostered the creation of the Alliances des Forces s Democratiques
pour la Liberacion du Congo (AFDL) led by Laurent Kabila. They captured Kinshasa in
May of 1997. However, Kabila grew paranoid and soon turned on his former allies when
he created an alliance with Sudan and reached out to ex-FAR militiamen. In July 1998,
Kabila demanded that all RPF soldiers leave Kinshasa, sparking all out civil war when
portions of his army stationed at Goma declared themselves no longer loyal to the
President. The Congo War is unique in that it represents an international conflict wherein
many continental powers have a stake. The underlying economic reason behind this
intervention in the internal affairs of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) that has
fueled the conflict up until the present is the nation’s myriad mineral resources. The
international community has taken several measures to address growing concerns of
human rights violations within the Congo. In response to the 1999 Lusaka Peace Accord,
the UN sent 90 observers to aid in upholding the agreement between belligerents.
Unfortunately these observers could not prevent conflict because paramilitary forces
continued to encroach on human rights through their ubiquitous use of sexual violence
and child soldiers. In response to Kabila’s failure to quell this insurrection and the
inefficacy of the Ceasefire, the Security Council authorized the deployment of a
peacekeeping force numbering 5,500 men under the mandate of resolution 1291. In
addition, various NGOs have taken action to aid civilians affected by the conflict. Yet
refugees continue to suffer from malnutrition and routine violation of human rights.
Complicating matters is the widespread suspicion that refugee camps harbor various
insurgent groups. The Security Council offered scant aid; they deployed 90 liason
personnel to enforce the ceasefire achieved with the Lusaka Cease fire Agreement.


The story of the Second Congo War begins with the First Congo War, which transpired
from 1996-1997 in what was then known as Zaire (later the Democratic Republic of the
Congo). In order to understand the origins of this conflict a certain degree of context must
be elucidated. In 1994 a devastating genocide of the ethnic group known as Tutsi
occurred in neighboring Rwanda that ended when Hutu belligerents lost to a Tutsi-
dominated RPF government. Many members of the former Hutu government fled to
Zaire and entrenched themselves in refugee camps. From these refugee camps, they
launched raids into Rwanda which enraged the Tutsi dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front
(RPF). In response, the RPF government began aiding the ethnically Tutsi
Banyamulenage that inhabited eastern Zaire with a variety of arms. This violation of
territorial integrity enraged the government of long-time President Joseph Desiré
Mobutu. Mobutu’s government, which had benefitted for many years from Cold War
paranoia by receiving aid from the United States, became more and more vulnerable as
Tutsi rebel forces led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila advanced towards Kinshasa with the aid
of other African powers such as Uganda, Rwanda, and Angola. By May 1997, Kabila’s
ADFLC (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo) reached the
outskirts of Kinshasa and Mobutu fled the country. In the aftermath of the war, Kabila
proclaimed himself President, renaming Zaire the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Unfortunately, peace did not last long. Kabila hoped to run the country autonomously
from the aforementioned foreign backers that had won him the war against Mobutu.
Rwanda, Uganda, and their allies had no such intention. Rwanda maintained a strong
foreign military presence in Kinshasa, which contributed to public opinion that Kabila
was merely a pawn of foreign nations. Despite myriad obstacles, from political jockeying
amongst various groups to enormous debt, Kabila set about confronting his former
Rwandan allies. In July of 1998, Kabila magnified tensions by dismissing his Rwandan
chief of Staff, James Karbarebe. Two weeks later, Kabila decisively forced all Rwandan
and Ugandan military advisors to leave the country. This decision worried the
Banyamulenge Tutsi, who inhabited the eastern Congo, who began a rebel offensive on
Kabila’s capital.

In the ensuing months a multi- sided war began. In early August, the Banyamulenge of
Goma erupted in mutiny and Rwanda offered them assistance. These Tutsi forces
organized themselves under the name the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) and
allied themselves with Rwanda and Uganda. To make matters worse, the Rwandan
government alongside Uganda and Burundi retaliated against Kabila by occupying a
portion of northeastern Congo. All appeared lost for Kabila, who had since allied himself
with Hutu militants, as rebel forces approached Kinshasa. In the nick of time, however,
Kabila’s outreach to foreign nations came to fruition. Fellow members of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) such as Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola
supported the Kabila government after a meeting at Harare, Zimbabwe. These forces
proved key to Kabila, with Mugabe’s Zimbabwean forces holding off a rebel advance
that had reached the very outskirts of Kinshasa.

Conflict continued through the first half of 1999 in a disorganized, scattered manner.
Kabila’s enemies were characterized by disunity; a meeting in June of 1999 failed to
produce a united coalition. A major factor behind this disunity was the dissimilar interests
and goals of the different rebel groups drawn along ethnic lines. However, in July 1999
the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement was achieved. The parties involved in the agreement
included the following nations: The Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia,
Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. However, the RCD refused to sign it. The agreement
promised cooperation in disarming, tracking, and documenting all armed groups in the
DRC. Yet the agreement didn’t create effective provisions for enforcement. Repeated
infringements during the ensuing months, including a conflict between former allies
Uganda and Rwanda, forced the UN to act with greater strength. In February of 2000, the
UN authorized the deployment of 5,537 troops under the French acronym MONUC (The
United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The
task of this force was to monitor the ceasefire. Unfortunately, conflict only worsened
between Uganda and Rwanda as well as Kabila’s government and rebel forces such as the

On January 16 2001, Laurent- Désiré Kabila was assassinated by a bodyguard. While the
government initially attempted to save his life, he died a few days later. In the aftermath
of this assassination, his son, Joseph Kabila, was announced as president of the DRC. He
was aided by the support of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe in his bid to gain
reelection. This committee takes place in the immediate aftermath of Joseph Kabila’s
election to the presidency.


Industrial mining of copper begins in Katanga province. Diamonds are discovered in Kasai.


Forced labor continues though less murderous then before. Belgium government sets a
requirement that all Congolese must do 60 days of compulsory labor each year.


First labor strikes in major cities which are brutally repressed.


Belgian government increases the forced labor requirement to 120 days per year.


Recognition of workers' rights and the introduction of minimum wages.


Anti-colonial riots in Kinshasa (then called Leopoldville) with demands for independence from


June 1960

Congo gains independence. Before the handover, Belgium robs the treasury and transfers the debt
to the new Congolese government. Patrice Lumumba wins Congo's first elections and becomes
the coalition government's prime minister. He attempts to steer a neutral course between the
United States and the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

A secessionist movement launched in eastern Katanga province is supported by the Belgians in an
attempt to garner off the rich copper belt from the Congo state.

July 1960

The new Congolese government asks the United Nations for assistance against external
aggression and to help remove Belgian soldiers and foreign mercenaries from the country. The
UN authorizes one of its first peacekeeping missions in Africa, known as ONUC, which at its
peak had some 20,000 peacekeepers.

September 1960

Lumumba is removed from power and arrested in a coup d'état led by Col. Joseph-Désiré
Mobutu, with encouragement from Belgium and the United States.

January 1961

Lumumba is shot by a firing squad with assistance from Belgian officials after a CIA attempt
failed. His body is secretly buried but later dug up, cut up with a hacksaw, and dissolved in acid
in an attempt to cover-up the crime.

September 1961

The plane carrying UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld crashes while en route to Zambia
for peace talks about the conflict in Congo, killing all aboard.


The secessionist movement is defeated, Katanga reintegrates back into Congo and the UN force


Mobutu seizes power in a CIA-backed coup and brutally cracks down on political rivals, hanging
some in public executions. He remains president of Congo for 32 years.

1966 - Mobutu nationalizes mining and redistributes foreign-country management to a local elite,
mostly friends and family. He squanders and embezzles billions of dollars through trade in
copper, cobalt, diamonds and coffee.

Mobutu changes his name to Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga (which translates
as: The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from
conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake) and renames the country Zaire. He gains
unquestioned support from the US government by siding with the US during the Cold War and
allowing his country to be used as a springboard for operations against Soviet-backed
Angola. He receives substantial US financial assistance.


American boxers Muhammad Ali and George Foreman fight the "rumble in the jungle" in Zaire.
Ali, who wins the fight, says he wanted to establish a relationship between African-Americans
and Africa.


With the cold war over, the US government finds its alliance with authoritarian Mobutu
embarrassing. Mobutu is forced to open up the country to multiparty democracy and permits a
National Sovereign Conference to discuss the transition. For some 15 months, the country's
political leadership discusses the political, economic and social situation. Following the
conference, Mobutu appoints a transitional government but remains president and holds on to
substantial powers.


April 1994

Rwanda's Hutu extremist government orchestrates a genocide of some 800,000 Tutsi and
moderate Hutu. When Tutsi rebels take control of Rwanda, over a million Hutu - including many
of the leaders who directed the genocide - take refuge in camps across the border in Zaire.

July 1994

An estimated 50,000 people die when cholera spreads through the huge, squalid refugee camps in
eastern Zaire.
November 1994

Aid agencies stop working in the refugee camps in eastern Zaire stating that the camps are
becoming increasingly militarized. Former Rwandan Hutu soldiers control access and food

November 1996 - May 1997

The Rwandan army, in support of an anti-Mobutu rebel group, the Alliance for Democratic
Liberation (AFDL), attack the refugee camps in eastern Zaire and march on the capital, Kinshasa,
while Mobutu is abroad for medical treatment. Tens of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees flee
westwards into Zaire's forests pursued by Rwandan army soldiers.

May 1997

Mobutu flees into exile. With minimal resistance, the AFDL rebels and the Rwandan army seize
Kinshasa, and Laurent Kabila, the rebel leader, is installed as president. The country is renamed
the Democratic Republic of Congo.

September 1997

Mobutu dies of prostate cancer in exile in Morocco. The government does not permit his body to
return for burial in Congo.

September 1997

The UN attempts to follow-up on the fate of the Rwandan Hutu refugees missing in the forests of
Zaire and to investigate reports of their mass slaughter by AFDL rebels and Rwandan army
soldiers, but are blocked by the new Congolese government. Subsequent UN attempts to
investigate are also thwarted.

Late 1997

Members of the former Rwandan Hutu extremist government establish a new armed group called
the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) with members inside and outside Congo.

June 1998

The UN investigation team issues a preliminary report indicating that gross human rights
violations, and possible genocide, were committed in 1996 and 1997 by the Rwandan army and
their AFDL allies against the Rwandan Hutu refugees. It calls for further investigations at a more
"opportune" time.

August 1998

President Laurent Kabila demands that his Rwandan army backers leave the country. Kabila
purges Tutsi from his government and whips up anti-Tutsi sentiment in an attempt to show his
independence from Rwanda. Less than a week later, Rwandan and Ugandan armies invade
Congo, backing a hastily formed Congolese rebel group seeking to oust Kabila.

August 1998

President Kabila receives support from Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola and repels an attempt by
the Rwandan and Ugandan armies to take Kinshasa, though they and their allied rebel groups
remain in control of large parts of eastern Congo. Fighting continues and the Rwanda Hutu
militia, ALIR, joins Kabila's side.

Failed Peace Efforts

August 1999

After a year of fighting involving the armies of seven other African countries, and a host of rebel
groups, a ceasefire agreement is signed in Lusaka, Zambia. The Lusaka agreement fails to halt
the fighting.

November 1999

The UN Security Council establishes a peacekeeping mission for the Congo, known as MONUC,
and requests the deployment of 500 military observers to monitor the Lusaka peace agreement.

February 2000

With no peace in sight, the UN Security Council expands the MONUC mission with an additional
5,537 peacekeeping troops, but its mandate remains weak and it is unable to halt the fighting
between the belligerents.

May 2000
The diamond industry launches discussion with campaign groups in Kimberley, South Africa, on
how to stop the trade in conflict diamonds. In June, the UN establishes a panel of experts to
investigate reports of the illegal exploitation of Congo's mineral wealth and its link with the
ongoing conflict.

May 2000

Elements of the Rwandan Hutu militia, ALIR, change their name to the Democratic Forces for
the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

June 2000

Former allies Uganda and Rwanda battle for six days for control of Kisangani, one of Congo's
main cities, leaving some 700 civilians dead. A UN investigation concludes the two armies
committed war crimes and calls on Uganda and Rwanda to pay reparations. No action is taken by
either government. The top Rwandan officer involved in the battle, Karenzi Karake, is later
appointed deputy commander of the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

June 2000

The International Rescue Committee in the first mortality survey conducted in Congo reports that
more than 1.7 million people have died in the east of the country since 1998 due to the war.

January 2001

President Laurent Kabila is assassinated by a bodyguard. After days of uncertainty, his 29-year-
old son Joseph takes office. A flawed military trial later found 90 people guilty of involvement in
the assassination, including some of Laurent Kabila's close allies.

April 2001

The UN panel of experts on illegal exploitation publishes its first detailed report concluding that
the Congo war has evolved into a conflict for access and control over minerals. It recommends
sanctions against top military officials and companies involved in the illegal trade. No action is
taken. The UN calls for further investigations.

May 2001
In an updated mortality survey, the International Rescue Committee finds the total death toll in
Congo has increased to 2.5 million with huge losses among children.

January 2002

Mount Nyiragongo, a volcano overlooking the eastern town of Goma, erupts, devastating large
swathes of the city and sending its 300,000 residents across the border into Rwanda to escape
lava flows. Unwilling to stay in Rwanda, Goma's residents return within days.

February 2002

The Inter-Congolese dialogue begins between rebel factions and other political actors in Sun City,
South Africa, to hammer out a peace deal. After 52 days, two of the main rebels groups sign an
agreement, but the Rwandan-backed rebels are excluded.

February 2002

Following a Belgium parliamentary inquiry, the Belgium government apologizes to Congo for the
role played by its officials in the assassination of Lumumba.

April 2002

Congo ratifies the Rome Statute becoming a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

June 2002

Human Rights Watch publishes a report "The War Within the War" documenting for the first
time the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war in eastern Congo.

September 5, 2002

An estimated 3,000 civilians are brutally massacred when rival militias clash in the hospital town
of Nyankunde, Ituri district. The event marks the largest massacre of the second Congo war. Only
one international newspaper reports it.


As of 2001, the war in the Congo is what could be characterized as a war of resources.
There is little direct fighting and engagement between the various sides at play in the
Second Congo War. Instead, troops fight for control over territory. Despite the decay and
collapse of widespread governmental control over large swathes of territory, the Congo
remains extremely rich in resources. Natural resources such as cobalt, copper, diamonds,
gold, coltan, tungsten, cassiterite and tin all occur domestically within the DRC’s borders
and represent great capital potential for anybody that controls the source from which they
come. Thus a war of resources is characterized by partition and plunder of territory that
often goes along with widespread abuse of any civilian or indigenous population.

To make matters more complicated, powerful nations such as France and the United
States have an interest in the metals that are exported from the Congo. As a result, they
need to see transnational corporations have access to these resources and cannot let these
resources fall into the hands of international terrorist groups. The United States didn’t
trust Laurent Kabila, and as a result its policy has mainly been supportive of Uganda and
Rwanda. Furthermore, France represents the greatest power in central Africa and
consequently has a strong stake in the region’s political dynamics. Previously, France
attempted to rehabilitate Mobutu when he was nearly ousted in the aftermath of the cold
war. France remains loyal to Kabila’s regime for the most part because of linguistic links
tying it to French culture as opposed to the Anglophone governments of Rwanda and
Uganda. In 2000, France attempted to delegitimize Uganda and Rwanda by establishing a
panel of experts to investigate mineral exploitation by surrounding African nations. It did
so thorough authoring a resolution in the Security Council. An ongoing problem for the
UN as well as the AU has been the fact that corporations seeking to invest in war-ravaged
regions or listen to diplomatic advice. The UN panel of experts established by the 2000
Security Council resolution listed 21 multinational companies that had violated the
OECD’s guidelines. These companies varied in origin, from Belgian to British and
American. Furthermore, individuals within these companies had ties to the following
leaders embroiled in the conflict: Joseph Kabila, Paul Kagame, Robert Mugabe, and
Museveni of Uganda. Thus actors on each side are profiting by unsavory method on the
mineral riches of the nation.

Mineral exploitation isn’t the only type of exploitation occurring in the region. Rape has
repeatedly been used as a weapon of war in the region. The sexual violence inflicted upon
the women of the nation is destructive on a social, physical, and psychological level. The
violence that has occurred in the Congo region is alarming and unsettling even my
standards of war. This sexual violence occurs on the battlefield.

However, it occurs insidiously in refugee camps as well, even where the UN has strong
oversight. Most of the sexual assault that has occurred in the Congo has happened in the
eastern region of the country controlled by rebel Tutsi groups as well as Uganda and
Rwanda. A goal of any further UN action would be to identify the source of this sexual
violence. However, any such action will be difficult considering that many different
groups, from militiamen to government soldiers, often perpetrate it with even a few cases
of peacekeeper brutality being recorded.


Widespread human rights abuses have been committed in the DRC in recent years. All
parties to the conflict have been responsible for violations, either directly or through
exercising control over groups that commit them. Among the worst violations are killings
of civilians, forced recruitment of child soldiers, destruction of villages, internal
displacement, cannibalism, rape and torture.

 Killings and torture

Thousands of civilians have been killed in ethnically targeted violence in Eastern DRC,
particularly in Kivu and Ituri, by various armed groups. For instance in 2002, at least 68
persons were killed and 3,500 houses were burnt down at Ankoro by the government
armed forces. Elsewhere in North Katanga, Mai Mai militias supported by the
government are responsible for acts of cannibalism as well as looting and burning houses,
and constantly harassing civilians.

Security forces are also reported to have committed unlawful killings and beaten
detainees to death. Torture and other forms of brutality have characterized the conflict on
both sides. On the government side, military, police and security services are reported to
torture detainees. Common methods include being whipped, beaten with belts or metal
tubes, burnt by cigarettes or otherwise assaulted. Allegations are not investigated and
victims do not receive reparation. On the rebel side, women and girls are particularly
exposed to sexual violence (mass rape, mutilation of sexual organs, sexual slavery).
Women are abused by both sides, either by members of the Congolese armed forces and
police who are alleged to rape women working in the fields, or by rebels. Sexual violence
has become a particular feature of the conflict in Kivu.

 Violation of fair trial rights and ineffectiveness of the justice system

To date, very few human rights abuses have been prosecuted or even investigated.
Impunity has become the norm, a situation which local human rights groups say has
helped to fuel the conflict.

In government held territory, “the Judiciary remains under-funded, inefficient and

corrupt”. According to reports, lawyers are often denied access to their clients and are
given no time to prepare their defense. They are often threatened and sometimes
kidnapped and tortured. Corruption remains pervasive in the courts and victims often
have to bribe judges if they want the prosecution of a case to go ahead.

In rebel held territory, the judicial system hardly functions. Most courts simply do not
operate and the judges fled to government controlled territory during the war. Rebel
groups reportedly carry out arbitrary arrests, detentions and executions and exhort
property. The UN has accused the MLC of cannibalism but the group said it had found no
evidence to support these allegations and no-one has been charged with cannibalism. The
enormous problems of the Congolese justice system, and the fact that is unlikely to be
able to recover without substantial outside help, are acknowledged by the international
community. Major aid packages, from the EU and elsewhere, are expected.

 Dealing with Crimes of the Past

The atrocities faced by DRC in the past decade clearly amount to serious crimes under
international law, crimes that the international community as a whole has pledged to
work together to prevent and punish. Delivering justice and truth for these crimes of the
past are considered by all – including the parties to the conflict and the UN Security
Council – to be essential components of a successful transition in DRC. As part of the
transitional arrangements, the parties agreed to establish a truth and reconciliation
commission and already, a draft law is being developed.

One possible avenue for dealing with accountability for the atrocities committed in DRC
is the newly established International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has jurisdiction
over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed since 1 July, 2002,
where certain requirements as regards jurisdiction and admissibility are met. Since DRC
is a party to the ICC treaty, the Rome Statute, the Court would have jurisdiction. As
regards admissibility, the Rome Statute provides that the ICC’s jurisdiction is
complementary to national criminal jurisdictions. This means that before the Court can
act, it must first determine that the national authorities concerned are unwilling or unable
to investigate or prosecute the crimes. The weakened state of the justice system in DRC
due to the conflict, mentioned above, suggests there is a high probability the Court will
rule that the state is currently unable to prosecute these crimes.

Since the ICC can only deal with crimes committed after July 2002, other solutions will
need to be found to investigate and prosecute the serious crimes under international law
that were committed in the DRC before that date. In September 2002, President Kabila
asked the UN to establish an international tribunal for the DRC. In his speech before the
General Assembly, he stated: “In the peace of process now underway, an area which is of
critical importance and an imperative is that of independent justice, whose equitable
administration would mark the end of impunity. On the domestic level, the Transition
Government is working to conclude successfully the reform advocated here (...) On the
international level we believe that the major objective is the establishment, with the
assistance of the United Nations, of an international criminal tribunal for the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, to deal with crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity,
including rape as a weapon of war, and mass violations of human rights (...)”.

Congolese NGOs have made similar calls for international assistance to help DRC deliver
justice for serious violations committed during the conflict, as part of the country’s
transition to reconciliation and rule of law. It seems unlikely that the UN will be willing
to establish another international criminal tribunal modeled on those established for
former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (the ICTY and ICTR). Another option might be to
establish a more streamlined “mixed” tribunal such as the Special Court established for
Sierra Leone, which operates under a strict time-line and at less cost. The Special Court
was set up on the basis of an agreement between the government and the UN, has Sierra
Leonean as well as international judges and staff and applies local as well as international
law. It also has the advantage of being geographically close to the events it is trying and
may be better placed to contribute to the rebuilding of the country’s own legal system.
Essential for the success of any tribunal, however, is that it is truly independent, pursues
responsible persons from all sides, and is viewed as impartial and legitimate in the eyes
of the population. In order to achieve this, a tribunal would need to have the broadest
possible international support.

The Lawyers Committee believes that in order to identify how best to ensure justice for
victims of the terrible crimes suffered during the conflict in DRC, and to garner
appropriate international support for such efforts, the best way forward is the
appointment of an international commission of experts. Such a commission would be
charged with carrying out an assessment of the violations committed, consulting with
local actors - including civil society - and advising on appropriate options for ensuring
justice and accountability for the people of DRC.


1. How are we to tackle to following human rights violations?

 Use of child soldiers
 Human Trafficking of woman and children
 Displacement of refugees
 Detainees and political prisioners
 Use of weaponized rape
 Other forms of violence against women (female genital mutilation, for example)
2. How can we contain the spread of infectious disease, malnourishment and the
increase in pregnancy related deaths in the DRC?
3. How do we address the issue of ethnic cleansing of minority groups?
4. How must we address the issue of conflict minerals being used as a source of
funding for the conflict?
5. What is the status of media reporting in the region? How can the same be
6. What are the reasons behind the failure of the United Nations, particularly the
7. How can be better ensure the provision of humanitarian aid (water, food and
medicines) to victims of the war?
8. Are there any inadequacies in international human rights law? If yes, how must
they be remedied?
9. How do we ensure that the DRC, given its current underdeveloped state, is able to
emerge from the war and not relapse back into conflict? (Diffusing communal and
regional tensions, promoting education, bettering infrastructure etc.)
10. What role must the government serve in facilitating the peace process?