In the biggest rape trial in the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, just two guilty verdicts were determined against government soldiers. Most of the soldiers were cleared.
The trial relates to the alleged mass rape of 130 women by 39 soldiers. A military court in DR Congo on Monday cleared almost all of 39 soldiers accused of rape and murder. Of those convicted, only two were found guilty of rape, with a further 24 being convicted for other crimes such as looting.
Convictions for rape were rare; the fact that the trial took place at all is a step forward. And yet, according to the BBC “the outcome is a great disappointment for the victims.”
A UN report last month released a report documenting 3,645 cases of sexual violence in the country between January 2010 and December 2013. The report said that 73 percent of the victims were women, 25 percent children, and two percent men. The victims ranged between the ages of two and 80. The report said that over half the rapes were committed by members of armed groups in eastern Congo.
World Vision is working in the DRC through the “Survivors of Gender-Based Violence project.” The goal of this project is to improve the wellbeing of community members by supporting the healing and reintegration of survivors of sexual violence and their children and by working with partners to strengthen the weak protection systems that currently exist in the region. Learn more about our work in the DRC through our upcoming free conference call on June 10th!