Project Factsheet
Tools for » Team of Experts support to the implementation of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joint Communique on addressing sexual violence
Project ID 00092613 Description UNA035 DPKO-OHCHR-UNDP ToE DRC
Fund
UN Action Agst Sexual Violence
Start Date *: 26 Nov 2014
Theme
UN Action Team of Experts
Project status Operationally Closed
Country Congo, The Democratic Republic Participating Organization   UNDP - UNDP(MDTF/PUNO only).
About

On 30 March 2013, during a visit of SRSG Bangura, the Government of DRC and the UN signed a Joint Communiqué to Combat Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in the DRC. Through the Communiqué, the Government specifically requested the Team of Experts to provide support, including in areas identified above. During the SRSG’s visit, President Kabila also made strong commitments to fight conflict-related sexual violence. Further to the Joint Communiqué, the President has announced the appointment of a Presidential Representative on Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment. In addition, the Senate created a Specialised Commission on Sexual Violence and committed to address this issue through advocacy, sensitization, oversight of state mechanisms to fight the scourge and an improved legal framework.

As a result of successful political engagement in recent months, the Office of the SRSG-SVC and the Team of Experts feel a sense of urgency to mobilize support and offer technical assistance to the Democratic Republic of Congo to combat impunity for conflict-related sexual violence. It is essential to build on this momentum and demonstrate that the commitment and efforts displayed by the Government will be matched by the engagement and support of the international community.

 

Assistance by the Team of Experts on Rule of Law and SVC

The Team of Experts, in line with its mandate under Security Council resolution 1888 (2009) to deploy “to situations of particular concern with respect to sexual violence in armed conflict . . . to assist national authorities . . . to strengthen the rule of law”, has identified the DRC as one of the priority countries for targeted support and assistance.

In February 2011, the Team Leader of the TOE undertook an assessment to identify gaps to complement the work of the United Nations on the ground and to strengthen the Government’s efforts to fight impunity for sexual violence. The assessment highlighted the need for safe and secure environments within the FARDC and the PNC for reporting on sexual violence; the need for strengthening the military justice system’s investigative and prosecutorial capacity including evidence collection, storage and protection; and the need to ensure the protection of victims and witnesses. Following the 2011 mission and with funding provided by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, the TOE in cooperation with MONUSCO Rule of Law, the Joint Human Rights Office, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), developed a one year project entitled “Strengthening Investigation and Prosecution Capacity of the Military Justice System on Sexual Violence in eastern DRC (through SCR 1888 Team of Experts)”.

Under this project, the TOE provides support to investigations and prosecutions by the FARDC in coordination with UNDP and the PSCs. In February 2013, the TOE deployed an international sexual violence expert to Goma to strengthen the PSC’s support to FARDC investigations and prosecutions in the Kivus. The TOE and UNDP also deployed a national expert to conduct judicial monitoring and track the status of sexual violence cases involving the military among the backlog of pending or completed criminal cases. In addition to this project, the TOE produced an updated analysis of the draft bill establishing a “Specialized Court” with jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since 1990. The Team also conducted a mapping of major incidents of sexual violence which occurred between 2006 and 2011 for use in tracking progress of investigations and prosecutions by the national justice system.

In March 2013, the TOE travelled to DRC to build on the commitments and good cooperation established with the Government of DRC and various stakeholders; to help the Government assess its current capacity to address impunity for sexual violence crimes. The mission also aimed at assessing ongoing efforts, and projects; and to undertake consultations to determine the form of assistance to be provided by the TOE in its next phase of support to the Government of DRC to address impunity for conflict-related sexual violence.

In July 2013, the Team helped DRC organized a technical workshop, which resulted in the development of a plan of implementation for the Joint Communiqué. This plan constitutes the road map for DRC’s efforts to address sexual violence, around which this project is built.

 

The objective of the proposed project is to build on commitments of the Government, notably the Joint Communiqué, to offer continued technical and strategic support through the TOE and the Office of the SRSG-SVC in view of helping DRC build national capacity to address sexual violence and to ensure national ownership and leadership. 

Collectively these efforts seek to assist the Government of the DRC in sustainably addressing impunity for conflict-related sexual violence by establishing a sound legal framework, well-functioning institutions and strong protection measures resulting in the prosecution of alleged perpetrators in accordance with international standards, an enhanced confidence in the justice system by Congolese, strong oversight mechanisms within the army, and a reduction in future incidents of sexual violence.

By encouraging national ownership, leadership and responsibility, these efforts will strengthen the capacity of national civilian and military justice systems as a whole and contribute to enhanced and sustainable peace and security more broadly.  

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Congo, The Democratic Republic or the lead agency for the programme.

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