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DR Congo: UN welcomes life sentences on soldiers accused of massive rape

April 14, 2006
"The court has validated the statute of Rome that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) in July 2002 and stated that massive rape is considered a crime against humanity and liable to life in prison,"
- Luc Henkinbrandt, UN Organization in the DR of Congo (MONUC) human rights official

Kinshasha - Welcoming the first sentencing of army soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for crimes against humanity stemming from massive rape, United Nations officials have called for further investigations to help prosecute other military personnel who may be implicated.

"The court has validated the statute of Rome that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) in July 2002 and stated that massive rape is considered a crime against humanity and liable to life in prison," UN Organization in the DR of Congo (MONUC) human rights official Luc Henkinbrandt said of the life sentences handed down yesterday against seven officers.

Five other accused were acquitted by the Military Garrison Court in Songo Mboyo in northern DRC, where members of an Armed Forces of the DR Congo (FARDC) battalion, who came from the ex-Liberation Movement of Congo (MLC), in 2003 collectively raped at least 119 women and girls, many less than 18 years old.

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