Conviction of Congolese Military Officers Accused of Mass Rapes

Press Statement
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
February 23, 2011

The United States Government welcomes the February 21st verdict and sentencing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of nine military personnel found guilty of ordering and carrying out mass rapes in the town of Fizi on New Year’s Day. We applaud the DRC Government for taking swift and appropriate legal action to arrest and try in a local court the alleged perpetrators, including Lt. Colonel Kibibi Mutware and his subordinates. The trial and conviction of Congolese military personnel, including several officers, for committing acts of sexual violence in a conflict setting is a significant milestone. By taking such steps, the DRC Government is strengthening the message to perpetrators of sexual violence that no one is immune from prosecution for this horrific crime. Accountability for sexual and gender based violence is a shared priority for our governments and is an essential component to ending impunity for violent crimes and bringing peace and stability to the eastern DRC.

PRN: 2011/271