Former Congolese army officer sentenced to life

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A dummy soldier sits by a road in a remote community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where Civilian Liaison Assistants (CLAs) work to create a link between the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and communities whose civilians MONUSCO seeks to protect from violence. UN Photo/Myriam Asmani

A former Congolese army officer has been sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity including rape, sexual slavery and murder.

Bedi Engangela committed the crimes in South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between 2005 and 2007.

Also known as “Colonel 106”, his conviction by a military court was welcomed by the UN Mission in the country, MONUSCO.

As political instability and armed conflict persist in the African country, the UN has continued to document cases of warring groups using sexual violence as weapons to humiliate, dominate, and instil fear in civilians.

Stéphane Dujarric is Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

The Head ad interim of the Human Rights Office in the DRC, Abdoul Aziz Thioye, said it was a strong message to perpetrators of serious human rights violations that their crimes will not be unpunished.

The conviction marks the culmination of seven years of efforts by the Congolese justice authorities and international organizations.

It follows the recent sentencing in November of another senior officer, General Jérôme Kakwavu, to 10 years of imprisonment for war crimes.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

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