Congo court convicts nine soldiers in mass rape case

Nine soldiers including a commanding officer in the Democratic Republic of Congo were convicted in the mass rape of more than 50 women.

The military court sentenced them to up to 20 years in prison. The case has been closely watched as an indicator of the countries commitment to ending impunity associated with sexual violence against women. Margot Wallstrom, the UN’s special representative for sexual violence in conflict says the verdict sends an important message.

“I think this is a very important verdict because we have to end impunity and this of course will send a very strong message within the military ranks that such a high officer has been for the first time convicted of a crime of this kind.”

The mass rape happened on New Year’s Day in the town of Fizi, in South Kivu.

The UN has called Congo the rape capital of the world because of the high rate of sexual abuse against women and because these crimes often went unpunished. The UN Development Programme and the UN mission in DRCongo (MONUSCO) are covering some of the trial expenses.

duration: 18″

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