BARAKA, CONGO: RAPE VICTIMS GET MONETARY COMPENSATION FOR “DIVORCE RISK” AND ARMY COLONEL GETS 20 YEARS IN LANDMARK MILITARY TRIAL FOR MASS RAPE AND OTHER WAR CRIMES/CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
A landmark military trial in Congo where an army colonel was tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes concludes, and the army colonel has been convicted for his actual and/or vicarious liability for mass rape of Congolese women one New Years day, during the war. The women will receive compensatory damages including a portion for the “divorce risk” the rapes caused them and their husbands (who typically divorce their wives if she has been rapes as thousands of Congolese women were.)
War rapes are jus cogens offenses and are human rights violations under international law (UN Charter, International Bill of Human Rights, International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights – as one of my professors drilled into my head in law school) and so this was a massive deal for these men to be tried for their crimes. The tribunal has sent the colonel to prison for 20 years and have awarded the plaintiffs monetary damages, around $10K that includes compensation for the “divorce risk” the rapes produced in their marriages. I think I read this story in the New York Times this morning while I was on the treadmill, however, the verbatim text was online at the Winnipeg Free Press:
Witnesses said the soldiers descended in a fury upon the village of Fizi, a sprawling village 35 kilometres (20 miles) south of Baraka on an escarpment of verdant mountains covered in banana trees. Residents there had stoned a soldier to death who had been involved in an altercation with a local shop owner.
The soldiers then smashed down doors and went house-to-house in Fizi, pillaging, beating and raping, from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following day, witnesses said.
The 49 women who testified about those attacks are to receive up to $10,000 each in compensation from the government as part of the verdict handed down Monday — double the amount given to victims in previous cases. Unspecified other damages must be paid for victims’ “humiliation, degradation of their health, social stigmatization, risk of divorce, and possibility of HIV,” presiding judge Col. Fredy Mukendi ordered Monday. Read more: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/mobile/colonel-sentenced-to-120-years-in-landmark-military-trial-for-mass-rape-in-e-congo-116586708.html