Denis Mukwege: “The situation is explosive in eastern Congo and we must act quickly”

Ten years ago today, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights published his “Mapping” report on the most serious crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 1993 and 2003. This unprecedented investigation was to put an end to more than a decade of impunity and had in one year registered 617 war crimes, crimes against humanity and possible genocide crimes. But since then, none of these crimes have been tried, and its recommendations remain a dead letter condemned by more and more voices in the Congo, like Dr. Denis Mukwege, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

RFI: When we became involved like you in acknowledging the crimes in the Mapping Report, how do we feel on this rather special anniversary day after ten years??

Denis mukwege: For me today, it’s a mixed feeling. Mixed as it is incomprehensible the international community has read this report and that the Security Council decided to put this report in a drawer. To me, this is incomprehensible, and it raises the question, “What world are we going to build tomorrow?” I think the crimes that are considered war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide crimes, should not be quiet as we are all concerned. And the day we remain silent about these crimes, we simply know that we are opening the door wide for this type of crime to continue. On the other hand, the fact that the Congolese people are rising up, to ask the Congolese government to take its responsibility in relation to these crimes, to let the Congolese people make sure that this development of the Congolese people is very, very encouraging.

But it is a little thank you to you, precisely this mobilization, especially internationally. It’s also because you finally placed your Nobel Peace Prize under the sign of stopping impunity for the crimes of the mapping report.?

As the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, how can I continue to retain this honorary title if I do not work for peace in the region? I think we still have a momentum today to have a president who has clean hands in the face of all these serious human rights violations. The fact that he asked that his government could work on the issue of transitional justice may give some people who lived in fear the opportunity to feel that there is hope, there is a leader who wants to move them. lines.

Dog Felix Tshisekedi also promised not to dive into the past. And even though he removed from operational command, two officers are considered to be “redNor did he remove them from the army by the UN.

You have to start somewhere. I think it should rather be encouraged. We know that there are obstacles and we must have a population that is committed to encouraging the President of the Republic to move forward as well.

The government has drafted two decrees that allow for transitional justice, precisely at the request of the president Tshisekedi. At the moment, it is essentially a kind of Commission of Truth and Reconciliation, but there is no court or mixed chamber intended to try these crimes. Will that be enough?

That is not enough. I believe that justice is absolutely necessary. Today in our country it is as if passing through the ranks of the army you must show that you are capable of killing your countrymen. It can not work! You will not become an army general because you have been in the bush, because you have killed, because you have raped!

Exactly, is it really possible to fight against impunity as long as former warlords do business within the army, in the assemblies, also in the courts?? To try them, you need political will, but it can be difficult to find in those who committed these crimes …

You know, we will not reinvent the wheel in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We know very well the extent to which transitional justice has been able to change things in several countries. Twenty-five years is too much. Twenty-five years is too much … We tried to hide, we tried to put all the reports in the drawers in the hope that time will fix things … The result is there, we have not corrected anything. On the contrary, the situation in eastern Congo is explosive and we must act quickly.

DR Congo by Félix Tshisekedi does everything to get closer to his neighbors, even ensuring mediation between them. Do you really think Felix? Tshisekedi can today support the creation of a jurisdiction that could put its new allies in difficulty?

I think the choice between its allies and its people will be very clear. In my opinion, his allies will remain allies if they still accept that we can talk, that we can tell the truth about our past. If we want to build a good relationship with our neighbors, I think we need to tell the truth. Justice must be able to say who did what, and then we can move on to the reconciliation phase with the neighbors and say “never again!”

But how can this be understood at the DRC level and the international community? For if it has been ten years since the publication of the Mapping report that these recommendations have not been implemented, what could happen that this today suddenly The international community begins to react?

I call on the Congolese people to demand that justice be done. I ask the Congolese people to stand up. No one will do it for us. It is up to the people to demand that the law be said. And there I see very badly how the international community or even the government will continue to flee.

Why it is necessary to publish the names of the perpetrators of these crimes?

We published the names of the victims, why do we protect the executioners? I think that for me it simply allows the executioners to continue to commit their atrocities as they do so in anonymity. We know very well that in the region it is still these executioners who have the power. It is these executioners who are responsible, it is these executioners who have ordered the commission of crimes. How can we expose the population to such torture?

At present, there is a lot of money, there are millions, if not billions, being invested in the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially in the UN mission in Congo. So you think that money, this peacekeeping strategy is finally being wasted?

You have to assess after twenty years, you have to assess after twenty-five years … I think when you adopt a strategy, goodwill is there. But the result is, on the contrary, what we expected. I think what is missing in everything we do all the time is justice. Because if criminals are still there, that they are free, and that they can continue to commit crimes, even if we try to create peace, I believe that this peace will never be possible!


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