from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA – HUMAN rights groups are demanding a fair trial as six Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) security personnel are probed for allegedly killing 38 Burundian asylum seekers in 2017.
Five soldiers and a police officer are on trial on charges of murder and attempted murder for the incident that occurred in the town of Kamanyola in the South Kivu province.
Those killed included 15 women, 22 men and a 12-year-old girl.
More than 100 asylum seekers were injured.
The hearing into the violence resumed on Monday this week with about 40 Burundian survivors, witnesses and family members indicating their readiness to testify in the military court.
Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) said a fair trial for the Kamanyola massacre was critical for justice and for the victims.
“Those found responsible for the carnage should be appropriately punished and the victims given meaningful redress,” Mudge said.
“The handling of this case is important not only for the victims, but for ending mass atrocities by Congo’s security forces throughout the country.”
Military courts in DRC have a mixed track record in cases involving military personnel accused of serious crimes.
Political interference, lack of investigative and prosecutorial strategy as well as failure to respect the rights of the accused marred the trial of soldiers implicated in the mass rape in the eastern town of Minova in 2014.
– CAJ News