May 26, 2019

Violence is not an option, Prosecutor Bensouda Statement on violence DRC

Statement by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on the recent pre-election violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Congolese people will be going to the polls to partake in the presidential, legislative and provincial elections. As they do, I am concerned by the growing tensions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”) and the risk of escalating violence that could lead to the commission of grave crimes under the jurisdiction of the InternationalCriminal Court (the “ICC” or the “Court”).

The DRC is a State Party to the ICC. This Court was created to prosecute andtry those accused of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

Experience in other countries has demonstrated that when passions run highduring elections and people do not act with restraint, this may lead to large-scale crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC. In such a case, my Office will not hesitate to take action in accordance with the criteria defined by the Rome Statute.

Anyone who incites or participates in mass violence, by ordering, soliciting,encouraging or otherwise contributing to crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is liable to prosecution before the Court. No one should doubt my determination to investigate such crimes and to prosecute them when conditions as defined by the Rome Statuteare met.

Political leaders are equally obliged to ensure that the electoral processand the elections proceed in a calm manner and that they, their supporters and sympathizers, refrain from any violence before, during and after these elections.

As I stated in my previous statements and during my visit to Kinshasa in May2018, my Office will continue, in accordance with its mandate under the Rome Statute, to closely monitor developments in the DRC in the days and weeks to come and identify any act of incitement or resort to violence.

I wish to reiterate my appeal to the Congolese people, and more particularlyto the authorities, political actors, their supporters and sympathizers, to do their utmost to prevent and avoid any conduct of criminal violence contrary to the Rome Statute, anywhere and at any time. Violence is not an option.

Comments are closed.