Joint Statement by the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and for Children and Armed Conflict commending landmark conviction for crimes against humanity by the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Kavumu child rape cases

The Special Representatives of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SVC), Pramila Patten, and for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba welcome the landmark decision by military justice authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the conviction of a provincial parliamentarian and members of the “Army of Jesus” militia for the crimes against humanity of rape for dozens of children in Kavumu, DRC. The crimes occurred on a serial basis between 2013–2016 in the town located in South Kivu province.

“The child survivors of sexual violence in Kavumu, their families, and community have shown tremendous bravery throughout the trial process,” said Special Representative Patten. “I commend their courage and I hope today’s judgment delivers a measure of justice for their suffering.” She noted further that the “judgment and life sentences rendered by military justice authorities is a significant step forward in ending impunity for sexual violence in the DRC.”

SRSGs Patten and Gamba also commended civil society actors for their role. “The case demonstrates that when there is political will, well-trained Government officials, civil society involvement, and an engaged press, there can be justice for sexual violence,” said SRSG Gamba.

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