Congo rejects UN-led investigation into violence in Kasai region

The Democratic Republic of Congo, on Tuesday, rejected an independent investigation into violence in its Kasai region which has been called for by a top UN human rights official.

The UN Human Rights Council is likely to vote on Tuesday on whether to authorise such an investigation into violence that has killed hundreds in central Congo since last August, including two UN experts who were murdered earlier this year.

“Carrying out an investigation that excludes the Congolese authorities would be unacceptable. It would be as if we were not an independent country,” Justice Minister Alexis Mwamba told reporters in Geneva.

UN human rights chief Zeid Al-Hussein called on the Council to mandate an investigation after Congo missed a deadline to agree to investigate alleged massacres jointly.

Mwamba said: “that would be a pity, for the simple reason that if a resolution is voted for and doesn’t take us into account, implementing it will be difficult.

“Do you want experts to go into a foreign country without reporting to the national authorities?

“How will they get visas? How will they get access to the countryside? The best way would be to go towards a solution that is acceptable for everyone … If you think you can do the investigation without us, go ahead.”

He said it was baseless to suggest that Congo had not met a June 8 deadline set by Zeid, since it had presented its roadmap for investigating on May 24 in Kinshasa. Zeid has said the government’s response “falls short”.

Some legal proceedings had already begun, Mwamba said, including the trial of people suspected of killing UN sanctions monitors Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan, an American and a Swede who disappeared in March and whose bodies were found two weeks later in a shallow grave.

Mwamba said about a dozen suspects were identified from a video of the murders, and the four principal suspects have been arrested.

The others are still being sought. (NAN)

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