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Congo military court seeks war crimes trial for foreigners involved in Kilwa incident

[JURIST] A military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo [JURIST backgrounder] has recommended that three ex-employees of Anvil Mining [corporate website], an Australian company, be tried for complicity in war crimes committed by Congolese government soldiers in 2004. The crimes alleged to have been facilitated by the ex-employees, a Canadian and two South Africans, include summary executions, rape, torture, and looting carried out by soldiers led by Colonel Ademar Ilunga in 2004 after the bombardment of the town of Kilwa during a small rebellion in Congo's Katanga province. At least 100 people are said to have died [ABC Australia report; recorded video; timeline].

A court document obtained by Reuters states that the men "voluntarily failed to withdraw the vehicles placed at the disposal of the 62nd Brigade in the context of the counter offensive [on] October 2004 to recapture the town of Kilwa" and "knowingly facilitated the commission of war crimes by Ilunga Ademar and his men." In June 2005, an Australian law firm acting on behalf of Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) [advocacy website] and Congolese NGOs asked the Australian Federal Police [official website] to determine if there was sufficient evidence of Anvil's involvement in crimes against humanity or war crimes under Chapter 8 of the Australian Criminal Code Act of 1995 [text] which reflects the law of the International Criminal Court [official website]. That investigation is ongoing. Anvil has insisted that any allegations that it assisted in or had knowledge of any wrongdoing are unfounded [Anvil press release, PDF]. Reuters has more. RAID has issued a press release on the court recommendation and has additional background on the Kilwa incident.

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