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Congo court acquits former Australian mining company employees of war crimes

[JURIST] A Democratic Republic of Congo [JURIST news archive] military court Thursday acquitted three former employees of Australian Anvil Mining Ltd. [corporate website] who were charged [JURIST report] with complicity in war crimes committed when government soldiers killed more than 100 people [ABC Australia report] in the border town of Kilwa in response to a brief rebel uprising in 2004. A court document obtained by Reuters at the time stated 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." Canadian Pierre Mercier and South Africans Peter Van Niekerk and Cedric Kirsten were acquitted of facilitating summary executions, rape, torture, and looting carried out by soldiers. Tribunal president Colonel Joseph Mokako held the accusations against them to be "unfounded."

Anvil had insisted that any allegations that it assisted in or had knowledge of any wrongdoing were unfounded [Anvil press release, PDF]. ABC Australia News has more.

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