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UN report finds DRC rights violations during 2007 post-election violence

[JURIST] UN rights investigators with the United Nations Human Rights Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (UNHRO) have documented serious human rights violations committed in the DRC following post-electoral violence in the capital Kinshasa in March 2007, including summary execution of civilians and excessive force leading to at least 300 deaths. The findings were contained in a preliminary report [PDF text; press release] released Friday in Geneva by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Congolese government has rejected the investigators' findings as untrue.

Congolese government forces clashed last March with members of the personal security detail of Jean-Pierre Bemba [BBC profile], a former warlord turned senator. Bemba was elected to the Congolese Senate after losing a run-off presidential election [JURIST report] to Joseph Kabila [BBC profile], who in December 2006 became the first freely-elected president of the DRC since 1960. After the election, Bemba's private militia force led a violent campaign against government troops until the DRC Supreme Court rejected his election challenge [JURIST report]. In the process, Bemba's supporters set fire to the Supreme Court building [JURIST report]. Following the March clashes, Bemba fled to Portugal. AP has more.

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