[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said Friday that his office would prosecute individuals involved election violence [statement] in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC is expected to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on November 28. The prosecutor’s statement follows a UN report [text, PDF] published earlier this month encouraging an end to election violence[JURIST report]. The report, published by theUN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) [official website] alleges that 188 cases of human rights violations related to the electoral process have occurred in the last year. Moreno-Ocampo indicated that it was important to encourage a peaceful electoral process in the DRC and to prosecute offenders. He stated that his office is investigating the alleged violence and will prosecute those who perpetrate violence:
We are keeping watch to ensure that the process does not lead to acts of violence or attacks against the civilian population. We are paying particular attention to reports of inciting hatred, exclusion and physical violence by various political figures in Kinshasa and across the entire country. Electoral violence can result in the commission of crimes falling within our jurisdiction. No one should doubt our resolve to prevent crimes or, if need be, prosecute individuals, as we are doing in Kenya and Cote Ivoire.
The prosecutor expressed a resolve to investigate all those responsible for election violence regardless of political affiliation. Daniel Ngoy Mulunda, the head of Congo’s election commission, said the ICC is welcome to monitor electoral procedures [Reuters report] and investigate any violence in the electoral process.
The DRC has faced numerous accusations of human rights violations in the past. In June, four policemen were sentenced [JURIST report] to death for killing a prominent human rights activist. In February, a military official and his subordinates were sentenced for mass rape [JURIST report] that occurred on New Year’s Eve. In addition to human rights violations, the DRC faced some minor issues such as arresting [JURIST report] six election officials for ballot fraud but there has been no violence related to election reported.