Affaire Songo Mboyo

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In December 2003, members of the Congolese army (FARDC) under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Bokila Lolemi stationed in the village of Songo Mboyo mutinied over unpaid wages. They targeted the local population and committed mass rapes across two nights with as many as 119 victims. Lolemi was charged with crimes against humanity for rape of 32 women by forces under his command and effective control. The court of first instance was the Military Garrison Tribunal of Mbandaka, which found 7 of the 12 defendants guilty, including Lolemi. Lolemi was found to have failed to exercise appropriate control over his soldiers and prevent the mass rapes, which he knew or should have known his soldiers were committing. The decision was appealed to and confirmed by the Military Court of Equateur. Though the defendants denied the rapes, the courts disagreed, citing survivors’ testimony and medical reports. This case is significant because it is one of the first instances of a Congolese Military Court directly applying the Rome Statute (in addition to DRC law n ° 024/2002 of November 18, 2002). The decision was issued by the same court and in the same year as the Mutins de Mbandaka case. The case is also significant because it represented the first time that government soldiers were put on trial for rape as a crime against humanity or war crime, a fact which is significant because the FARDC are believed to be responsible for a large proportion of sexual attacks in the DRC in recent times. The decision therefore struck a blow against military impunity for such crimes. (Lower court decision available at:



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