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State of siege : Towards the resumption of hearings in civil matters in the courts of Ituri and Nord Kivu

Kinshasa, July 8th, 2021 (CPA).- The Minister of State, Minister in charge of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Rose Mutombo Kiese, opened on Wednesday in Kinshasa a day of reflection on the modalities of application of the state of siege in the provinces of Ituri and Nord Kivu, during which it was agreed to resume activities in the jurisdictions of the two provinces in matters other than repressive ones.

The objective of this day of reflection was to allow the courts and offices of these two provinces to operate within the limits drawn by the ordinance of May 3rd, 2021 on implementing measures for the state of siege on part of DRC and this, in accordance with article 156 of the constitution.

The participants in these meetings, namely the deputy minister Amato Bayubasire, the first presidents of the courts of appeal of Nord Kivu and Ituri, the chairmen of the two bars, members of the superior council of the judiciary and technicians of the Ministry in charge of Justice have, for this purpose, reflected on the methods of deployment of magistrates to cover judicial activities in the two provinces with deficient magistrates.

« It was notably a question of clarifying the competences of the civil and military courts of the provinces of Nord Kivu and Ituri, of studying the feasibility of judicial coverage in the two provinces by the assignment of civil and military magistrates« , adopt mechanisms to facilitate the deployment of magistrates and administrative justice personnel in the provinces concerned and ensure their deployment ”, declared the first president of Nord Kivu Court of Appeal, Nicolas Twendimbadi Manana, at the end of this working session.

Social conditions and implementing measures for the state of siege

Speaking of the application of the new scale of magistrates, this high magistrate of the Court of Appeal of Nord Kivu indicated that the Minister in charge of Justice reassured them of her personal involvement in obtaining this new scale, and this, from the current month of July.

Nicolas Twendimbadi expressed the wish to see this effort be made, not only for magistrates, but also for other agents of the judiciary, in particular clerks and secretaries of the prosecution, while hoping that the government will be able to continue this momentum improvement of working conditions and salaries of judicial staff.

Previously, a service report and the demands of civil society organizations in the provinces concerned reported the dysfunction of the justice system due in particular to the insufficiency of judicial personnel and the closure of civil courts and offices.

According to Minister of State Rose Mutombo, under the terms of article 6 of the ordinance of May 3rd, 2021 proclaiming the state of siege over the provinces of Nord Kivu and Ituri, in the grip of innumerable violence for more than two decades, only the criminal jurisdiction of the civil courts has been devolved to the military courts during the time of siege, before recalling that this dysfunction had also been noted during his intervention before the two chambers of the Parliament for the extension of the state of siege.

“There was a circular from the judicial authorities who demanded that everything stop. It is for this reason that we told ourselves that we do a reflection so that we can lift the options to allow us to change the situation on the ground. It is not today that we are going to find a solution but life must continue since there are cases pending before these courts and we must respect the deadline for fear of creating a problem with litigants and various auxiliaries of justice. Justice”, said Ms. Rose Mutombo. ACP/

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