Ituri: life imprisonment of seventeen (17) CODECO militiamen

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Bunia, November 22nd, 2021 (CPA)  .- The public prosecutor requested life imprisonment for seventeen (17) CODECO militiamen and twenty (20) years for the five (5) of them, at end of his indictment before the Ituri military garrison court sitting in a fairground at the central prison of Bunia, in the case between the military garrison auditor and the civil parties against twenty-four (24) alleged elements of this militia. The accusing body, based on national and international legal instruments, found that these seventeen (17) rebels are found guilty of participating in an insurrectionary movement, crimes against humanity by murder, deportation and other crimes. inhuman, while five (5) are guilty of participating in an insurrectionary movement. In addition, the public prosecutor declared « public action extinguished » due to the death of two (2) defendants concerned by this first case of « Djugu 4 » where the defendants were arrested between 2018 and 2020. The body of the law has, moreover, judged « admissible and founded » of the civil actions brought by the 76 civil parties and, consequently, asked the military court to condemn all the defendants, jointly with the Congolese State. Previously, the civil party council group, after narrating the facts about the atrocities with moral, material and psychological damage suffered by its clients, requested individual and collective reparations from the court. On the other hand, the collective of the defense affirmed that the doubt hangs over some of its clients, on the grounds that the body of law did not take care to deepen its investigations to bring the elements of evidence, in order to emerge guilt clues for each. The defense group, on the one hand, asked the court to acquit its eight (8) clients and, in the event of conviction of others, to do so taking into account the extenuating circumstances, because, has t He indicated, the acts of some of his clients are the work of the « tie-up assailants » who used their precariousness to manipulate them. The military court took the matter under advisement before ruling within the time limit set by law, it was decided.

Three (3) waves of CODECO atrocities in Ituri

The trigger for the first wave of CODECO militia atrocities, from June 2017 to April 2018, dates back to the death, following an illness, of a priest in the parish of Drodro, in the territory of Djugu. The second wave, between September 2018 and May 2019, is marked by repetitive attacks against FARDC positions, to procure arms and ammunition. The third was triggered on June 10, 2019, following the death of the trader Tikpa, in the locality of Kobu, in the territory of Djugu, it is recalled.