Since its independence in 1960, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has undergone egregious violations of human rights and humanitarian law. This study appraises the responses to international crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 1990 and 2010.
It appears from the study that mass atrocities have taken place recurrently during the above period. Millions of people have either died or forcibly fled from their homes as a result of international crimes. This study distinguishes two eras: pre-ICC and post-ICC in relation with the entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) 1 July 2002.
For the pre-ICC era, it argues that criminal prosecutions (though possible) are no longer opportune, but suggests a focus on the issue of reparation for victims. It mentions that the DRC was unwilling rather than unable to prosecute international crimes prior to the ICC era. It recalls that the UN does not need to appoint an ad hoc tribunal because it has restored peace by non-coercive means.
As for the post-ICC era, this study questions the ability of the DRC, the ICC and the UN to counter international crimes. The deterrent effect of national prosecution is lower than that of the ICC, but the ICC suffers from congenital weaknesses, hampering its efficacy. The study highlights the UN s failure to protect civilians. The study suggests a focus on the guarantee of non-repetition as genuine response to post-ICC crimes. It suggests a strengthening of traditional institutions aimed at protecting civilians (including states and the UN). Furthermore, it suggests the enhancement of judicial bodies at both domestic and international level, including by a lowering of political involvement in judicial matters.