The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Campaigning for the reform of the Congolese criminal justice system and for the protection and support for victims of crimes under international law.

Over the last two decades, the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have endured horrific crimes at the hands of armed groups, including killings, displacement, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. Most of the crimes under international law have not been investigated, those responsible have not been prosecuted and victims have been denied access to justice, truth and reparation.

Due to the weaknesses and fundamental gaps and flaws in the Congolese justice system, impunity continues for past and current crimes under international law committed in the DRC. Despite efforts to bring about justice sector reform and promote the fight against impunity, the outlook for justice at the national level remains bleak. Few people have access to existing justice mechanisms, and confidence in the justice system is low. Victims and witnesses are reluctant to come forward, as there is no national system in place to protect them. The judiciary is far from independent, and interference is common in both the military and civilian justice systems. In the military justice system, officers shield soldiers under the command from justice and the political and military hierarchy protects senior military figures. This is of particular concern in a country where the army is one of the main perpetrators of crimes under international law.

Amnesty International has conducted in depth research into the ability of the Congolese justice system to investigate and prosecutor crimes under international and provide adequate protection and support to witnesses and victims. Amnesty International’s Campaign for International Justice in the DRC has brought global attention to the need for justice now in the country.

The organization is working together with a coalition of Congolese organizations to ensure:

  • Commitment of the authorities to the fight against impunity
  • Reform of the criminal justice system, including ending exclusive military jurisdiction over crimes under international law
  • Protection and support of witnesses and victim in the DRC

Amnesty International is also working for:


Press Release


The Time for Justice is Now! New strategy needed in the Democratic Republic of Congo

August 10, 2011