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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Appeal to set up an international, independent committee of inquiry two months after the murder of Floribert CHEBEYA BAHIZIRE

August 2010

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Two months after the murder of Floribert Chebeya Bahizire, a Congolese human rights activist, there has still been no independent inquiry to shed light on this appalling crime.

The current arrangements for investigating the murder of Mr Floribert Chebeya Bahizire, Chair of ‘la Voix des sans voix’ (VSV) [Voice of the Voiceless] in the night of 1-2 June 2010, and the disappearance of Mr Fidèle Bazana Edadi, a driver and member of VSV, transferred to a Congolese military court on 22 June 2010, continue to fall short of international requirements in the matter of transparency and impartiality. However, the Congolese authorities have accepted the intervention of international forensic experts.

The irregularities noted on discovery of the body of Mr Floribert Chebeya Bahizire – his family’s very limited access to his remains, and contradictory statements as to the cause of death – also point to attempts to hide the truth and give cause for serious concern. Since announcement of the arrest of an uncertain number of police officers and the suspension of General John Numbi Banza Tambo, on 6 June 2010, no information on the progress of the investigation has been officially made public, and Mr Fidèle Bazana Edadi is still described as missing.

It must also be borne in mind that the murders of several human rights activists in recent years – Mr Pascal Kabungulu Kibembi in 2005, Mr Serge Maheshe in 2007, and Mr Didace Namujimbo in 2008 – also remain unpunished to this day.

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