Paris – Kinshasa, 29 June 2011
Gombe Military Court issued its verdict in the Floribert Chebeya and Fidèle Bazana case on 23 June 2011. Four Congolese policemen were sentenced to death for the murder, in 2010, of this human rights activist and the disappearance of his driver. Another was sentenced to life imprisonment and three further people were acquitted.
The verdict confirms the responsibility of the Congolese police in the murder of Floribert Chebeya. The conviction of a high-ranking officer, Colonel Daniel Mukalay, deputy head of the special police service, is in itself significant.
However, FIACAT and the Congolese ACAT are very concerned about the sentences passed. They are opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, as a violation of the right to life and the worst form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
On 28 November 2010, the Congolese Parliament rejected a draft law seeking to abolish the death penalty. In February 2011, the Congolese Supreme Court affirmed that the death penalty had not been abolished by the new Constitution of 2006. Moreover, in March 2011, the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a declaration disassociating itself from the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. These three actions demonstrate a clear will to maintain the death penalty in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and nothing suggests that the sentences will not be executed.
FIACAT and the Congolese ACAT call on the Democratic Republic of Congo to implement as soon as possible a moratorium on death sentences and executions.
Although the struggle against impunity remains an absolute priority for FIACAT and the Congolese ACAT, it must not be to the detriment of other human rights, notably the right to life.
Guillaume Colin – firstname.lastname@example.org – + 33 (0)1 42 80 01 60