In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), tens of thousands of girls and women have suffered horrific acts of sexual violence. The government army is one of the main perpetrators. Commanders, even when confronted with abuses, have frequently failed to stop sexual violence and may themselves be guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity as a consequence. In this report, Human Rights Watch looks at sexual violence committed by the army and more specifically the 14th brigade whose case illustrates the failure to enforce respect for humanitarian law. The Congolese government and international agencies have taken some measures to deal with the army's poor human rights record, sometimes as part of broader security sector reform. These efforts have so far seen only limited success. For example, while some foot soldiers have been brought to justice, commanders are usually spared prosecution. To end impunity for the military, the Congolese government should strengthen the weak military justice system; establish clear chains of command, remove army officers with responsibility for past crimes, train military of all ranks on protection of women and girls, and improve pay and living conditions for soldiers. The government should also consider establishing a mixed chamber composed of international and Congolese judges and prosecutors to prosecute military and civilian leaders responsible \ for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual crimes, beyond the few individuals who will be tried by the International Criminal Court.
"This report was researched and written by Juliane Kippenberg"--Acknowledgements. "July 2009"--P. following t.p.
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