n African Human Rights Law Journal - Prosecuting international crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo : using victim participation as a tool to enhance the rule of law and to tackle impunity - focus : the rule of law in sub-Saharan Africa

Volume 18 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



In an effort to address the legacies of massive human rights abuses and to restore the harms that have been caused, access to justice in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be seen within a broad context. Central to the fulfilment of such a broad understanding of access to justice is victim participation. The legal framework of the DRC permits a wide range of participatory rights for victims in criminal proceedings. However, until recently the authority to prosecute serious violations of international human rights law, namely, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, were exclusively held by the DRC’s military courts. With the adoption of legislation in 2016 amending the Congolese Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, what remains unclear is how victim participation will be operationalised once domestic courts start prosecuting these international crimes. The purpose of this article is to respond to these concerns.

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