Can Pope Francis bring peace to DRC, South Sudan?


Pope Francis with DRC President Felix Tshisekedi. Photo by AFP

from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
DRC Bureau
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – POPE Francis has called on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan leaders to address impunity.

He was on a six-day visit that included the two countries.

Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said Pope Francis should publicly call on the countries’ leaders to take concrete steps to end impunity for crimes under international law.

“Improving the human rights situation in each country (DRC and South Sudan) will not be possible without criminal accountability for atrocities committed amid the armed conflicts,” Chagutah said.

While the DRC authorities initiated a “transitional justice” process, their efforts to actually achieve accountability and justice have been described as half-hearted and hesitant.

Meanwhile, South Sudanese authorities have failed to prosecute perpetrators of crimes under international law, or to establish the African Union-backed Hybrid Court despite provisions in two peace deals.

Instead, authorities are accused of prioritizing truth over trials.

“It is essential that the authorities in each country take urgent steps to address rampant impunity for the atrocities committed during armed conflicts, which have ravaged the countries in recent decades,” Chagutah said.

For over 25 years, armed conflicts in the DRC have claimed millions of lives.

Congolese and foreign perpetrators of these crimes have largely remained unpunished.

The creation of the Hybrid Court in South Sudan has been delayed, leaving little to no prospects for accountability for crimes under international law for millions of survivors and victims.

– CAJ News



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