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CFSP Statements


Declaration by the Presidency, on behalf of the EU, on impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo – the Maheshe and Kabungulu cases

The European Union is deeply concerned by the serious irregularities observed during the appeal hearings of the alleged killers of the journalist Serge Maheshe, currently taking place in a Bukavu military court. It urges the Congolese courts to guarantee those accused in the Maheshe case a fair trial.

Alerted by the anonymous threats which observers and defence lawyers have received, the European Union would request the Congolese authorities to investigate the facts reported by the victims of these threats and to guarantee the protection both of the human rights defenders observing the hearings and of the lawyers.

The European Union once again urges the Congolese courts to restart the trial of the alleged killers of the human rights defender Pascal Kabungulu Kibembi, murdered in July 2005, which has been interrupted by the Bukavu garrison military court.

Combating impunity is essential for the democratic process in progress in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Under their international obligations, the Congolese authorities are obliged to guarantee truth, justice and redress to the families of Serge Maheshe, Pascal Kabungulu Kibembi and other human rights defenders murdered in the country. The EU calls on the Congolese authorities to show Congolese citizens that impunity is no longer tolerated.

The EU stresses its commitment to restoring the capacity of the judicial system, in particular through the REJUSCO programme in the east of the country.

The European Union also wishes to recall the importance of protecting human rights defenders and journalists.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process."


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Date: 16.05.2008