Justice Initiatives: evaluation and projections for 2018

Dec 18, 2017

Judges at a mobile court hearing in Walungu, South Kivu.

On Tuesday, 28 November, the Steering Committee of the justice component was held in the presence of the Minister of Justice and the Personal Representative of the Head of State in charge of Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment. The committee brings together: the Multi-year Programme of Support for Justice, the Team of Experts projects, Support for Prosecution Support Units, Civil Justice and Data Collection.

The objectives of the meeting: to present the results obtained in 2017 by the ‘Justice’ component and to discuss the programme of activities for 2018 as well as strategic directions within the field of justice.

The Justice component of the Pillar of Consolidation for Peace and Strengthening Democracy helps to reinforce the "institutional framework and citizens structures for promoting human rights and development in the DRC". This support takes place within the framework of collaboration between the Government of the DRC and the UNDP via the Country Programme Document of 2013-2017.

 

With an emphasis on strengthening the criminal justice chain, the justice component has achieved, among other things, the following key results in 2017:

  • The finalisation and validation of a new National Policy for the Reform of Justice (PNRJ)
  • The reduction of the prison population by 21.4% in the Central Prison of Goma, 15.3% in Bukavu and 45.7% in Bunia Prison. This was made possible by support for inspection visits, follow-up missions and legal aid activities.
  • The transfer of 122 long term prisoners from Goma and Bukavu to Angenga military prison, in view of the level of danger and high risk of criminal contamination they represent, in relation to preventive detainees.
  • The creation of a special unit at the prosecutor’s office of Bunia, dedicated to pre-trial detention, thanks to the advocacy of the UNDP.
  • The processing of 64.86% of international crime files, or 24 out of 37 priority cases, by the prosecution and military courts of Ituri, Ex Katanga, North and South Kivu.
  • The judicial assistance given to 90% of alleged perpetrators of international crimes in 3 endorsed international crime trials in Ituri.

The support of the UNDP in the field of new technology and also the judicial system has made it possible:

  • To provide 12 penitentiary establishments with a basic management database and an application for the collection and electronic transmission of data enabling the regular production of prison statistics.
  • To put at the disposal of the judicial system, an online judicial database for the judicial monitoring of cases of sexual violence as well as international crimes in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri. This tool was developed by the UNDP, in support of the High Council of the Judiciary and in collaboration with the 3 universities of Goma, Bukavu and Bunia. The data collected provides an insight into the judicial response to cases of sexual violence and international crime in the afore-mentioned provinces, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Reinforcing the rule of law and promoting human rights must be at the heart of all justice sector reform processes. To make this possible, the achievements of the justice component must be sustainable so as to be able to support the strengthening of the criminal justice system and the fight against serious crime. To achieve this, the UNDP plans to continue its support of the justice sector in the DRC in 2018, on two complementary axes:

  • Firstly, support of institutional reform, the main objective being to strengthen the planning and regulation institutions of the High Court of the Judiciary and the Ministry of Justice as well as sectoral coordination mechanisms.
  • Secondly, support for the respect and protection of the fundamental rights of vulnerable people in areas of concern. The programme intends to reinforce access to the justice system and the performance of judicial institutions in targeted areas. It will also work towards strengthening the fight against impunity for serious crime by all Congolese courts, both military and civilian.

Several donors are making these projects possible: The European Union, Japan, Sweden and the Team of Experts.

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