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DEATH SENTENCE: Congolese Govt Lifts Moratorium on Death Penalty

The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo have lifted the moratorium prohibiting the execution or sentencing of offenders to death in the wake of intense fighting between the army and the M23 Rebel Group in the eastern part of the country.

The Congolese Defence Forces (FARDC) have been faced with enormous challenges in dealing with the M23 fighters who continue to advance and occupy several towns in North Kivu Province.

The government has since justified its decision to invoke the death sentence as the moratorium had been; “riding on our country’s army of traitors on the one hand and stemming the resurgence of acts of terrorism and urban banditry leading to the death of men on the other hand”.

Minister of Justice Rose Mutombo revealed in a circular that the decision was taken at the 124th ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers.

“For several years, the death penalty, although pronounced by the courts, has no longer been carried out due to the moratorium on the execution of capital punishment decreed by the Congolese government in 2003.

Unfortunately, this moratorium was in the eyes of all these offenders as a guarantee of impunity because, even when they were irrevocably condemned to the death penalty, they were assured that this sentence would never be carried out against them.

Thus, in execution of this decision, the sentence of death following an irrevocable judicial conviction occurring in time of war, under a state of siege or emergency, during a police operation aimed at maintaining or reestablishing public order or during any other exceptional circumstance, will be executed,” wrote the Minister of Justice Rose Mutombo in a circular note addressed Wednesday March 13, 2024 to the President of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, to the First President of the Court of Cassation, to the Attorney General at the Court of Cassation, to the first president of the High Military Court and to the auditor general of the FARDC.

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