ICC paves the way for justice without killing


on 18 July 2009

The ICC’s office in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Culture for Peace and Justice, a member of the World Coalition and founding member of the regional and national coalitions against the death penalty, welcomed several speakers and nearly 800 students for the event on 16 July 2009.
Culture for Peace and Justice president Liévin Ngondji as well as National Assembly member Nyabirungu Mwene Songa and Senator She Okitundu, who sponsored abolition bills, discussed the decline of the death penalty in DRC since the country became party to the Rome Statute.
They highlighted the incompatibility between the retention of the death penalty for some offenses and the fact that the ICC’s Statute, which does not provide for capital punishment for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocides is now part of Congolese law.

Watch Prof Nyabirungu and Liévin Ngondji speak in the video below.

A lively debate started on the compatibility between international norms such as the Rome Statute and the abolition of the death penalty and African specificities. Law professor Mamboyo, who described those norms as “white, European and racist”, attracted applause and leers in equal proportions.
On the contrary, another law professor involved in the ongoing reform of the penal code, Raoul Kienge-Kienge, insisted that the sacred conception of human life developed in the constitution in force since 2006 “matches the African and animist conception of man and society”.
DR Congo’s Minister for Human Rights Upio Kakura detailed the evolution of Congolese law in relation to the death penalty. In his view, although the constitution has not formally abolished capital punishment, “the handing down of death sentences has become unconstitutional” thanks to the article that guarantees the right to life.
Paul Madidi, the ICC’s spokesman in DRC, gave an update on cases currently under investigation and highlighted Africa’s crucial role in the establishment of the Court. He reminded the audience that DR Congo’s ratification of the Rome Statute topped the 60-country threshold set to formally establish the ICC.

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