Military justice delivered its verdict after a trial which did not answer all the questions about the circumstances of the killing of more than 50 individuals in Goma on August 30.
An officer was sentenced to death on Monday, three other soldiers to ten years in prison and two acquitted by the military justice system which tried them for the repression of a demonstration which left more than 50 dead on August 30 in Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The lawyers of the convicts, who had pleaded for acquittal, announced their intention to appeal. The death penalty is often pronounced in the DRC but has not been applied for 20 years and is systematically commuted to life imprisonment.
Friday, in his indictment, the “senior auditor”, who represents the public prosecutor, did not request the death penalty but life imprisonment against the main accused, Colonel Mike Mikombe, sentenced to death by the court, who, however, did not retain the accusation of “crime against humanity” but that of “murder”. He also requested sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years for the other five defendants.
Since September 5, the six soldiers (including two senior officers) of the Republican Guard have been on trial for a murderous operation launched against a religious sect which had called for demonstrations against the presence in the region of the UN, the regional force of East Africa and international NGOs. This operation, the latest official report of which shows 57 civilians killed, led to renewed tension in Goma, in the heart of a region prey to violence by armed groups and rebellions.