DRC: The Okende family has recovered the remains and is turning to Belgian justice

DRC: The Okende family has recovered the remains and is turning to Belgian justice

The family of the spokesperson for Ensemble pour la République and former Minister of Transport was this Thursday morning at the public prosecutor’s office at the Gombe high court.

The widow, father, brothers and sisters and children of Chérubin Okende, murdered on July 13 in Kinshasa, were this morning in the offices of the Gombe prosecutor to request the restitution of the remains more than six months after the events . The prosecutor responded favorably to this request.

“The family is tired of taking multiple steps and crashing into a wall each time,” explains in substance Maître Laurent Onyemba, the lawyer for the Okende family who thus explains that the remains will be buried without his clients having received the slightest answer to their questions on responsibilities in this assassination.

“It has been more than six months since this heinous murder was committed and almost six months since the autopsy was carried out and yet, we have never received the slightest beginning of information on the investigation”continues Master Onyemba who recalls: “We sent more than 7 letters to the Congolese justice system to ask for clarifications, with no response. »

The lawyer continues by explaining the family’s disappointment and incomprehension in the face of this silence. “The President of the Republic himself had asked that all light be shed on this assassination. The government called on friendly countries, such as Belgium and South Africa, to assist Congolese justice. Despite this, there is absolute silence. »

Based on this observation, the family decided to bury the remains without having obtained the requested answers. “Obviously, it’s a terrible disappointment,” continues the lawyer who adds that his clients will now “ turn to Belgian justice”.

Last November, the Okende family contacted the Belgian lawyer Mr. Alexis Deswaef, also vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), to try to obtain the answers they could not have in Congo. On November 7, Mr. Deswaef filed a war crimes complaint against the head of the Congolese military intelligence services, General Christian Ndaywell. A Congolese military intelligence officer who has the originality of being of… Belgian nationality.

The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office is seized of the case and should communicate in the near future. “It’s our lifeline, explains Me Onyemba who concludes: “This is a case that concerns a former minister and a recognized member of parliament, you can imagine what this could look like if it were an ordinary person. This is very worrying. We are really counting on Belgium. In his complaint, Maître Deswaef had notably requested that the expert report signed by the Belgian investigator who came to Kinshasa be sent to him. I hope that Belgian justice will allow us to know a little more about the circumstances of this heinous crime.”

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