BUKAVU — September 10, 2017
The lawsuit against Masudi Alimasi Frédéric alias Koko di Koko was filed at the South Kivu military courthouse. The leader of the militia Koko di Koko and his co-accused will be tried for crimes of rape, and other offenses. Civil parties will be defended by Panzi’s legal team.
Several months after his arrest by the Congolese army in the forests of Shabunda, Raiya Mutomboki Koko di Koko is now facing military justice. Two hearings were organized by the military court which will take place on September 12th and September 20th.
In the eyes of civil society groups, including those of the legal clinic of the Panzi Foundation, this hearing is proving to be very decisive for the continuation of the investigation. On this occasion, the request will be made to relocate the trial to the places where the crimes, attributed to Koko di Koko and his gang, had been committed.
Masudi Alimasi alias Koko di Koko will be held responsible for acts of rape, sexual slavery, murder, deprivation of liberty, and other crimes that were committed in Kabikokole, in the territory of Mwenga, as well as in Kamungini, Bimpanga, Wameli, Kigulube, Keba and Parking, in Shabunda territory.
In this case, the Congolese State is incriminated for having failed in its sovereign duty to protect and secure the population and its property.
As a reminder, on the night of February 8, 2018, the Raiya Mutomboki group led by Koko di Koko raided the village of Kabikokole, in the heart of the Lugushwa forest, in Mwenga territory. Faced with a defenseless population, the militiamen committed atrocious acts throughout the night. After destroying the only bridge that connects Kabikokole to other villages, the men of Koko di Koko took more than a hundred women hostage, locked them in a house, and committed mass rape. Afterward, the group plundered the village and kidnapped some women.
Two months later, in April of the same year, the same criminal movement was accused of having committed similar abuses in the villages of Shabunda, mentioned above.
In Kabikokole, as in the territory of Shabunda, Panzi Foundation had sent a multidisciplinary team on the ground for the psychological and medical care of the victims but also for the documentation by the lawyer, in order to prepare for possible legal proceedings.
Now that the case is under judicial investigation, Panzi Foundation is acting in favor of victims through the Justice Task Force, a consortium bringing together various organizations active in the field of the defense of human rights and the fight against impunity for crimes against humanity.
The Justice Task Force is made up of the Panzi Foundation, the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO), TRIAL International, the Prosecution Support Unit (CAP), PHR, and many other national and local organizations.
Lawyers for the civil parties are waiting to request that the Koko di Koko trial be held in a mobile court, near two sites where this crime was committed in order to allow the victims to relive the restoration of State authority against the perpetrators of the crimes.
Depending on the decision of the judges of the military court, the trial could continue in Kitutu, the closest center to Kabikokole, and in Kigulube, a city surrounded by the various villages where abuses signed Koko di Koko were recorded, in the territory of Shabunda.