Democratic Republic of the Congo
Practice Relating to Rule 159. Amnesty
Section A. Amnesty for participation in non-international armed conflicts
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Constitution of the Transition (2003) provides:
The Plenum of the Intercongolese Dialogue has adopted,
The President of the Republic promulgates the Constitution of the Transition with the following content:
At its first session, the National Assembly of the transition shall adopt, in accordance with universal principles and international law, a law on amnesty for acts of war, political offences and offences of opinion, with the exception of war crimes, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity.
On a provisional basis and while awaiting the adoption and promulgation of the amnesty law, the amnesty shall be promulgated by a presidential decree-law.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Amnesty Decree-Law (2003) provides:
The President of the Republic,
Considering the Constitution of the Transition, especially articles 65, 118 and 199;
Considering the Global and Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed on 17 November 2002 and adopted by the Plenum of the Intercongolese Dialogue on 1 April 2003, especially point III, principles of the Transition, point 8;
Considering the urgency and necessity to realize national reconciliation, one of the major objectives of the Transition;
Awaiting the adoption of the amnesty law by the National Assembly and its promulgation, amnestied are, on a provisional basis, the acts of war, political offences and offences of opinion committed during the period of 2 August 1998 to 4 April 2003, with the exception of war crimes, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Amnesty Law (2009) states:
Following the insecurity created by the armed and insurgent groups operating in the North and South Kivu provinces, the President of the Republic established and convened, by Ordinance No. 07/075 of 20 December 2007, the Conference on Peace, Security and Development for the provinces of North and South Kivu.
At the end of the conference, it was recommended specifically that an amnesty [be granted] for acts of war and insurrection, with the aim of putting an end to the war and insecurity, and to seal the reconciliation between the daughters and sons of both these provinces.
It is in the implementation of such recommendation that the government introduces the present law.
An amnesty is granted to all Congolese, whether residing at the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo or abroad, for acts of war and insurrection committed in the provinces of North and South Kivu.
For the purpose of this law, it is understood:
- as acts of war: those acts inherent to military operations authorised by the laws and customs of war which, during the war, caused damage to others;
- as acts of insurrection: those acts of collective violence of a nature to put in danger the institutions of the Republic or to affect the integrity of the national territory.
The present amnesty law does not apply to the crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity
This amnesty covers acts committed during the period from June 2003 to the date of promulgation of the present law.
[emphasis in original]
In the framework of the 2008 DRC Pledge of Commitment signed by a number of armed groups, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), taking note of the pledge of the contracting parties and upon their request, committed itself in conformity with the pertinent recommendations of the Conference on Peace, Stability and Development in the Provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu to “[s]ubmit to the Parliament a draft amnesty law for acts of war and insurgency, covering the period from June 2003 until the enactment of the law.”