DR Congo

DR Congo/Beni: Refresher course for Criminal Investigation Officers "OPJ"

News and Press Release
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MONUC facilities in Beni and Butembo hosted a meeting, on 21 novembre 2008, between thirty OPJ's and the Public Prosecutor, Tupa Kamango. The meeting was attended by the Chief of MONUC's Human Rights Office in Beni and his colleague of MONUC's Police Unit in the same town.

The chief of the United Nations Human Rights Office in Beni, Fulgence Zeneth said a committee was put in place to deal with the cases of dysfunction and indicated that the major objectives were, inter alias: To step up oversight operations of all the judiciary activities to be initiated by PNC's OPJs; To exchange experience on the cases of violations perpetrated by law-enforcement officers in Beni; To reflect on how best to reinforce OPJ's technical capacity;

The Public Prosecutor, Tupa Kamango, focused on the judiciary records held by the Congolese National Police Force OPJs.

Referring to the 3 July 1978 decree, the Public Prosecutor highlighted that the major breaches committed by OPJs in Beni consisted mainly in the bringing of false charges, the examination of legal cases by non-OPJs, and non-compliance with the constitutional timeframe in respect of police custody.

A number of recommendations were made. OPJ's should make use of judiciary records provided for by the law as a model, be sworn in before assuming office and that they should regularly update the Public Prosecutor on cases of sexual abuse they handled.

The Public Prosecutor should invite the recently-appointed chiefs of municipalities and OPJs to take an oath before assuming office and that he should instruct the PNC inspector to stop detaining police members and civilians in the same prison cell.

The UN Human Rights Office should organise monthly meetings between the prosecutors' office and OPJs on the matters pertaining to the criminal law and that they should reproduce the decree on the OPJs status and the criminal law and avail them to the OPJs in Beni.

On 25 March 2008, the Human Rights Office established a Follow-Up Committee on Human Right Abuses perpetrated by PNC members in Béni, in line with a ministerial decree on how the law should be enforced at the provincial level.