Statement by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, regarding the situation in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo

am deeply concerned by the numerous reports of an escalation in serious violence over the past several months in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”), particularly in the territories of Djugu and Mahagi.

Credible information indicates there have been many armed attacks on the civilian population. In recent months, these attacks have intensified in several territories in Ituri. There are also reports from the same source of repeated attacks on camps for internally displaced persons and on targeted communities. Moreover, these reports indicate the killing and maiming of many civilians, many of whom are children; abductions and summary or extrajudicial executions; sexual and gender-based crimes against women, under-age girls, and men; systematic pillaging; and the burning and destruction of homes, private property and public buildings.

These acts could constitute crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”).

I would remind all groups and parties concerned that we opened an investigation in the DRC in 2004, and my Office continues to monitor with the utmost attention the situation throughout the territory of the DRC, including the current situation in the territories of Ituri.

I call on all groups and all parties to cease all attacks without delay, especially those against the civilian population, and to refrain from the use of all criminal violence contrary to the Rome Statute of the ICC.

In accordance with the principle of complementarity, which is at the heart of the Rome Statute, and which gives States Parties primary responsibility for prosecuting and trying crimes, I encourage the competent authorities of the DRC to redouble their efforts to ensure a proper investigation is carried out. This will serve to shed light on the alleged crimes, and to bring to justice all the perpetrators and accomplices involved in the commission of the criminal acts recorded in the region of Ituri. read

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