Ms. Gamba called the verdict”a significant victory for people who seek justice for grave crimes against kids” from the DRC and elsewhere.
“This is a formidable case demonstrating that no person, however strong, is immune from being held liable for those offenses”, she added.
He also co-conspirators, such as Séraphin Nzitonda Habimana, also called Lionceau, of those so-called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), were attempted for mass crimes perpetrated between 2010 and 2017.
One of the offenses were strikes in 2010 against civilians from Walikale territory where the UN Joint Human Rights Office explained that 387 civilians endured sexual violence. The Security Council condemned the assaults from the strongest terms and called for the perpetrators to be held liable and prosecuted.
Subsequently, Mr. Sheka was inserted into the Security Council sanctions set for the DRC. Adhering to a two-year trial which started in 2018, the two defendants were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.
“My mandate has pursued justice for Messrs. Sheka and Lionceau’s offenses using a coalition of federal and global partners, because of the sexual abuse they’ve committed for more than a decade”, explained Ms. Patten. “The verdict sends a strong signal that impunity for sexual abuse in Congo won’t be tolerated”.
The two UN envoys commended the courageous victims who came forward to testify, their lawyers as well as the Congolese prosecutors who pursued the situation with diligence.
They emphasized the wide coalition of domestic and global celebrities who worked together to make sure that justice has been done, they claimed stands as a model for its long run.
In addition, the Special Representatives recognized the UN’s technical assistance, especially that of its Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) in addition to the military law enforcement that led to the result.
“North Kivu is nevertheless subject to bitterness and sexual abuse, but this verdict is a very clear message to perpetrators you will be brought to justice no matter how long it takes”, stated Ms. Patten.
Ms. Gamba addedthat”during this verdict, after more parties to conflict are advised that offenses against children can’t be overlooked, which sooner or later justice will prevail”.
The Special Agents also called upon the DRC Government to offer reparations and assistance to sufferers of Mr. Sheka’s offenses who still suffer after the offenses.