Skip to main content

Democratic Republic of Congo: Politics and Government

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the UK has made in relation to the arrest and detention in the Democratic Republic of Congo of Gabriel Mokia, head of the Movement for Democratic Change political party. (224541)

UK officials and other international observers in Kinshasa are following Gabriel Mokia's case. Mr. Mokia has had access to legal representation, and officials from the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo have attended all sessions of the proceedings against him. It is not yet clear what charges, if any, he will face. While we have not yet made any specific representations in this case, we will continue to monitor its progress, share information with partners, and make such representations, as appropriate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the UK has made in relation to concerns raised by international observers at the conviction in the Democratic Republic of Congo of Freddy Bisimwa Matabaro and Mugisho Rwezangabo for the murder of the journalist Serge Maheshe and their requests for a renewed and effective investigation into his death. (224542)

The UK has worked closely with international partners in following the trial of the men accused of the murder of Serge Maheshe. We and EU partners believe that effective pursuit of this case by the Democratic Republic of Congo authorities will send an important signal that impunity is no longer tolerated.

The EU made representations to the Minister for Justice and Human Rights on 12 May 2008 after four defendants were convicted, and issued a further statement on 15 May, highlighting the EU's concern at irregularities in the appeal process and calling for fairness in the proceedings.

The convictions of Freddy Bisimwa Matabaro and Mugisho Rwenzagabo for the murder of Serge Maheshe were upheld on appeal on 21 May. Officials from the UN's mission in DRC are in contact with the authorities over this verdict. The defendants' lawyers are in the process of exploring options for a final appeal.