Marcel Mulezi v Congo

Communication No 962 of 2001
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Region: Africa
Year: 2004

The author, Marcel Mulezi are residents of Democratic Republic of Congo. He claims that he and his wife were subjected to violations by state machinery.

The author, a businessman specializing in transportation of coffee, was forced by one Commander Mortos to lend one of his trucks to the army and the lorry was never retuned and he vowed never to agree to any of the requests by the army.

Eraly morning on 27th December 1997 , members of the military intelligence services known as Détection Militaire des Activités Antipatrie, associated with the president Laurent Laurent Desire visited him in his home and escorted him to Gemena military camp where he was detained and accused of being an accomplice of the former president Joseph Desire Mobutu and his allies.

At round one of his employees known as Mario and who clearly had been tortured due to the physical injuries on him ,was brought and was forced during the interrogation to accuse the author of being a Mobutu ally.

When he contested the accusation he was badly beaten and injured in the nose and mouth and had his fingers broken. He would be beaten five times a day , he would be hung upside down , had his nails pulled by pliers , both legs broken , lacerated .He was not allowed to see a doctor , was not getting enough food or allowed to shower or even walk.

After two weeks he was transferred to Mbadaka military camp, again he was not allowed to see a doctor was not allowed to talk to a lawyer and was never brought to a judge. He was held in a cell measuring 5 by 3 and had no window with 20 others and was no allowed sanitation and neither did he have mattresses. The author says that eventually he acquired medicine form Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) who visited the camp.

His brother managed to locate him through a military friend and he informed him that the military had gone and searched his house beaten up wife and Commander Mortos denied her access to medical assistance and had died three days later. A soldier tried to take him to hospital but military police intercepted and he was taken back to the camp. The soldier who tried to assist him was imprisoned.

In May 1999 ,e bribed some soldiers who took him to the harbor and he escaped Mbadaka to Switzerland . A medical report from Geneva Medical university indicates that he had suffered physically and physiologically due to the violence he had suffered while in the Democratic  Republic of Congo.

The author claims that he and his wife suffered violations by DRC of articles 6 paragraph 1; 7; 9, paragraphs 1, 2, 4 and 5; 10, paragraph 1; 14, paragraph 3; and 15, paragraph 1, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

On exhaustion of remedies, the author states that he could have managed to so due to the fact that he was held arbitrary and was alive only because he had escaped from Mbadaka.

The state party has refused to answer to the allegations by the author despite requests to do so by the Human rights Committee.

On admissibility the  Committee considers that, in the absence of any information from the State party, the complaints submitted by the author may raise issues under articles 6, paragraph 1, 7; 9, paragraphs 1, 2, 4 and 5; 10, paragraph 1, and 23, paragraph 1 and should therefore be examined as to the merits and admits the same.

The human rights committee notes that the state party has refused to fulfill its obligation under 4, paragraph 2, of the Optional Protocol to give a written explanation regarding the issued raised by the author , and that being the case the committee will give the issues its weight in so far as they have been substantiated.

In respect of the complaint of a violation of article 9, paragraphs 1, 2 and 4, of the Covenant, the Committee notes that the author was arrested without a warrant and was held in a military camp under false pretences, where he stayed for a total period of sixteen months. The committee notes that the author was unable to approach any court for a determination of the lawfulness of his detention, the state party has also failed to contest the complaints.

The committee thus finds that there has been a violation of article 9, paragraphs 1, 2 and 4, of the Covenant but fails to find a violation of article 9, paragraph 5 since the author has not sought any compensation. The state party having failed to counter the arguments, the committee finds that the author was a victim of multiple violations of article 7 of the Covenant, prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The Committee considers that the conditions of detention described in detail by the author also constitute a violation of article 10, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.

In respect of violation of articles 6, paragraph 1 and 23, paragraph 1, the committee notes that the authors wife was beaten by the soldiers and that Commander Mortos had denied her a chance to seek medical help in Bangui and that she had dies three days later. The committee sates that in the absence of any counter argument by the state, there were violations of article articles 6, paragraph 1 and 23, paragraph 1, of the Covenant as to the author and his wife.

The Human Rights Committee, acting under article 5, paragraph 4, of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is of the view that the facts before it reveal violations by the Democratic Republic of the Congo of articles 6, paragraph 1;7; 9, paragraphs 1, 2 and 4; 10, paragraph 1; and 23, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.

The committee states that the state party has obligation to ensure that the author has enough remedy under Article 2 paragraph a) to conduct a thorough investigation of the unlawful arrest, detention and mistreatment of the author and the killing of his wife; (b) to bring to justice those responsible for these violations; and (c) to grant Mr. Mulezi appropriate compensation for the violations. The State party is also under an obligation to take effective measures to ensure that similar violations do not occur in future.

The committee holds that since The Democratic Republic of Congo is a signatory to the convention, it is bound to recognize that the Committee has the competence to determine violations of the conventions by state parties and urges the state party to within 90 days of the transmission of the committee findings, to send a communication with information on the measures taken to give effect to its findings.