[QODLink]
Africa

Hague investigates own staff on sexual abuse

International Criminal Court is looking into allegations that one its staff sexually abused four people in the DRC.

Last Modified: 12 Apr 2013 23:22
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

The International Criminal Court in The Hague said it has opened a formal investigation into allegations by four people who say they were subjected to sexual abuse by a court staff member working in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The war crimes court said on Friday it is "profoundly concerned by these grave allegations'' and had taken steps to protect the alleged victims.

It said the investigation was aimed at "establishing the facts underlying the allegations and fairly determining any possible responsibilities."

It is not clear whether the allegations will lead to a prosecution, and if so, where it would take place.

The court said it would turn the inquiry's findings over to ICC "judges and relevant parties to the proceedings concerned'' - presumably meaning legal authorities in Congo.

'Held to account'

The Coalition for the ICC, an umbrella organisation of civil society and human rights groups that support the court, said in a reaction that members had been "deeply shocked and concerned" to hear of the allegations.

"The Coalition expects the court to carry out a credible and impartial investigation into the allegations and, should they prove true, ensure that all those responsible be held to account, including, if relevant, those responsible for managerial oversight of the personnel accused," it said in a statement.

The charges come at a war crimes court that has made a priority of prosecuting rape and sexual conscription in conflict zones. Sexual abuse is rife in the volatile east of Congo, and several ongoing cases stem from the region.

Warlord Bosco Ntaganda faces charges of rape and sexual enslavement and militia leader Germain Katanga is on trial for charges including rape and sexual enslavement.

The ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal, came into being

in 2002 and the treaty that created it has been ratified by 121 nations. Prosecutors have so far indicted suspects in seven different countries, all of them in Africa, including Congo, Sudan, Kenya, Libya and Ivory Coast.

316

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list