People gather at a busy road while carrying some of their belongings as they flee the Masisi territory following clashes between M23 rebels and government forces, at a road near Sake on 7 February 2024.
- Justice minister submitted a note to Cabinet for “lifting the moratorium on the death sentence”.
- Government spokesperson says the move is aimed at ending treason in the military.
- The Democratic Republic of Congo is in conflict with the M23 rebels.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government intends to end a 20-year moratorium on capital punishment for soldiers guilty of treason in the conflict against M23 rebels, according to a cabinet report.
Death sentences are regularly handed down by courts in DCR, but they have been systematically commuted to life in jail since a 2003 moratorium on capital punishment.
The justice minister on Friday submitted a note to Cabinet about “lifting the moratorium on the death sentence” for the military, government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya said.
At a CSD defence council meeting in Kinshasa on Monday, discussion centered on treason in the military and security services, Muyaya noted.
“With the aim of ending it (treason), the CSD requested the head of state to lift the moratorium … at a time when the country is facing aggression from Rwanda” which denies accusations of backing the M23.
READ | More civilians flee North Kivu as M23 and SA-led SADC military force clash in DRC
After years of dormancy, the M23 (March 23 Movement) took up arms again in late 2021 and has since seized vast swathes of Nord Kivu province.
After a lull around the December 20 election, which returned President Felix Tshisekedi for a second term, fighting has resumed leaving dozens dead and displacing thousands.
“Given the absolute need … to rid the army of traitors by carrying out the capital punishments they deserve after an irreversible sentence for treason,” the justice ministry asked government to recognise the intention to lift the moratorium”, the spokesperson said.