Dem. Rep. of Congo: African Commission issues landmark decision on 2004 Kilwa massacre - rebukes Anvil Mining for role in abuses by army

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7 August 2017

Anneke Van Woudenberg (RAID) on Anvil Mining in the DR Congo

Author: Anneke Van Woudenberg, Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID), & Salil Tripathi, Institute for Human Rights & Business (IHRB)

...In this interview, IHRB's Salil Tripathi speaks to Anneke Van Woudenberg, RAID's executive director, about the incident, the campaign to get justice, the search for remedy, and the implications of the verdict for the accountability of corporations...

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Article
7 August 2017

Australian mining company in prosecution spotlight for role in Congo massacre

Author: Keren Adams, Human Rights Law Centre (AUS)

The African Commission on Human and People's Rights has urged the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to re-open the criminal investigation into the role an Australian company, Anvil Mining, played in a massacre of 70 people in 2004... Keren Adams, a Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, welcomed the Commission’s call for a re-examination of Anvil’s role in the massacre. “The Anvil case remains one of Australia’s most troubling examples of corporate impunity. The company's version of events has just never stacked up and directly contradicts the accounts of key eye-witnesses on the ground," said Ms Adams. A criminal investigation into the company by the Australian Federal Police was opened in 2005 but was dropped after a deeply questionable military trial in the DRC failed to find anyone accountable. Civil proceedings in Western Australia were also withdrawn after key witnesses in the DRC were threatened. Ms Adams said the Commission’s decision should prompt consideration of new prosecutions not just by the DRC, but here in Australia. "Anvil has never had to properly answer for its role in what happened at Kilwa. We are talking about one of the worst corporate-facilitated massacres of recent times, but 13 years on, not a single person from the company has been held accountable”. Ms Adams also emphasised the need for better regulation of Australian companies operating overseas, to ensure abuses like the Kilwa massacre cannot happen again.  “We currently have over 150 mining companies operating in Africa and yet there is very little regulation or oversight of their activities and it is extremely difficult for victims to hold them to account when human rights violations occur,” said Ms Adams...

 

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Article
4 August 2017

NGOs coalition welcomes African Commission's landmark USD2.5 million award to DR Congo massacre victims

Author: Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID), Action Contre l'Inpunite pour les Droits de l'homme (ACIDH), Institute for Human Rights & Development in Africa (IHRDA)

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has found the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo responsible for the 2004 massacre of over 70 people in Kilwa, in the southeast of the country, and granted landmark compensation of US $2.5 million to the victims and their families, three human rights groups who initiated the complaint said today.

An Australian-Canadian mining company, Anvil Mining, who operated a copper and silver mine at Dikulushi, 50 kilometres from Kilwa, was publicly rebuked for its role in the violations, which included providing logistical support to soldiers who indiscriminately shelled civilians, summarily executed at least 28 people and disappeared many others after a small group of lightly armed rebels tried to take control of the town. The Commission urged the Congolese government to launch a new criminal investigation and “take all due measures to prosecute and punish agents of the state and Anvil Mining Company staff.”

The complaint on behalf of 8 of the victims was brought to the African Commission in November 2010 by UK-based Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), Congo-based Action Against Impunity and Human Rights (ACIDH) and the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), based in Banjul, Gambia. The Commission communicated its decision to the parties in French last month [...] 

In a ground-breaking decision, the Commission found the Congolese government had violated nine human rights provisions of the African Charter, including extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary arrests, disappearances and forced displacement, amongst others. It awarded the 8 victims named in the complaint US $2.5 million, the highest ever award by the African Commission. It urged the Congolese government to identify and compensate other victims and their families not party to the complaint who were also directly affected by the attack...

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Article
4 August 2017

Q&A The Kilwa massacre & the landmark decision of the African Commission of Human & Peoples Rights

Author: Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID)

Questions (Answers can be found below)

1. What happened in Kilwa?

2. Is what happened in Kilwa linked to the war in DRC

4. What role did Anvil Mining play in the massacre?

5. What does Anvil Mining say happened?

6. Did the Congolese government arrest any of the soldiers or Anvil employees?

7. Have there been other attempts to seek criminal justice?

8. Were there attempts to seek justice through the civil courts?

9. Why did the victims decide to launch a complaint with the African

Commission on Human and Peoples Rights?

10. How did African Commission reach its decision?

11. What did the African Commission decide?

12. What was ground-breaking about the award for compensation?

13. What else was groundbreaking about the decision?

14. What did the African Commission say about the role of Anvil Mining?

15. What happens next?

16. Can this decision be enforced?

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Article
4 August 2017

Translated version of the remedies section in Kilwa decision

Author: African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The Commission, Based on the above,

154. Holds that the Democratic Republic of Congo violated provisions of articles 1, 4, 5, 6, 7(1) (a), 7(1)(c), 14, 22 and 26 of the Charter and the right to housing. Consequently:

i. Requests the Democratic Republic of Congo to take all diligent measures to prosecute and punish State’s agents and Anvil Mining Company staff who were involved in the violations...

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