UN Report Human rights violations

V. Human rights violations
17. During the armed combat between the M23 and the FARDC between 15 November and 22
November 2012, the UNJHRO documented human rights violations that were committed by
both sides. During their occupation of Goma and Sake, M23 combatants committed gross
violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law against
the civilian population and members of the FARDC who had surrendered and were thus no
longer participating in hostilites. Violations committed by both sides and documented by the
UNJHRO include killings; rape; forced labour; recruitment and use of children; cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment; violation of the right to property. Following the advances
of the M23 into Goma and Sake, FARDC units under the operational command of the 8th
and 10th Military Regions fled southward in a disorganised manner, and regrouped in
Minova and surrounding villages, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, where they
perpetrated the most serious human rights violations. FARDC soldiers entered several
villages, where they committed mass rape and other acts of sexual violence, as well as cases
of arbitrary execution, mistreatment and systematic looting.
5.1. Human rights violations perpetrated by the FARDC
Violation of the right to life
18. The UNJHRO documented the killings of at least two people by FARDC troops as they
retreated and regrouped in and around Minova, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province. The
two victims were killed in villages near Minova during looting incidents. In the first case on
22 November 2012, in Ruhunde village, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, one man
was beaten with the butt of a rifle and punched as he tried to resist the looting of his house
by FARDC soldiers. He died several days later from his injuries. The second victim, a 14
year old boy, was shot dead on 25 November 2012 in the village of Kalungu, Kalehe
territory, by a soldier of the 391 Battalion. The boy was returning from the fields when two
soldiers tried to steal his goat. As he tried to resist and flee, one of the soldiers shot him.
19. On 18 November 2012, at least seven civilians were victims of attempted killings as
FARDC soldiers fled Goma. In one case, FARDC soldiers shot and injured five adults and
one child as they looted a home in the Majengo area of Goma, North Kivu province.
Another man was shot while travelling on a motorbike near Mugunga, Goma, North Kivu
Sexual violence
20. The UNJHRO and MONUSCO Child Protection documented 135 cases of sexual violence
committed by FARDC soldiers between 20 and 30 November 2012. At least 97 women and
33 girls (aged between 6 and 17) were raped and a further five women were victims of
attempted rape in and around Minova, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, particularly on
the Minova – Ruhunde axis. According to concurring testimonies, the majority of the rapes
were committed in a widespread manner on 22 and 23 November 2012. Most of the cases
documented followed a similar modus operandi: FARDC soldiers entered houses, usually in
groups of three to six, and, after threatening the inhabitants, looted whatever they could find.

One or two of the soldiers would leave with the looted goods and at least one would stand
guard as the remaining FARDC soldiers raped women and girls in the house. Victims were
threatened with death if they shouted; some were raped at gunpoint. Most victims were
raped by more than one soldier. Almost all cases of rape documented by the UNJHRO were
accompanied by death threats and additional acts of physical violence.
Torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
21. During the period under review, the UNJHRO documented violations of the prohibition
against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against at least 24 civilians, including four
minors in villages around Minova, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province. Most of victims
were beaten while attempting to resist FARDC soldiers from attacking their houses in and
around Minova, South Kivu province. In two cases, men who intervened to prevent the rape
of their wives were beaten by FARDC soldiers. In one of these cases, during the night of 22
to 23 November in Kalungu, Kalehe territory, the victim was tied with ropes and beaten by
FARDC soldiers while his wife was raped in the adjacent room.
Violation of the right to property
22. Extensive looting by FARDC soldiers was documented by the UNJHRO. On 19 November
2012, FARDC soldiers looted a number of houses, particularly in the Ndosho and Kyeshero
areas of Goma, North Kivu province, as they were leaving Goma. In addition, as they
retreated towards Minova, FARDC soldiers systematically looted the town of Minova as
well as at least eight villages on the Minova-Nyamasasa axis (Minova, Mubimbi, Buganga,
Kalungu, Kishindji, Bwisha, Nyamasasa, Ruhunde and Bishenge), Kalehe territory, South
Kivu province, between 21 and 25 November 2012, as well as the villages of Nyamasasa,
Ruhunde, and Kalungu between 28 and 30 November 2012. FARDC soldiers also looted at
least two IDP camps, in Mubimbi, Kalehe territory, during the night of 22 to 23 November
2012 and in Minova, Kalehe territory, during the night of 23 to 24 November 2012. In both
instances, soldiers waited for humanitarian aid to be distributed to IDPs and looted the
distributed goods during the following evening. 11 Soldiers of the 8th Military Region
illegally occupied houses in the villages of Nyamasasa, Ruhunde and Buganga.
Violations of the prohibition against forced labour
23. Three cases of forced labour were documented by the UNJHRO. On 19 November 2012, as
FARDC soldiers fled the area of Kanyarucina, Nyiragongo territory, North Kivu province,
they forced IDPs from the nearby camp to transport bags of personal possessions, military
equipment and looted goods towards the town of Sake, Masisi territory, North Kivu
province. During looting in Minova and surrounding villages, throughout the night of 22 to
23 November 2012, FARDC soldiers threatened civilians and forced them to carry the
looted goods from one village to another. In another case, as they returned to Sake on 2
December 2012, FARDC soldiers forced civilians to construct military positions and to
transport possessions in nearby Kimoka and Lutobogo, Masisi territory, North Kivu

Occupation of schools/violations of the right to education
24. From 20 November 2012, FARDC soldiers of the 8th and 10th Military Regions deployed
South Kivu reportedly occupied 42 primary and secondary schools in Minova, South Kivu,
and Bweremana, North Kivu, preventing over 1100 children from having access to
education. The soldiers, and accompanying families, used chairs and desks as firewood and
looted offices and stores. From 24 December the schools started to be vacated, although the
majority of the institutions were seriously damaged.
5.2. Human rights violations perpetrated by the M23
Violations of the right to life
25. The UNJHRO has documented that at least eleven civilians were arbitrarily executed and at
least a further two were victims of attempted arbitrary execution by M23 combatants in
Goma and in Sake during the period of M23 control, from 20 November to 1 December
2012. As the M23 entered Goma on 20 November 2012, one man was shot and killed in a
street in the Ndosho area of Goma by combatants who accused him of being a Mayi Mayi.
On the same day, a 16 year-old boy was shot dead by M23 combatants for suspected
collaboration with the FARDC. A number of victims were deliberately targeted and shot at
close range by M23 combatants who entered their homes. For example on 22 November
2012, the wife of a well-known businessman was shot dead in her home in Goma by a group
of M23 combatants. In another example, on 27 November 2012, one man was shot as he
was driving behind a vehicle in which M23 combatants were holding another man.
Suspecting the man of following them, M23 combatants shot him, and stole his car. The
man later died from his injuries.
26. Under the M23 control of Goma, Sake and surrounding villages, dozens of human rights
activists, legal professionals and journalists, as well as government employees received
threats, including death threats, from M23 combatants, often in the form of text messages or
phone calls, mostly for having spoken out against the group or resisting recruitment or
complying with orders. Many of these people chose to flee Goma.
Sexual violence
27. The UNJHRO documented 59 cases of sexual violence perpetrated by M23 combatants in
and around Goma during the period of M23 control. At least 49 cases of sexual violence
were committed against women in the Katindo military camp in Goma, North Kivu
province, by M23 combatants between 21 and 25 November 2012. The victims, mostly
wives of FARDC soldiers who had fled during the M23 advance, were raped, often as they
returned to the camp to pick up belongings they had left behind. In a case of sexual assault,
on 29 November 2012, four M23 combatants reportedly came to a woman’s house in Goma
and asked for money; after the woman gave a large sum of money, two M23 combatants
then reportedly put a gun to her head saying she had to choose between being raped and
being killed. The woman was sexually assaulted. A 13 year-old girl was raped on 30
November 2012 by M23 combatants in Goma. During the night of 1 – 2 December 2012, as
the M23 combatants were withdrawing from Sake and the Ndosho area of Goma, some combatants attacked the Mugunga III camp for internally displaced persons where they
raped at least eight women.
Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
28. The UNJHRO was able to confirm six incidents of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
perpetrated by M23 combatants. During the night of 16 – 17 November 2012, two men in
Kibumba village, Rutshuru territory, were whipped and mistreated by M23 combatants as
they attempted to resist looting of their properties. At least two people accused of petty
criminality by the M23 were subjected to public beatings on 23 November 2012, in the
Ndosho area of Goma. On 24 November 2012, a group of 15 M23 combatants looted a shop
and a residence attached to the shop in the Kyeshero area of Goma, hitting with hammers a
number of customers in the shop. Following the raid on Mugunga III IDP camp by M23
combatants during the night of 1 – 2 December 2012, one man, who was physically unable
to bear the 50 kg load he had been forced to carry, was severely beaten on the chest and on
the buttocks with sticks. The man required hospitalisation as a result of injuries.
29. On 21 November 2012, M23 combatants beat up six surrendered FARDC soldiers in Rugari,
Rutshuru territory, en route to the M23 training centre in Rumangabo. Surrendered FARDC
soldiers who spent over two weeks in the M23 training centre at Rumangabo before being
released told UNJHRO investigators that they were beaten by M23 guards several times
Violations of the right to liberty and security of person
30. In Goma, 250 FARDC soldiers and at least four civilians were abducted and deprived of
their liberty by M23 combatants. On 21 and 22 November 2012, at least 250 FARDC
soldiers who had surrendered to M23 combatants in Goma, including 18 medical staff from
the Camp Katindo military hospital in Goma, were forcibly transported to Rumangabo
barracks, a training centre for the M23. On 10 December 2012, 186 surrendered FARDC
soldiers, many of whom were old and sick, were released and sent back to Goma. In
addition, the UNJHRO received reports that over 900 elements of the Congolese National
Police were similarly forced to join the M23. On 22 November 2012, one prominent local
figure was abducted by M23 combatants in Goma and taken to a hotel where he was
threatened if he refused to take a position with the M23 administration. The man was later
able to escape. On 27 November 2012, another prominent local personality was abducted by
M23 combatants and driven to the Ndosho area of Goma, where he managed to flee. On 28
November, two guards working for a bank director were abducted from their homes in the
Karisimbi area of Goma.
Violation of the right to property
31. M23 combatants in Goma were responsible for the widespread looting of government
offices, including the North Kivu military court, and police stations, schools, as well as
shops, private houses and scores of vehicles. Looting was often conducted in a violent
manner, with victims being threatened if they did not hand over money and possessions. During their occupation of Goma and Sake, the M23 illegally occupied a number of public
and private buildings.
Violations of the prohibition against forced labour
32. On at least two occasions, M23 combatants forced civilians to carry looted goods. During
the night of 16 – 17 November 2012, in the village of Kibumba, Rutshuru territory, 14
people – including seven children and two women – were abducted by M23 combatants and
forced to carry goods looted from the village. During the attack on the Mugunga III camp by
M23 combatants during the night of 1 – 2 December 2012, at least six men were forced to
transport looted goods for up to 8 hours.
Recruitment and use of children
33. On 21 November 2012, M23 leaders held a public meeting in Goma stadium, during which
they enticed youths to join the armed group. Training of new M23 recruits, including
minors, started on 22 November 2012: military recruits were trained in Mubambiro, Masisi
territory, North Kivu province, and police recruits were trained in Katindo, Goma. On 27
November 2012, the Child Protection Section of MONUSCO witnessed the presence of
three alleged minors among a platoon of M23 combatants posted in front of the Central
Bank building in Goma. Other witnesses also reported to the UNJHRO the presence of
children within the ranks of the M23 in Goma. MONUSCO Child Protection has
documented the cases of 24 children, aged 14 to 17, who were associated with the M23
during the period covered by this report, and who have since escaped. MONUSCO
continues to receive credible allegations of forced recruitment by M23 combatants,
including of children, in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province and in Rwanda12. These
allegations are the subject of ongoing investigations by MONUSCO.
Violations of the right to a fair trial
34. On 20 November 2012, in the Ndosho area of Goma, one man, accused of carrying out
criminal activities, was handed over to M23 combatants who reportedly said that the
population should deal with him. He was killed, possibly as a result of ‘mob justice’. M23
combatants had earlier reportedly told the population that as they did not have a prison
people should ensure their own security. As the de-facto occupying authority in Goma, M23
were combatants obliged to provide security to all citizens, including those accused of
criminal behaviour.