UN Report Legal framework

IV. Legal framework
14. The human rights mentioned in this report are protected by several international instruments
ratified by the DRC, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights5, the
African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights6, the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights7 and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict.8 They are also protected by the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights,9 many of the provisions of which are considered to
have customary international law status. According to this legal framework, the Congolese
State is bound to respect these human rights norms and standards and to take necessary
measures to prevent and punish violations of these rights whether committed by its own
State security forces or by non-State actors.
15. International humanitarian law applicable to non-international armed conflicts binds all the
parties involved in the conflict, including the FARDC and non-State actors such as the M23.
As such, all Parties to the conflict are obliged to respect international humanitarian law,
enshrined in Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and
Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Protection of Victims of
Non-International Armed Conflicts of 8 June 1977, as well as customary international law,
which ensure the protection of those who do not take a direct part, or who no longer take
part in hostilities and notably prohibit uncompensated or abusive forced labour.
16. Some of the human rights violations documented in this report may, as a result of their type
and nature constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity as defined by Articles 7 and 8
of the Rome Statute of the ICC, which have been incorporated into Congolese domestic law.
Additionally, the violations of human rights outlined in this report may constitute crimes
according to Congolese criminal law, such as murder, rape, child recruitment, and theft and
abduction, all of which are crimes punishable by a prison sentence. It is the responsibility of
the military justice system to investigate these violations, as it has jurisdiction over all
crimes committed by members of the armed forces and armed groups.