United Nations Report

In April 2012, a mutiny of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo
(FARDC) in North Kivu, initiated by General Bosco Ntaganda, led to the creation of the
Mouvement du 23 mars (M23) rebellion. After occupying part of Rutshuru territory from July
2012, the M23 rebellion seized the towns of Goma and Sake on 20 and 22 November 2012
respectively, while troops from the FARDC retreated towards Minova, South Kivu province. In
partial compliance with the communiqué issued on 24 November 2012 by the International
Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), M23 combatants began to withdraw from
Goma and Sake on 1 December 2012.
The present report outlines gross violations of human rights and serious violations of
international humanitarian law, including killings and arbitrary executions, mass rape, and
violations resulting from widespread looting, committed by FARDC soldiers during combat and
retreat, and by combatants of the M23 during combat and the period of occupation of Goma and
Sake between 15 November and 2 December 2012. The findings of this report are the result of
increased monitoring activities and of several field investigations conducted by the United
Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) during which more than 350 interviews were
conducted with victims and witnesses.
The violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by FARDC
soldiers in particular were perpetrated in a systematic manner and with extreme violence,
mostly as FARDC units retreated from the front lines and regrouped in and around the town of
Minova, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province. In this context, at least 102 women and 33 girls
were victims of rape or other acts of sexual violence perpetrated by FARDC soldiers. FARDC
soldiers were also responsible for the arbitrary execution of at least two people, violations of the
right to physical integrity of at least 24 civilians, cases of forced labour and the widespread
looting of villages.
During the period of occupation of Goma and Sake by the M23, combatants of this armed group
perpetrated gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian
law. The UNJHRO documented at least 59 cases of sexual violence, of which 58 were cases of
rape by M23 combatants in Goma and surrounding areas. At least 11 civilians were arbitrarily
executed and at least a further two were victims of attempted arbitrary execution by the M23.
The UNJHRO also documented cases of recruitment and use of children, forced labour, cruel
inhuman or degrading treatment, and looting by M23 forces during the same period.
MONUSCO continues to support the judicial investigation by the Military Prosecutors in South
Kivu and North Kivu provinces into the allegations of sexual violence, arbitrary executions,
rights to property violations and other human rights violations by FARDC soldiers. In
December 2012, 11 FARDC soldiers were arrested in connection with these incidents, including
two for murder, but only two for related cases of rape. Furthermore, 12 senior army officers
have been suspended to date in relation to the investigations into the incidents in Minova. The
recommendations made in this report are aimed at ending the violence, and bringing the alleged
perpetrators from all sides to justice.