Congo by lanyuehua


									Congo: Don't Execute Child Soldiers
Four Children to be Put to Death
(May 2, 2001) Four child soldiers must not be executed by the government of Congo, Human Rights Watch said
                                        In a meeting today with the foreign minister of the Democratic Republic
                                        of Congo, She Okitundu, Human Rights Watch urged the government to
 "International law is clear: spare the lives of the four children, who were between fourteen and sixteen
 No one should be put to                years of age at the time they were arrested and sentenced to death.
death for a crime
                                         Congo has executed at least one other child soldier, a fourteen-year-old who
committed as a child.                    was put to death shortly after being sentenced in January 2000. The execution
Congo should immediately                 of individuals for crimes committed below age eighteen violates the
commute these death                      International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the
                                         Rights of the Child, international human rights treaties to which Congo is a
sentences and bring its                  party.
practices in line with
international standards."                Congo's military routinely recruited and used child soldiers under the late
                                         President Laurent Kabila. In June 2000, the president announced that the
Michael Bochenek counsel to the          armed forces would demobilize child soldiers and reintegrate them into civil
Children's Rights Division of Human      society. But Congo still has approximately 12,000 child soldiers, according to
Rights Watch                             the United Nations Children's Fund.

                                          "International law is clear: No one should be put to death for a crime
                                          committed as a child," said Michael Bochenek, counsel to the Children's
Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. "Congo should immediately commute these death sentences and bring its
practices in line with international standards."

Iran, Nigeria, and the United States are the only other countries known to have imposed the death penalty on juvenile
offenders. Iran executed a seventeen-year-old in 1999; Nigeria carried out a death sentence against a seventeen-
year-old in 1997 for an offense committed at the age of fifteen. The United States has executed eight juvenile
offenders since 1998.

Rehabilitation and reintegration into society are critical issues for children that have participated in armed conflict.
Graça Machel, the U.N. Secretary-General's expert on the impact of armed conflict on children, has pointed out that
child soldiers may be forcibly abducted, severely brutalized, and compelled to participate in atrocities; they are rarely
autonomous actors.

The death sentences against the four children were handed down by Congo's Court of Military Order, which Human
Rights Watch criticized in a February 1999 report as failing to safeguard the due process rights of those brought
before it. Persons convicted by the court have no right to appeal, and many executions are carried out the same day
or soon after the accused are sentenced.

The sole power to commute death sentences rests with President Kabila, who has never used the authority. His
father, the late President Laurent Kabila, was known to have granted only two pardons, one for a thirteen-year-old
offender sentenced to death in 1998.

The four children facing execution are Diyavanga Nkuyu, fourteen at the time of his arrest; Bosey Jean-Louis, age
fifteen when arrested; and Mbumba Ilunga and Mwati Kabwe, arrested when they were sixteen years of age.
                                 Values – Child Soldiers and the Death Penalty

For this exercise you need to forget about what YOU think and put yourself in the mind of someone else. Look at
the scenarios and write what each person might say to answer the questions.

The People:

      The Child Soldier
      Their parent
      A member of the United Nations
      Somebody the child soldier has attacked
      President Kabila
      A member on the Court of Military Order.

The Questions:

   1. What do you think about the death penalty that has been given to this child?
   2. Why do you think this?
   3. What do you think should actually happen to this child?

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