By Kelly Fish
Gender based violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as both tools of the conflict in the eastern region of the country, as well as part of women’s everyday lives, has been well documented. Yet justice for these crimes remains illusive and impunity reigns. A women’s rights activist from the DRC comments that it is dificult to obtain a national or local tribunal for addressing these grave crimes. Currently, the International Criminal Court is the only court available for dealing with these crimes, but it also limited by time and capacity for addressing gender crimes at such a massive scale. And in common with other countries grappling with such crimes, it is difficult to prosecute perpetrators of serious violations of international criminal law who are still in power.
The result for the women and girls of the DRC is that most crimes go unpunished as a result of these difficulties in accessing and utilizing both national and international justice.