Congo Demcratic ?

(IPS) - In Kinshasa, as in most provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the detention facilities operate as public institutions of torture, say reports from nongovernmental organizations and those of the Joint Board of United Nations Human Rights.
Emmanuel Chaco
These places of detention in the DRC called dungeons are still in remand to police when in custody, and prosecutors at the case of preventive detention.

"Buildings that are not maintained, overcrowded and unsanitary cells; detainees deprived of food and any access to medical care; unpaid guards who prey on some property owned or to those friends and family members who come to visit them ... "With these words that described the jails and other detention facilities, particularly in the DRC capital, by Jules Okundji, lawyer and head of the Association of Friends of the prison , an NGO that defends the rights of prisoners, based in Kinshasa.

"All the recommendations made to the authorities to take urgent action on behalf of detainees have gone unheeded. It is unacceptable that the Congolese authorities continue to close the eye and a deaf ear while he holds the lives of citizens, most of which presumed innocent, "said Okundji IPS.

In the dungeons of the respective floors or large body of Matete Kalamu, two communes of Kinshasa, IPS has noted that inmates sleep on the floor on a cement floor dilapidated, dark, and all complain of aches and pains muscle in addition to hunger and poor sanitation has become their daily lot.

"This goes a long way, especially because of the fact that there are no real policies in the field of justice in the DRC," said John Kimbuya, one of the leaders of these cells. "The magistrates who have to monitor this situation are not motivated and poorly paid as the rest of the staff from the Department of Justice. The budget line for justice has never exceeded 0.090 per cent.

Kimbuya told IPS: "Monitoring of cases of detention is also made difficult because of lack of logistics for judges and support staff assigned to prisons, particularly when they travel to inspect sites of detention far from major cities. There is thus no accumulation of cases followed added to new cells in very cramped "where are crammed 15 to 20 inmates.

According to Jean Nselumbe, Brigadier committed to the security of the prison at the office of High Court of D'Njili Kinshasa, overpopulation and overcrowding in places of detention are the basis of developing several pandemics among inmates. "The quality of buildings is not reassuring either. These are old buildings, most dating from the 1950s, which have not been maintained for many years and whose capacities are becoming very weak. "

An inmate of this jolt, who requested anonymity told IPS that "can not understand that serious diseases are being developed in such places as the water is all that we have abundant in this country" . "What does it cost to clean the holding cells for prisoners themselves? Or install water pipes in their cells to enable them to wash? "He asks. "All this reflects the intention to torture us instead of helping us amend for the future."

For the prisoner, "the fact that the toilet of the cell to be appetizers and strong odors that do not concern the authority, is a clear demonstration of the desire to torture the detainees since they may themselves the lead if they are asked. Even the state officials assigned to the maintenance of the premises are not paid either for months, and are boycotting the work they do not suffer any control by their hierarchy.

A bill on erection of torture offense (full) has been filed since June 2008 in Parliament by Charly Bulambo Wenga, a national deputy. This text has never been any attention on one or both houses of parliament of the DRC. According to him, if torture becomes a separate offense, victims can now rely on it and complain in court against their tormentors for torture ".

Bulambo Wenga, who is a member committed to fight against all forms of torture in the DRC, said: "It is unfortunate that torture is not yet a crime in an isolated Congolese law, except under international crimes. He said "it is urgent that the legislature makes torture a separate offense not to pass unnoticed such actions and inactions that put a strain on citizens."

For his part, Gabriel Sundi, a researcher in criminology, told IPS that "the criminal phenomenon must be studied to arrive at results can guide planning policies, prevention or even punishment if it is rigorously organized" .

But Sundi adds, "there are dungeons where there is no monitoring of the prison and there are no reliable statistics. Historically, the national statistical system is in disrepair. In these circumstances, it can lead to no result of study in the medium to long term fluctuations in arrests and crime.

However, contacted by IPS Luzolo Bambi Lessa, the Minister of Justice, said it "is not true to say that the government closes the eye and ear problems. The Department of Justice is putting in place significant reforms at all levels, including improving working conditions as judges and the general situation of the detainees. " But he gives no clear indication on these reforms.

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