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No. 13. Sexual Violence in Eastern DRC: Obstacles to Prosecution

Joanna Mansfield
Sexual Violence in Eastern DRC Cover

Sexual violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (eastern Congo) has been described as the worst in the world. Despite the introduction of forceful legislative amendments to reduce the violence, the scourge of rape still plagues eastern Congo. Given that the Congolese state prosecutes only a very few cases, there is a need to understand the reasons behind the terrible statistics. This book identifies and explains the obstacles to prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence in eastern Congo.

Based on personal interviews conducted in eastern Congo with various vocational and demographic groups from May to August 2008, the book reveals the magnitude of the many sociological, institutional, financial and legal factors hindering prosecution of sexual offenders. The author argues that successful prosecution of sexual offenders  in Congo faces myriad daunting obstacles and necessitates an exceptionally lucky combination of a number of unlikely conditions. To overcome these obstacles, strategists must concentrate on the key factor underlying the sexual violence, namely insecurity in eastern Congo.

Joanna Mansfield (LLB Hons., University of Technology Sydney) is a lawyer at DLA Phillips Fox in Sydney, Australia. She is also a Masters in Internal Law Candidate at the University of Sydney.

IAD 2010, No. 13, 113 pages, 978-0-9802223-3-3, 0-9802223-3-8, $12 paperback

To order this title, send an email to, or mail an order form to the Institute for African Development, 190 Uris Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853.