DRC: Tabo Taberi alias Sheka was sentenced to life imprisonment

In the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tabo Taberi alias Sheka, former leader of the militia Nduma Defence of Congo, was sentenced Monday, November 23, to life imprisonment for numerous crimes committed at the beginning of the decade.
The militiaman was tried by the Operational Military Court of North Kivu, in the east of the country, for mass rape, sexual slavery, child recruitment, looting, murder, assassination and arson in several villages in Walikale territory between 2010 and 2014. Along with him, two other defendants were sentenced to heavy sentences.
The 337 victims identified and the evidence provided convinced the judges of the Military Court: the founder of Nduma Defense of Congo and his second, Séraphin Zitonda, known as a commander in the FDLR, were sentenced to life imprisonment. Another militiaman was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The fourth defendant, who had no hierarchical rank, was acquitted; he was a child soldier who had been forcibly recruited by the militiaman.
The judges recalled the testimony of a child who was forcibly conscripted at the age of 9 after his entire family was murdered by the militia. During a hearing, this child had faced Sheka in court, accusing him of “stealing” his childhood.
The judges recalled the testimony of a child who was forcibly conscripted at the age of 9 after his entire family was murdered by the militia. During a hearing, this child had faced Sheka in court, accusing him of “stealing” his childhood.
The defence expected Sheka to be convicted in view of the crimes committed and proven during the two years of proceedings. But if Me Alexis Olenga is not satisfied, it is because the verdict is without appeal. “I am partly disappointed. The Operational Military Court sits in the first instance as a last resort. There is no possibility of appeal. But it is a court whose existence violates the constitutional provisions enshrining the double level of jurisdiction».
It remains to be seen whether detention will continue in Goma, a region that the convicts are well versed in. For its part, Monusco for its part welcomed the verdict as “a source of immense hope for the many victims of the conflicts in the DRC”.

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Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network