Ms H. works at Panzi Hospital alongside Dr Mukwege, helping female victims of sexual violence. Her work had already attracted several threats and, on 19 June 2013, she was abducted from her home by six armed men. Kidnapped for three days, she was raped and abused. On the night of the third day, Ms H. was dumped – handcuffed and unconscious – on the roadside.
Ms H. reported on several occasions the violence that she had suffered, and filed three criminal complaints – one before and two after her abduction. Despite her efforts, the authorities took no measure to protect her. On the contrary, the Public Prosecutor filed a complaint against her for defamation and false reports. For one year, Ms H. and her family lived in constant fear of new assaults. Their worst fears came true when, at the exit of Panzi Hospital, the victim and her husband were attacked in the middle of the street and their home was vandalized. Faced with these new episodes of violence, the family had no choice but to flee the country and seek refuge in Uganda. Since then, their situation has been extremely precarious and Ms H.’s health remains fragile.
As the complaints at national level had been unsuccessful, TRIAL International submitted a complaint before the Human Rights Committee on behalf of the victim and her husband, demanding that investigations be conducted, that the violations against them be acknowledged and that reparations be afforded to them.