On the fringe of an operation by the Congolese army in the village of Kibungwe (South Kivu Province) in February 2010, Lieutenant Colonel Djela Felix and his men killed two people and raped a woman.
Their trial was held in 2013 before the South Kivu Military Court. Djela was sentenced to life imprisonment for the crimes committed, and the Congolese State was considered civilly liable for the crimes, which meant that it had to compensate the victims.
Djela lodged an appeal against the verdict before escaping from the central prison of Bukavu, just two weeks after his arrest. He has been on the run since then. Due to the absence of the accused, the appeal proceedings that he had requested were put on hold, thus leaving the victims without any chance of seeing the perpetrator punished or obtaining any reparations.
TRIAL International made every effort to get the appeal proceedings reopened. The aim of doing so was to secure a final decision that would enable the victims to gain access to the reparations owed to them. Thanks to these efforts, the trial was finally opened before the Kinshasa Military High Court in late 2015 and in February 2016, the Court rendered a judgment by default sentencing the Lieutenant Colonel (still on the run) to 20 years imprisonment and sentenced the accused, jointly with the State, to pay $7’500 in dommages to the victim.The procedure to execute the compensation order against the State is ongoing.