Katusi Bolingo

24.05.2017 ( Last modified: 14.09.2018 )
Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Facts

Katusi Bolingo is an Army Caporal of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC). At the beginning of 2013, he was deployed in Mukoloka, in Shabunda Territory (South Kivu Province), to free the area of the armed group Raiya Mutomboki.

In the night of 14 September 2013, Katusi Bolingo forced the door of a private house in the village of Mukoloka, inhabited by two families. Taking advantage of the husband’s absence, he allegedly threatened the two women with his rifle and raped them. During the fight, the baby boy of one of the victims fell to the ground. He succumbed to his injuries.

Legal Procedure

The same night of his crime, Bolingo was arrested by the Army Commander in charge of Mukoloka. A few days later, he managed to escape and the authorities lost all trace of him.

In 2014 Bolingo was found, arrested and transferred to Bukavu to appear before the Military Prosecutor’s Office. A trial was opened before the garrison Military Court of Bukavu on 9 July 2015.

On 16 June 2016, Bolingo was found responsible for the double rape and was sentenced to 15 years of prison. The judges also ordered him to pay 20’000 USD to each of the victims as reparation for the prejudice suffered.

In August 2018, the Military Court of South Kivu on appeal confirmed the guilt of Bolingo but commuted his sentence to 8 years imprisonment.

Highlight

In collaboration with the local NGO Dimension Sociale, TRIAL International has been documenting this case since early 2015. A trial was opened before the garnison Military Court in September 2015, thanks particularly to the work done by the lawyer appointed to defend the victims. TRIAL International helped the victims and several witnesses travel to Bukavu to ensure that their voices were heard in the trial.

Fact Sheet
Name: Katusi Bolingo
Nationality: Congolese
Charges: War crimes, rape
Status: Sentenced; confirmed on appeal
Judgement Place: Military Court of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Particulars: Arrested in 2013 but escaped soon afterwards; rearrested in 2015; trial opened in September 2015; convicted in July 2016 to 15 years of prison for rape; verdict appealed by both the accused and the victims; the conviction was upheld by the Appeal Court in August 2018, but the sentence reduced to 8 years.