Roger Lumbala Tshitenga

17.04.2023 ( Last modified: 30.03.2023 )
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Ongoing proceedings for complicity in crimes against humanity committed during the second civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (1998-2003)

Type of jurisdiction

Universal jurisdiction


Roger Lumbala Tshitenga, Congolese national, former leader of the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie-National (Congolese Rally for National Democracy, or RCD-N) and former minister of commerce of the Congolese government between 2003 and 2007

Countries of residence of suspect

DRC and France


Complicity in crimes against humanity; participation in an established group formed with the view to prepare the commission of crimes against humanity

Current status

Charged while under investigation (mis en examen); detained


From 1998 to 2003, Congolese forces supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe fought a variety of rebel armed groups backed by Rwanda and Uganda in what is known as the Second Congo War. In this context, the armed group RCD-N was created in 2000 and forged an alliance with the Mouvement pour lalibérationduCongo,ledbyJean- Pierre Bemba, in an attempt to take control of resource-rich areas in the eastern part of the DRC. In 2003, the United Nations published a report implicating the RCD-N in the perpetration of crimes against humanity, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, summary executions, torture, mutilation and cannibalism.

Lumbala Tshitenga was the leader of the RCD-N. He is accused of participating in crimes that took place between 1 July 2002 and the end of December 2003 in the provinces of Ituri and Haut Uélé (northeastern DRC), in particular during a military operation labelled Effacer le tableau (Erase the Board).


In 2016, the Office of the Prosecutor of the French Specialized Unit for the prosecution of genocide, crimes againsthumanity,warcrimesand torture within the Paris Tribunal (integrated in 2019 within the newly created French National Anti- Terrorist Prosecution Office) opened an investigation against Lumbala Tshitenga, after the rejection of his asylum application by the French National Court of Asylum Law. Lumbala Tshitenga was arrested on 29 December 2020 in Paris and the case was referred to an investigating judge, who has been conducting a judicial investigation since.

On 2 January 2021, Lumbala Tshitenga was charged while under investigation (mis en examen) for his alleged participation in a group formed with a view to prepare the commission of crimes against humanity committed in the DRCbetween2002and2003.

Throughout the year 2021, several NGOs as well as over a dozen Congolese nationals became civil parties. The investigation shed light on the crimes committed during the military operation in the Beni- Mambasa-Bunia area by the alliance of the RCD-N and other armed groups toward the end of 2002. Evidence and testimonies were also gathered on crimes committed in Bafwasende and Isiro, areas controlled by the RCD-N in those years.

Developments in 2022

During the year 2022, twenty Congolese victims were heard by the investigating judge in Paris and became civil parties to the procedure. Additional Congolese and international NGOs also became civil parties to the procedure, and submitted to the judge further documentation and evidence on the case. Several eyewitnesses and expert witnesses were heard on the functioning and hierarchical structure of the RCD-N and on Lumbala Tshitenga’s alleged role in the preparation and perpetration of the crimes.

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