Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The Republic of Zaire, established in 1960, was under the leadership of Mobutu from 1965. Protests against Mobutu's dictatorship multiplied rapidly in the early 1990s, and ethnic riots broke out. These worsened as a result of the genocide in neighbouring country Rwanda in 1994. Mobutu was eventually deposed in May 1997, and the Republic of Zaire was transformed into the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

One case involving crimes committed in the Republic of Zaire (now DRC) was tried in the Netherlands:

Case against Sébastien N.

"The bodyguards deported the victim to the premises of the ‘Garde Civile' and put him in a cell. There, at the orders of the suspect, they systematically abused him for several days. The abuse included whipping the victim, who was practically naked, with a cordelette - a hard braided belt. As he describes it, he was also used as a punch bag by the body guards. The suspect watched the scene from his balcony." - (Quotation from a witness statement in the Sébastien N. case)

Sébastien N. was commander of the Garde Civile during Mobutu's regime. In 1998, N. applied for asylum in the Netherlands, but it was refused on the basis of Article 1F of the Convention on the Status of Refugees. Once the 1F file was received, a criminal investigation was initiated. Around this time, a victim living in the Netherlands came forward and stated that he had been tortured by Sébastien N. The victim recognized N. as ‘le roi des bêtes', or ‘king of the animals'. During the investigation in response to this report, a second person, a woman, came forward who recognized N. from her period of imprisonment. On 26 September 2003, N. was arrested on suspicion of torture. On 7 April 2004, the Rotterdam District Court found N. guilty of participating in torture in 1996. He was sentenced to two years and six months' imprisonment.


Rotterdam District Court, 7 April 2004