Laura Davis


In Congo over the past decade, demands for justice have been largely unmet in peace negotiations: impunity for the worst crimes is entrenched, and the root causes of the conflict remain unaddressed. As the European Union, often through the European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs), is engaging in more peace negotiations around the world, this paper (published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding in 2010) analyses the EUSR’s role in peace deals in Congo and the EU’s policy framework for promoting justice in peacemaking. I offer recommendations for how the EU could strengthen its role in promoting justice and human rights in peace agreements, in the DRC and elsewhere.

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The Congolese security system is incapable of defending the state and the state’s authority, and poses a serious threat to the population, particularly to women and children. Impunity within the security system allows serious human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, to go unchecked.

In this paper,  published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding, I argue that the EU should seek to incorporate justice-sensitive initiatives within SSR programmes, and encourage the prosecution of human rights violators. Only by tackling the culture of impunity and empowering the population to hold the security system to account, can it become a protector of Congolese citizens’ rights rather than a principal abuser.

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