The top UN official for the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) [official website] on Saturday urged Congolese authorities to take all necessary steps required to capture two escaped national army officials, both of whom were found guilty of human violations in September. The two high-ranking army officials escaped [UN News Centre report] from Bukavu prison two weeks after a court sentenced them to life in prison for rape and murder. The UN fears the escapees will threaten the witnesses, lawyers and magistrates involved in the trial. MONUSCO urged Congolese authorities to provide protections for those involved and to investigate the circumstances and security failures leading to the nighttime escape.
Human rights and humanitarian issues continue to be a concern surrounding the violence in the DRC. Earlier this month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay welcomed [JURIST report] the establishment of a national human rights commission in the DRC but said that rights abuses continue in the east. Also in September a top UN official emphasized [JURIST report] the need to address the issue of impunity for those involved in human rights violations over the past year. In August UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri said that respecting human rights [JURIST report] is essential to achieve stabilization in the DRC. In May the UN reported [JURIST report] that DRC troops committed numerous war crimes, including rape and murder, as they retreated from an advance by the 23 March Movement (M23) rebels last November.