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Resolution adopted by concensus by the IPU Governing Council at its 191st session*
(Québec, 24 October 2012)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Eugène Diomi Ndongala, a member of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has been examined by the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians following the Procedure for the treatment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of communications concerning violations of the human rights of members of parliament,

Referring to the information provided by the Speaker of the National Assembly in his letter of 16 October 2012, by the National Assembly delegation heard by the Committee during the 127th IPU Assembly (Quebec, October 2012), and by the sources,

Considering the following elements on file:

  • According to the sources, Mr. Diomi Ndongala, an opposition member of parliament, was “taken away” by national police officers acting on the orders of Colonel Kanyama on 27 June 2012, the day on which he was to attend a signing ceremony for the charter of a new opposition party platform;

  • According to the sources, the day before Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s disappearance, on 26 June 2012, police officers searched and occupied his party headquarters, without a search warrant, until the Prosecutor General arrived on the scene the following morning to hold a press conference relating to Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s indictment on charges of rape committed in flagrante delicto at his party headquarters the day before; the police occupied the party headquarters for several weeks, until the intervention of the military prosecutor at the end of June 2012 following a complaint filed by the party for the illegal occupation of its premises and the obstruction of its political activities by the police;

  • Mr. Diomi Ndongala was “missing” for almost four months, during which time his family and acquaintances, having no news of him, on several occasions expressed fear for his life and physical health, alleging that he was being held in illegal incommunicado detention by the Congolese intelligence services;

  • Mr. Diomi Ndongala “reappeared” on 11 October 2012 and publicly confirmed that he had been abducted and held by the intelligence services, which interrogated him about the opposition’s military plans for taking power, never about charges of rape; he appeared greatly weakened and in need of urgent medical care;

  • According the authorities, Mr. Diomi Ndongala has been under investigation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office for “rape of minors” since 26 June 2012; the national police came to arrest him at his office in flagrante delicto but Mr. Diomi Ndongala was not present at the scene, having fled, according to the authorities, to avoid arrest; on 19 July 2012, the Prosecutor General asked the National Assembly to lift his parliamentary immunity; under the Penal Code, Mr. Diomi Ndongala is liable to a sentence of seven to 20 years in prison;

  • In a letter he addressed on 16 October 2012 to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Diomi Ndongala provided his version of the events and affirmed that the accusations of rape were baseless; he referred to the reports on the court hearings of two of his staff arrested as accomplices to rape on 26 June because they were present at the party’s headquarters during the police operation, and indicated that the prosecution’s case against him was apparently based on those reports; Mr. Diomi Ndongala stated that the hearing of the staff members in question was conducted in French, a language in which they are not fluent, that they were not allowed the assistance of a lawyer and that they were still being held; Mr. Diomi Ndongala considers that the confessions contained in the reports on the hearings were extorted by the judicial authorities; he also referred to the flagrant contradictions and incoherencies contained in the Prosecutor General’s indictment of 19 July 2012; according to Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s lawyer, the provisions of the Code of Penal Procedure on the preliminary investigation of rape charges were not respected, and he informed the Speaker of the National Assembly accordingly on 2 July 2012; lastly, according to other sources, the victims of the alleged rapes were paid a large sum of money, the person who filed the complaint, supposedly their father, apparently has no ties of kinship with them, the girls’ age is open to question, and the conditions in which the evidence was collected during the police’s unlawful search of the party headquarters left much to be desired;

  • In the above-mentioned letter, Mr. Diomi Ndongala stated that his parliamentary immunity was violated because the arrest warrant was made out in his name and the proceedings against him widely publicized before the prosecutor had made any request to have his immunity lifted;

  • In his letter of 16 October 2012, the Speaker of the National Assembly indicated that, since Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s family had “announced his return to his home to the press” on 11 October 2012, the procedure for lifting his parliamentary immunity would be pursued; on 17 October 2012, the National Assembly convened in plenary to consider the request to lift Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s immunity and apparently gave him 24 hours in which to present his case; according to the sources, he was not officially notified by the National Assembly of this and was in any case unable to appear in the Assembly because of his health, which required further emergency treatment; the Speaker of the National Assembly had been informed of this in the letter of 16 October 2012 enclosing a medical certificate;

  • The delegation heard by the Committee during the 127th IPU Assembly (Quebec, October 2012), after having stated that Mr. Diomi Ndongala was currently hospitalized and would be heard later, when his health permitted, declared that Mr. Diomi Ndongala had refused to appear in plenary, had not informed the National Assembly of his health concerns, had refused to see the National Assembly doctor before being hospitalized and, consequently, had forfeited the opportunity to present his defence in public before the National Assembly and the media; the Speaker of the National Assembly has nevertheless decided to establish a “special” parliamentary committee that would hear and rule on the case in camera before submitting a recommendation on the lifting of parliamentary immunity for a vote in plenary;

  • According to the sources, Mr. Diomi Ndongala received emergency hospital treatment when he reappeared, but was then able to continue his treatment at home; he was re-admitted to hospital early on 19 October 2012 and required emergency surgery, according to the doctors; however, according to the sources, the Minister of Health and the National Intelligence Agency contacted the hospital director general and staff to prevent the operation, which the medical staff nevertheless finally agreed to perform in mid-afternoon in the light of Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s critical condition; since that incident, the threats and acts of intimidation to which Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s family and close acquaintances had been subjected since July were intensified, and fear has been expressed for his life and for their security;

  • According to the authorities, Mr. Diomi Ndongala had attended no National Assembly sessions since his election or taken part in parliament’s work, because he contested the validity of the presidential and legislative elections of November 2011 and the resulting institutions, as did the Congolese opposition leader, Mr. Etienne Tshisekedi, of the Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social (Union for Democracy and Social Progress, UDPS), whom Mr. Diomi Ndongala considers to be the legitimate president, not Mr. Kabila,

Considering the following: Mr. Agboyibo, former Prime Minister of Togo, was asked by the Committee to visit Kinshasa from 25 July to 2 August 2012 in order inter alia to obtain additional information from the authorities and the sources on Mr. Diomi Ndongala's situation (he was still missing at the time); the parliamentary authorities agreed to that mission and facilitated its smooth conduct; Mr. Agboyibo’s mission report was forwarded to the authorities and the sources on 13 September 2012; Mr. Agboyibo stressed in his conclusions that additional clarifications were required in the case, that he had expressed concern at the grave allegations transmitted by the sources and the total absence of news of Mr. Diomi Ndongala since his disappearance, and that he failed to understand why no inquiry had been opened by the authorities into the fact that Mr. Diomi Ndongala had been missing since the end of June 2012,

Noting that the Congolese delegation heard by the Committee during the 127th IPU Assembly (Quebec, October 2012) appreciated the fact that Mr. Agboyibo had underscored that the case required clarification, but regretted that he had not met with the alleged rape victims and their family to hear their side of the story,

Considering thatthere continue to be many incoherencies in the case, given the fundamentally contradictory versions of events provided by the authorities and the sources,

  1. Notes with deep concern the serious allegations that Mr. Diomi Ndongala, an opposition member of the National Assembly, was arbitrarily arrested and held incommunicado by the intelligence services for almost four months; is puzzled that fundamental discrepancies persist in the versions of the events provided by the authorities and the sources and that no steps were taken by the authorities to inquire into Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s disappearance, to establish whether he was alive and in good health, or to ascertain his whereabouts and the circumstances of and reasons for his disappearance, despite the complaints filed in court by the family;

  2. Stresses that, while it is fully aware of the undeniable gravity of the charges of rape against Mr. Diomi Ndongala, it remains deeply concerned in this case about respect for the international fair-trial standards to which the DRC has adhered and which apply during the examination and investigation, including in cases of rape, given that fundamental contradictions persist on:

    1. The alleged flagrante delicto nature of the rape, given that Mr. Diomi Ndongala was not present on the scene of the alleged rape during the police operation and that these are the only legal grounds on which a member of parliament can be arrested without first requesting the National Assembly to lift his parliamentary immunity;

    2. The integrity of the alleged facts and the appropriateness of the charge of rape, given the many contradictions reported as to the exact place, time and circumstances of the alleged crime, the proof establishing that it had even occured, the exact age of the presumed victims (who may not be minors), and the sums received by the presumed victims from Mr. Diomi Ndongala or another person;

    3. Effective respect for the rights of defence, Mr. Diomi Ndongala having never been heard by the judicial authorities and having learned of the charges against him in the press;

  3. Fails to understand why the authorities were so eager to lift Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s immunity, given the many incoherencies in the case and the serious procedural flaws raised, and trusts that an independent inquiry will be conducted as soon as possible into Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s disappearance so as to establish the facts and accountability transparently and fairly, enabling the Prosecutor General and the National Assembly to have all the information they need to assess, at this stage, how to follow up the judicial proceedings and the request to lift Mr. Diomi Ndongala's parliamentary immunity;

  4. Sincerely hopes that the special parliamentary committee set up to review the matter of Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s parliamentary immunity will be made up of equitable numbers of representatives of the majority and the opposition and will enable Mr. Diomi Ndongala, or his lawyer, to present his defence in public, if he so wishes and when his health allows, in order to ensure a maximum of transparency in the case and full respect for the rights of the defence;

  5. Also expresses concern at the surveillance, threats and acts of intimidation to which Mr. Diomi Ndongala’s family and close acquaintances have been subjected since July 2012; takes note that, according to the sources, the situation has worsened considerably since Mr. Diomi Ndongala's reappearance; is deeply disturbed that the authorities apparently tried to prevent Mr. Diomi Ndongala from receiving emergency surgery on 19 October 2012, and requests them to provide, as a matter of urgency, their observations on the matter and to indicate the measures taken to ensure the safety of Mr. Diomi Ndongala and his family;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Minister of Justice, the Prosecutor General and the sources;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and to report back to it in due course.

* The delegation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo expressed its reservation regarding the resolution.
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