July 21, 2024
DRC tribunal sentences 25 soldiers to death for ‘fleeing the enemy’
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DRC tribunal sentences 25 soldiers to death for ‘fleeing the enemy’

Twenty-five soldiers accused of fleeing fighting against M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been sentenced to death.

The Butembo military court in North Kivu province handed the sentences down on Wednesday, deeming them guilty of fleeing the enemy, dissipation of war munitions and violation of orders.

The tribunal was set up close to the scene of recent clashes between the Congolese army and M23 fighters with the aim of discouraging soldiers from fleeing the front line.

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A total of 31 defendants, including 27 soldiers and four of their civilian wives, appeared before the military court during the one-day trial, said Jules Muvweko, one of the defence lawyers. The four women were acquitted while one soldier was sentenced to 10 years’ jail for robbery. The verdict for the last soldier was unclear.