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ICC head visits Democratic Republic of Congo

June 27, 2013 at 12:38 PM   |   Comments

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 27 (UPI) -- The International Criminal Court relies on states like the Democratic Republic of Congo to help bring rights violators to justice, an official said.

ICC Registrar Herman von Hebel concluded a three-day mission to DRC to meet with state, local and international dignitaries to discuss justice in the troubled East African nation.

The ICC is reviewing six cases of human rights violations in DRC. Von Hebel said he appreciated DRC support for international justice.

"Since the ICC does not have its own police force, it heavily relies on cooperation from states, including the DRC," he said in a statement published Thursday. "It is only with the substantial cooperation of states that the ICC can succeed in helping to end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes."

The ICC in July sentenced Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in prison for conscripting child soldiers and using children as personal bodyguards during fighting in DRC in 2002 and 2003. His deputy, Bosco Ntaganda, surrendered in April to the ICC to face similar charges as leader of the rebel March 23 Movement.

A former staff member of the ICC is suspected of sexually abusing four individuals under its protection in DRC. The ICC did not indicate if Von Hebel's visit was related to the court's investigation of the incident.

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