Universal Jurisdiction in Germany? The Congo War Crimes Trial: First Case under the Code of Crimes against International Law
Report by ECCHR
Thirteen years’ imprisonment for Ignace Murwanashyaka and eight years for Straton Musoni: this was the judgment handed down in September 2015 in the trial of two Rwandan leaders of the Hutu militia Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) at the Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart. Their charges related to massacres committed against the civil population in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It was the first trial under the German Code of Crimes against Criminal Law which was enacted in 2002 and enables German courts to investigate international crimes.
On 8 June 2016 ECCHR published its report in on this trial. Based on trial monitoring carried out over the past four and a half years, the report examines the following questions, among others: Can this trial serve as a model for other international criminal proceedings in Germany? How can the prosecution and courts remedy shortcomings in addressing international crimes, especially concerning charges of sexualized violence? What significance does international criminal law have in the global fight against impunity?
The key elements of the report are set out in an executive summary in English.