Target: Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton
Goal: Applaud conviction of vicious war rapist
A rebel leader during the Democratic Republic of Congo’s bloody conflict nearly a decade ago, General Jerome Kakwavu, was recently convicted of rape, making him the first Congolese general successfully prosecuted for a war crime in the country’s history.
A Congolese military court, ruthless in its sentencing of the former war general, also found Kakwavu guilty of murder and torture and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. While this single sentencing may appear to be a paltry achievement, especially in a country where thousands of women and girls have been victims of sexual violence since Congo’s conflicts began in 1996, it’s a historic and monumental landmark, as top ranking military and troop leaders seldom receive prosecution for their unlawful acts.
While in power, Gen. Jerome Kakwavu wreaked havoc on whole communities, holding hundreds of public executions where he tied victims to palm trees and allowed military soldiers to whip and shoot them. However, he is most remembered for inflicting pain, suffering and fear onto the lives of young girls and their parents. Kakwavu regularly ordered solders to kidnap attractive adolescent girls, some as young as 11 years old, and enslave them for days or weeks at a time, where he’d torture, abuse, and rape them. The situation became so severe that enrollment of girls in Congolese schools dropped nearly 70 percent.
Further, Kakwavu continued his brutal reign for almost a decade, despite opposition from the United Nations’ human rights officers and Human Rights Watch agents and activists. In 2005, Kakwavu was arrested, but remained out on provisional release and was allowed to maintain his status as an army general. It wasn’t until Hillary Clinton, then U.S. Secretary of State, visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009 and pressured Congolese authorities to detain Kakwavu immediately and put him on trial.
General Jerome Kakwavu’s conviction has demolished illusions that violent military generals, officers and soldiers, especially those that commit human rights injustices, are protected from the law. Sign the petition to applaud Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s efforts in the conviction and prosecution of rapist and murderer, General Jerome Kakwavu.
Dear Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton,
For over a decade, Congolese war general Jerome Kakwavu maliciously exercised his power over the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and did so without remorse. From the public executions of countless war victims, to the rape, torture and murder of innocent adolescent and pre-teen girls, Kakwavu inflicted fear, pain and injustice upon an innumerable amount of individuals.
Your visit to the Congo in 2009 led to the prosecution and conviction of Gen. Kakwavu, making him the first top brass military official to be sentenced for a war crime. As more convictions of sexual violence, murder and torture, over 180 to be exact, flood military courts in the Congo, Kakwavu’s jail-sentencing is proof that injustices will no longer be tolerated or overlooked.
Thank you so much for initiating his arrest, and for your efforts in the fight to end human rights abuses during times of political upheaval in the Congo.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Russavia via Wikimedia Commons