Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Democratic Republic of Congo, mass rape in South Kivu province

Delivered in Plenary - 7th July 2011

Madam President

The Democratic Republic of Congo is something of a misnomer, as it is certainly not democratic, nor is it really a functioning republic. If it was, we could perhaps hope to see the government take action to prevent the mass rape of women and to prosecute those responsible for that heinous crime. But in reality the government has little authority over vast swathes of this anarchic country.

The latest mass rapes in South Kivu province are another sorry chapter in the violent and troubled history of the DRC, which is verging on being a failed state. Those crimes were allegedly committed by former rebels who had been integrated into the national army but then deserted. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this appalling case is that the perpetrators are unlikely ever to be brought to justice.

Nevertheless, that should not stop us trying, as impunity is completely unacceptable in the modern world. Having the International Criminal Court as a body of global jurisprudence for such vile crimes offers us at least some glimmer of hope for the victims of this savagery to see some justice victims to whom we say today that we in this Parliament will not ignore what has happened to you.