The DRC retains the death penalty for aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, treason, spying, political and military offences, and genocide.
The DRC has been a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1976,and ratified the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR allowing for the right of individual petition in 2010. It has neither signed nor ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. The DRC ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 1987 and the Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2010.
Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland
In 2009, we began working on our first case in the jurisdiction of the DRC. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) requested our assistance in the case of Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland. French, who holds dual British and Norwegian nationality, and Moland, a Norwegian national, were sentenced to death by firing squad by a military tribunal following their convictions for murder, attempted murder, robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and espionage. Since their arrest in May 2009, both men have been subjected to numerous incidents of violence, intimidation, mock executions, and threats. In December, their convictions and sentences were upheld by a higher military court in Kisangani.
We worked with various partners including Reprieve, Norwegian lawyers and the FCO, to provide legal assistance in preparation for French’s appeal before the Military High Court. On 22nd April 2010, the Military High Court in Kinshasa quashed the death sentences imposed on French and Moland, and ordered a retrial to take place. On 10th June 2010, French and Moland were sentenced to death for the second time at the military tribunal, and both have, again, appealed against this decision.
We understand that in December 2011, French and Moland were transferred to Kinshasa prison and assurances have been received that the death sentences will not be carried out. For more information on this case, please see our press release.
Sadly, on 18th August 2013, Tjostolv Moland was found dead in his cell in Kinshasa prison.
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