Editor’s note: This story is a follow-up to the first post, Seeking justice for victims of rape in Minova, in a new GlobalPost Special Report titled "Laws of Men: Legal systems that fail women." This year-long series looks at the breakdown in legal systems created to protect women’s rights around the world, and begins in the Congo at an unprecedented rape trial.
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo — Just two of 39 Congolese soldiers were convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison on Monday afternoon when a Goma court handed down the verdict in the Minova trial, the largest rape tribunal in the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Thirteen soldiers were acquitted of all charges, while 24 were convicted of pillaging. Only 34 of the 39 defendants — all members of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) — were present in the courtroom today, which also held about 250 spectators. The 56 victims who testified were not present for the reading of the verdict.