Congolese thought the ICC would "end the violence”

24 September 2014 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

For the majority of inhabitants in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the International Criminal Court has had no impact on peace or justice, reports a study published this month by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Of over 5,000 people surveyed in Ituri and the Kivus, 28 percent think the court’s influence has been negative. IJT spoke to report co-author Patrick Vinck. 

Then ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo with locals in the DRC's Ituri district
Image caption: 
Then ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo with locals in the DRC's Ituri district in July 2009 (Flickr/ICC-CPI)

Did the negativity towards the ICC surprise you?

Patrick Vinck (PV): For the largest part, it’s indifference, if anything. People felt that in the end, the ICC did not have much of an impact. Most people feel very neutral about it, in fact. But I’m not surprised either by the negative side. That can be attributed to the more qualitative part of our work, questioning people’s high expectations – they thought that the court was going to come in and end the violence – which it never could. 

Internationally, the ICC has been criticized for not trying sex crimes or addressing atrocities in the Kivus. Did the Congolese name those issues?

PV: No. The more specific elements are around partiality – that the court may be just going after some groups or some individuals – because it’s working with the government and therefore isn’t going [to go] after actors who are seen as close to or working with government. 

How have perceptions changed since your previous DRC studies? 

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