However, the country has a moratorium on carrying out executions
More than 50 people accused of crimes in connection with the murders of two UN employees in 2017 in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been sentenced to death.
A military tribunal sentenced the death of 51 of the 54 accused in the case, and an army colonel was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Congo has a moratorium on the execution of death sentences, so as long as it remains, the alleged killers will serve life sentences. More than 20 of the accused were convicted in absentia because they are still on the run, while several others died in custody during the long-delayed prosecution.
The case concerns the killing of two UN experts – Michael Sharp from the United States and Zaida Catalan from Sweden – who disappeared while investigating alleged massacres in the Congolese Kasai region in March 2017. Their bodies were subsequently discovered in a village. It was later revealed that they had been stopped on a road by armed men, taken into a field and murdered.
The Congolese government blamed the Kamuina Nsapu rebels and denied any involvement of government officials, although there has been speculation about potential involvement of senior officials in the killings.
Authorities later arrested Colonel Jean de Dieu Mambweni and an immigration official and said they were helping the rebels, but no high-level government agents have been charged. A report to the UN Security Council called the killings a “deliberate move” that may have involved state security.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Saturday that further investigation is needed to “reveal the truth and create justice” for others involved in the murders. She noted that Swedish officials will study the verdicts, but in any case, Sweden “strongly opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, without exception.”
Catalan’s sister, Elisabeth Morseby, called the shooting down of Mambweni a “smokescreen”. She told Reuters“For the truth to emerge, all suspects, including those higher up in the hierarchy, must be questioned, which has not yet been done.”
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