The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has cautioned political actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo that the ICC will not hesitate to act if crimes fall within its jurisdiction.
Fatou Bensouda said in a statement on Friday that the court is monitoring the situation in the country calling on all sides to refrain from committing any act of criminal violence against individuals.
“If acts constituting crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court are committed, I will not hesitate to act and take all necessary steps to prosecute those responsible, in line with the principle of complementarity,” she said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the Francophonie jointly called for restraint from both parties and to urge their supporters to renounce violence.
In a statement issued on Saturday at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the four bodies appealed to the government to respect human rights and freedoms, and also for the opposition to continue with the national dialogue.
Clashes erupted in DRC’s capital Kinshasa during a demonstration organised by the main opposition parties on September 19 and 20 calling for an election on the constitutionally mandated date in November and also for Kabila to step down at the end of his term on December 20.
There are conflicting reports as to the number of deaths so far during the clashes. The government says 17 people were killed, the opposition puts the toll at 50 people, while Human Rights Watch says that at least 37 people died.
The opposition led by veteran politician Etienne Tshisekedi has suspended the national dialogue meant to resolve the political crisis in the country. It has also declared a three-day national mourning from September 26 to September 29 for the burial of the victims of the clashes.