After a lengthy investigation, French judges decided on Monday 6 November that they had enough evidence to charge and prosecute former Congolese militia leader Roger Lumbala.
He led the RCD-N armed group during the Second Congo War. He will stand trial for complicity in crimes against humanity committed in Ituri and North Kivu in 2002 and 2003. This indictment comes after almost three years of investigation during which victims, supported by NGOs, were able to testify despite the state of siege and restrictions imposed by Covid.
Twenty years after the trauma, victims have left their villages to travel to France and tell investigators about the executions, rapes and looting they experienced during the murderous "Erase the board" campaign. This was an operation carried out at the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, in the final months of the second Congo war, by the armed group RCD-N and its allies (including the MLC) to take control of territories in the east of the DRC.
The testimonies gathered by the French investigators during the investigation phase, which began in early 2002, have been added to existing documentation, in particular the United Nations mapping report, which documented hundreds of massacres committed in the DRC between 1993 and 2003.
The French investigators were also able to draw on the report of the Minority Rights Group, an NGO that has worked in particular with organisations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.