Added: June 22, 2013 – Last updated: November 4, 2017


Author: Dunia Prince Zongwe

Title: The New Sexual Violence Legislation in the Congo

Subtitle: Dressing Indelible Scars on Human Dignity

Journal: African Studies Review

Volume: 55

Issue: 2

Year: September 2012 (Published online: October 18, 2013)

Pages: 37-57

ISSN: 0002-0206 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1555-2462 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | African History: Congolese History | Prosecution: Laws / 20th-Century Legislation, 21st-Century Legislation; Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / First Congo War, Second Congo War



Cambridge University Press (Restricted Access)

Project MUSE (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »This article describes a legal thread running from the commission of massive sexual violence in the eastern provinces of the Congo since 1996 to the enactment of liberal legislation in 2006 to combat sexual violence throughout the country, especially in eastern Congo. In doing so, the article fills a gap in the nascent legal literature on systematic sexual violence. It finds that the new rape law is progressive, liberal, gender-neutral, and in keeping with international law. However, an unfortunate lapse in legislative drafting puts in doubt the authority of the courts to use the new rape law to prosecute systematic sexual violence. Despite this weakness, as well as harsh realities such as resource limitations and institutionalized corruption, the new sexual violence law, “the law of shameful acts,” nonetheless provides a framework on the basis of which the state and rape survivors can prosecute perpetrators. It is a necessary step in upholding accountability and preparing for the more daunting task of healing communities affected by a devastating regional war.« (Source: African Studies Review)


  Abstract (p. 37)
  Résumé (p. 37)
  Introduction (p. 38)
  Systematic Sexual Violence in the Congo: Historical Background (p. 39)
  Sexual Violence in the Congo: Legal Background (p. 40)
  Gaps in the Old Rape Law (p. 41)
  Investigations, Court Settings, and Evidence (p. 44)
  The New Sexual Violence Legislation (p. 45)
  Rape Versus Systematic Rape (p. 46)
  Strengths and Weaknesses of the Amended Penal Code (p. 47)
  Residual Problems and General Recommendations (p. 50)
  Conclusion: Healing the Tear in the Social Fabric (p. 52)
  Acknowledgments (p. 53)
  References (p. 54)
    Cases (p. 54)
    Publications (p. 54)
  Notes (p. 56)

Wikipedia: History of Africa: History of the Democratic Republic of the Congo | Law: Laws regarding rape | Rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo | Sex and the law: Wartime sexual violence | War: First Congo War, Second Congo War / Rape during the Congo civil wars