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State Responsibility and the Right to Personal Security in the drc: A Human Rights Law Perspective

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The right to personal security has been grossly violated in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for nearly two decades by persistent armed conflicts. Ensuring this right through justice in such a complex context is particularly challenging but feasible. This paper examines whether the drc should be judicially held accountable for violations of the right to personal security. Drawing on case-law, international practice and literature in the field of human rights, the paper demonstrates that under the doctrine of State responsibility the drc has the duty to exercise due diligence in protecting its inhabitants through legislation, precautionary measures and prosecution. It also explains, however, that the drc’s responsibility may not be established under certain mitigating circumstances and factors, such as loss of part of territorial control, the necessity of granting amnesty to some perpetrators of human rights violations and the difficulty of judicially determining the minimum core of the right to personal security. The paper concludes that the possibility of judicially holding the drc accountable for failure to respect its international human rights obligations has been demonstrated and recommends that to be capitalised by competent jurisdictions in order to improve the situation of the right to personal security on the ground.

Affiliations: 1: KinshasaDemocratic Republic of Congo


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