The international community should call on President Joseph Kabila to save the lives of DIYAVANGA NKUYU, BOSEY JEAN-LOUIS, MBUMBA ILUNGA AND MWATI KABWE, awaiting execution for crimes committed while they were children.Iran, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the USA all have one thing in common: they execute juvenile offenders. The USA has executed eight juvenile offenders since1998, and two 17-year-olds were executed in Iran and Nigeria in 1999. Now it is the turn of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to join this heinous bunch of countries which acts in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits the execution of people for crimes committed below the age of 18. 4 child soldiers, aged between 14 and 16 at the time of the crimes they committed, have been sentenced to death in the DRC, provoking a wave of international criticism. The Human Rights Watch group claims that a 14-year-old boy soldier was recently executed in the DRC. Graзa Machel, the United Nations expert on the rehabilitation of children involved in armed conflict, has stated that the children involved in such conflicts are almost always coerced into battle, trained, armed, brainwashed, compelled to fight, only to be sentenced to death when they are caught. In the case of the DRC, the sentences were issued by the Court of Military Order, a tribunal which often carries out the execution order immediately after the sentence is read, giving no right to appeal. Only President Joseph Kabila can use his influence to commute the death sentences against Diyavanga Nkuyu (14), Bosey Jean-Louis (15), Mbumba Ilunga and Mwati Kabwe (16). The ages given were those at the time of their arrest. The state of the world at the beginning of the 21st Century is sickeningly unjust. Crimes against children have no place in today’s society. Sexual tourism, child abuse and execution of minors are three issues which Pravda.Ru will fight against until such violations of human rights cease. That the United States of America, the exponent of the “word”, should be included in such a group of countries is a shame, a disgrace and it is a fact which withdraws from this country any right to proclaim itself on human rights issues anywhere in the world from now on.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON