Democratic Republic of Congo Background

In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) currently operates 14 programs in North Kivu, South Kivu, Maniema, Province Orientale and Kasai Orientale. ABA ROLI is generously supported by the U.S. government, private foundations, foreign governments and individual donors. Through these programs, ABA ROLI:

  • provides legal, psychological and medical assistance to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV);
  • facilitates mobile courts that allow the Congolese justice system to hold trials in remote locations;
  • aids the investigation and prosecution of SGBV cases through mobile investigation teams and the digitization of court records;
  • helps to enhance civilian protection through early warning systems in remote areas;
  • conducts media campaigns to raise awareness in local communities about SGBV and available resources. To date we have conducted more than 2,700 media and outreach activities;
  • provides capacity-building support and training to justice sector actors and local civil society organizations. To date, we have trained more than 2,500 of them;
  • helps improve conditions in prisons and detention centers;
  • works to protect the legal rights of children in conflict with the law;
  • strives to protect the rights of communities adversely affected by industrial mining by using a network of paralegals that can help protect their rights;
  • promotes female representation in the legal profession through scholarships and internships to young female law students.

Since January 2008, our legal aid clinics offered pro bono legal counseling to 14,986 SGBV survivors and helped to file 9,215 cases with local authorities, resulting thus far in 1,432 trials and 1,027 convictions.