The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (WI) works with focal points and local partners in three conflict-affected provinces in eastern DRC – North Kivu, South Kivu and Province Orientale- to document conflict-related sexual and gender-based crimes (SGBCs).
Operating since 2006, in the last four years alone (2013-2016) this programme has interviewed over 1,400 victims/survivors of rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence as well as torture and mutilation. The documentation data is utilized by local partners in their work with the police and judicial actors as well as political decision-makers advocating for more accountability and greater access to medical and other support services for victims/survivors of these crimes. The documentation interviews are also utilized in cases before the mobile courts and other justice mechanisms within which our partners support individual victims of sexual violence as victim’s advocates and through the provision of legal referrals and representation.
The documentation material is also utilized in our ongoing advocacy with the ICC and other international actors. Our historic documentation material from 2006-2007 has contributed to the ICC’s work in several of its DRC-related cases, including the ongoing case against Bosco Ntaganda.
Over the coming years we will continue our work at the ICC as well as significantly increase our work domestically for more accountability for conflict-related sexual violence. Our focus will continue to be on: access to medical and psychosocial services and referrals to and livelihood programmes for victims of SGBCs; advocacy for the domestic prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence in three provinces; strategically focused SGBC documentation missions in areas of high prevalence of these crimes; and launch of the new Strategic Accountability Project in South Kivu.