1 / 4       Temporary courtroom, Minova town, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 2014. The woman here is going to testify, and is afraid, thinking of the night she was raped. The psychologist, Miracle Chibonga Zawadyi, is trying to bring her back to the present: «Do you know where you are? There is nothing to fear here... Look at the egg... Focus on the present. You are here now, and you are safe». © Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi, Winner of the Humanitarian Visa d’or award – International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 2015.

2 / 4       Temporary courtroom, Minova town, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 2014. A victim, veiled to protect her identity, testifying before the closed military tribunal. A member of the prosecution team is holding the microphone, and a defense lawyer is taking notes. The accused are at the back. © Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi. Winner of the Humanitarian Visa d’or award – International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 2015.

3 / 4       During the visit to the exhibition The Minova Rape Trials by Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

4 / 4       Durante la visita alla mostra Viols: procés de Minova di Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi.
ATTENZIONE: per navigare nella foto cliccare, attendere il caricamento completo (in alto a sinistra) e tenendo premuto il tasto del mouse spostarsi verso destra/sinistra (sui dispositivi mobili far scorrere verso destra/sinistra il dito sul display o ruotare il dispositivo dopo aver toccato l'icona della mano con le frecce). © FPmag.

The Minova Rape Trials

The work of Diana Zeyneb Alhidawi won the Visa d'Or Humanitaiere du Comité International de la Croix Rouge (ICRC) 2015. The subject of the journalistic investigation is the trial that took place from 12th to 19th February 2014 in the temporarily set up court in Minova, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the shores of Lake Kivu.
The root of the proceedings charges of rape against 39 soldiers belonging to the FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo) accused of having submitted in November 2012, the population to ten days of unprecedented violence. There is talk of more than a thousand women, children and men raped alone in the town of Minova. In normal conditions, the proceedings would have been held in the city of Goma, but travel costs would have been an excessive amount for the victims, so the local authorities decided to temporarily transfer the court to the place where the crimes had occurred. This act represented a real step forward towards the defense of the victims of violence. Do not forget that in 2011 the special representative of the United Nations had defined the People’s Republic of the Congo as the world capital of rape. To emphasise, among other things, that it is the first time an indictment involves soldiers, and that the complaints received by the military court does not provide for any appeal procedure after judgment. In any case, despite the exceptional approach of the court and the procedure to protect the identity and safety of the victims (who appeared in court with clothing that could not allow them to be recognised), only forty seven women gave evidence against the 37 soldiers actually accused of rape. The verdict issued on 5th May 2014 has recognised only two of the soldiers guilty, of which one was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Work already previously seen by juries of international awards and definitely interesting from a journalistic point of view to the importance of the documented event and in perspective its potential consequences, but that inevitably encounters formal limits imposed by the confidentiality of the possible situations documented in a necessarily limited environment. In other words, the gratification of the eye passes, as is only right, in the background compared to the journalistic relevance, daughter of an intuition and of high-level research. [ S. I. ]

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THE MINOVA RAPE TRIALS
by Diana Zeyneb Alhidawi
Palais des Corts | until September, 13th 2015
admission fee: free

published on 2015-09-03 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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