CCPR/C/130/D/2731/2016 article 23 of the Covenant. The Democratic Republic of the Congo acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on 1 November 1976. The authors are represented by counsel of two non-governmental organizations: TRIAL International and the Canadian Centre for International Justice. The facts as submitted by the authors 2.1 Human rights defenders working in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo face an extremely precarious security situation, owing to the conflicts and permanent instability that have beset that part of the country for the last two decades. They are routinely subjected to multiple violations of their rights and freedoms in a climate of widespread impunity. 2.2 Pascal Kabungulu was a human rights defender who was working to combat corruption and impunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A journalist by training, he occupied the post of Executive Secretary of Héritiers de la Justice (Inheritors of Justice), an organization that specializes in the promotion and protection of human rights in the Great Lakes Region, with a particular focus on South Kivu Province.1 In 2000 and 2003, after he made allegations relating to corruption and impunity in the armed forces, he was summoned by the provincial authorities and suffered attempted assaults, as well as threats and intimidation.2 2.3 At around 3.30 a.m. on 31 July 2005, three armed men wearing masks and uniforms broke into Pascal Kabungulu’s home in the city of Bukavu, caught him and shot him. The authors and other members of their family witnessed the attack but were not injured. The three men then fled, taking Pascal Kabungulu’s computer and some of his personal belongings with them. With the help of some neighbours, his wife transported his unconscious body to the nearest health centre, Bukavu general hospital. When they arrived, however, the doctors could do nothing but certify his death. Given the status and international reputation of Pascal Kabungulu, non-governmental human rights organizations immediately condemned the events on the global stage.3 2.4 The next day, several soldiers came to the family home and began to investigate; they collected three or four cartridge cases that they found there. The same day, two officers – Lieutenant B.L. and Captain G.S. – were arrested and placed in detention at Bukavu central prison in connection with the assassination of Pascal Kabungulu. In the days that followed, B.L. and G.S. were smuggled out of the prison by Lieutenant T.I.,4 before being arrested again a few hours later. After this incident, the prison clerk filed a complaint against Lieutenant T.I., Lieutenant R. and Major J. with the Bukavu Senior Military Prosecutor’s 1 2 3 4 2 As well as working for Héritiers de la Justice, Pascal Kabungulu was the Vice-President of the Ligue des droits de la personne dans la région des Grands Lacs (Human Rights League for the Great Lakes Region), a Kigali-based association that brings together human rights organizations from throughout the Great Lakes Region. In 2003, Pascal Kabungulu was summoned to the Military Prosecutor’s Office after a complaint was lodged by Lieutenant T.I. – who was later charged in connection with the murder of Pascal Kabungulu – because he had published an article in which he condemned Lieutenant T.I.’s behaviour and accused him of imposing illegal revenue-sharing on the artisanal miners working in the South Kivu gold mines, which he partially controlled. The hearing was held in the presence of Lieutenant T.I., who publicly threatened Pascal Kabungulu with death. See Reporters Without Borders, “‘Bukavu, la cité des meurtres’ : rapport d’enquête sur les assassinats de journalistes dans la capitale du Sud-Kivu” (“Bukavu, murder city”: the findings of an investigation into the murders of journalists in the capital of South Kivu), updated on 20 January 2016. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Front Line: International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders explicitly called for the Congolese Government to “immediately start thorough and independent investigations into [the] assassination of human rights activist Pascal Kabungulu Kibembi” (Human Rights Watch, “DR Congo: Prominent Human Rights Defender Assassinated”, 31 July 2005). Before his death, Pascal Kabungulu had investigated allegations of crimes committed by Lieutenant T.I. and had concluded that the Lieutenant had been behind numerous cases of arbitrary arrest, torture, ransom, extortion of goods and misappropriation of funds since his arrival in the region. GE.21-00792

Select target paragraph3