Excessive use of pretrial detention
Notwithstanding the conditions set out in article 27 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure, the Committee notes with concern the excessive use, in practice, of pretrial
detention, with pretrial detainees accounting for 59 per cent of inmates in certain prisons
and often being held for longer than the periods provided for in the Code (arts. 11 and 16).

The State party should:

Ensure that the regulations governing pretrial detention are
scrupulously respected and that such detention is resorted to only in exceptional
circumstances and for limited periods, taking into account the principles of necessity
and proportionality;
Promote alternatives to pretrial detention, in accordance with the United
Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules);
Ensure systematic oversight of the lawfulness of pretrial detention by the
public prosecutor’s office.
National Human Rights Commission
While noting with satisfaction the establishment, pursuant to Act No. 13/011, of the
National Human Rights Commission, which has been granted A status in accordance with
the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection
of human rights (the Paris Principles), and the Commission’s mandate, notably its role in
conducting visits to places of detention, formulating opinions and proposals addressed to
Parliament and issuing inquiry reports, the Committee observes that limited resources have
been allocated to this institution, which is unable to perform all its functions effectively (art.
2 (1)).
The State party should, without delay, take the necessary measures to ensure
the Commission’s functional independence by guaranteeing it an adequate budget
that allows it to recruit staff, set up regional offices and fulfil the mandate entrusted to
Conditions of detention
The Committee is very concerned about conditions of detention in the majority of
institutions in the country, which have led to numerous deaths in custody. In particular, the
Committee is concerned about: (a) prison overcrowding, especially at the Makala prison in
Kinshasa, which had an occupancy rate of 526 per cent in February 2019; (b) the
insalubrity of the majority of prisons, the inadequate hygiene, lack of ventilation, poor
quality and insufficient quantity of food, and the limited recreational and training activities
to foster rehabilitation; (c) the limited access to quality health care in most places of
detention; and (d) the lack of qualified prison staff, which means that inmates themselves
are responsible for supervision, resulting in violence and corruption. The Committee is also
concerned about allegations that international organizations and civil society visitors have
been denied access to certain places of detention, notably those within the remit of the
National Intelligence Agency (arts. 2, 11 and 16).
The State party should swiftly take all necessary measures to bring conditions
of detention into line with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners; in particular, it should:
Improve physical conditions in all places of deprivation of liberty by
ensuring that prisoners receive, in a timely fashion and free of charge, the medical
treatment and medicines required by their state of health, have access to nutritious
and sufficient food, and enjoy appropriate sanitary conditions and adequate
ventilation in cells, given the climatic conditions in the country;


Reduce prison overcrowding by making greater use of alternatives to


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