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DR Congo weeds out unqualified magistrates

Kinshasa, DR Congo | AFP | Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have exposed more than 200 unqualified magistrates, an official source said Tuesday.

A commission of enquiry formed in October to probe the qualifications and recruitment conditions of more than 3,000 magistrates found that hundreds “should not be there,” Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba told reporters.

“The commission has been able to establish that many individuals entered or are in the judiciary who shouldn’t be,” he said.

“More than 200 individuals” will need to be “rooted out of the judiciary to ensure only real magistrates remain.”

Several of the most flagrant cases have resulted in arrests since the commission began its operations. The minister said others had simply vanished.

“These individuals who entered the judiciary in irregular fashion have done substantial damage with regard to the administration of justice,” he added, vowing they would face legal action.

Domestic and international human rights NGOs have repeatedly slammed the DRC’s justice system as corrupt.

In October, the minister said in a televised official address that the judicial system was “infected by several ills,” not least the slowness with which its wheels turn.

He also referred to arrests and detentions as an “instrument of intimidation and terror” used against those facing trial.

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