Collective Victimization and Subjectivity in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Why Do Lasting Peace and Justice Remain Elusive?

in International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
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The Democratic Republic of Congo has experienced patterns of mass victimization since the country’s inception. As a private domain of King Leopold ii of Belgium, a Belgian colony or an independent state; the country has undergone numerous episodes of violence affecting not only individuals but also entire communities. Socio-political and economic crises have been accompanied by inter-ethnic violence, mostly in eastern provinces. Over the last decade, various mechanisms have been explored in attempts to address past atrocities. In addition to ongoing prosecutions before the International Criminal Court, a number of domestic initiatives have been or are still being explored. The present article examines the suitability of these mechanisms against the backdrop of the politically and ethnically fragmented landscape in the country. The inquiry examines whether domestic or international peace-building processes address not only individual forms of victimization but also subjective experiences and perceptions of collective victimhood.

Collective Victimization and Subjectivity in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Why Do Lasting Peace and Justice Remain Elusive?

in International Journal on Minority and Group Rights




Stroblsupra note 10 p. 19.


Bar-Talibid. p. 1431.


Findlaysupra note 15 p. 188.


Louissupra note 23 p. 101.


Hochschildsupra note 25 p. 294.


Hochschildsupra note 25 p. 233; Louis and Stengers supra note 28 p. 7; Gewald supra note 33 p. 485. Again based on previous research Hochschild supra note 25 pp. 226–232 identified (1) murder; (2) starvation exhaustion and exposure; (3) disease; and (4) plummeting birth rates as the four sources of population decrease in the Congo Free State. See also J.-P. Sanderson. ‘Le Congo belge entre mythe et réalité. Une analyse du discours démographique colonial’ 55:2 Population (2000) pp. 331–355.


Louissupra note 23 p. 117. On the terms of Leopold’s Cession and Belgian annexation of the Congo Free State see Anonymous ‘Treaty of Cession and Annexation’ 3:1 American Journal of International Law (1909) pp. 73–75; Anonymous ‘Bill Approving the Additional Act to the Treaty of Annexation of the Independent State of the Congo to Belgium’ 3:1 American Journal of International Law (1909) pp. 89–94.


Keithsupra note 35 p. 186.


Lemarchandsupra note 51 p. 39.


Nzongola-Ntalajasupra note 18 p. 37. For further details see J.-P. Peemans ‘Capital ­Accumulation in the Congo under Colonialism: The Role of the State’ in L. H. Gann and P. Duignan Colonialism in Africa 1870–1960 Vol. 3 (The Economics of Colonialism 1870–1914) (Cambridge University Press Cambridge 1969) p. 165 et seq.; B. Jewsiewicki ‘Le colonat agricole européen au Congo belge 1910–1960: Questiones politiques et économiques’ 20:4 Journal of African History (1979) pp. 559–571.


Lequmsupra note 58 p. 39.


M.C. Young‘Background to Independence’25 Transition (1966) p. 34.


Lemarchandsupra note 51 pp. 168–174.


Lemarchandsupra note 51 pp. 168–172.


Nzongola-Ntalajasupra note 18 pp. 81–89; Lemarchand supra note 51 p. 167 et seq.; H. F. Weiss Political Protest in the Congo: The Parti Solidaire African during the Independence Struggle (Princeton University Press Princeton 1967).


Edgertonsupra note 47.


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Young and Turnersupra note 90 pp. 30–31 47–77.


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Willame (1997b)supra note 106 pp. 62–68 and 87–99.


As in Mamdanisupra note 102 pp. 234–263; Nzongola-Ntalaja supra note 18; T. Turner The Congo Wars: Conflict Myth and Reality (Zed Books London 2007); G. Prunier Africa’s World War: Congo the Rwandan Genocide and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe (Oxford University Press New York 2008); R. Lemarchand The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa (University of Pennsylvania Press Philadelphia 2009).


Rusamirasupra note 104 pp. 147–163; B. Mararo ‘Land Power and Ethnic Conflict in ­Masisi (Congo-Kinshasa) 1940s–1994’ 30:3 International Journal of African Historical Studies (1997) pp. 503–538.


Pourtiersupra note 121 p. 137.


As elaborated in Lemarchandsupra note 109; Mamdani supra note 102; Nzongola-­Ntalaja supra note 18; Turner supra note 109; Prunier supra note 109.


Lemarchandsupra note 109 pp. 4–5.


Lemarchandsupra note 109 pp. 4–5.


As documented in Jacksonsupra note 105 pp. 95–123; Willame (1997b) supra note 106; Ruhimbika supra note 116; Mamdani supra note 102 pp. 234–263.


Edgertonsupra note 47; and Doyle supra note 43 are evocative. See also O. Olsson and H. Congdon Fors ‘Congo: The Prize of Predation’ 41:3 Journal of Peace Research (2004) pp. 321–336.

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