New York

01 February 2022

Note to Correspondents – in response to questions on the verdict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General

In response to questions regarding the killings of Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp, the Spokesperson has the following to say:

We note the verdict rendered Saturday by the Military Court of Ex-Kasai Occidental, resulting in the conviction of Colonel Jean de Dieu Mambweni, Mr. Thomas Nkashama, and Mr. Jean Bosco Mukanda and others associated with them, in relation to the killings of Ms. Zaida Catalán and Mr. Michael Sharp, former members of the Group of Experts on the DRC.

We understand that these decisions may be appealed.

We note that the Military Prosecutor General is also investigating other persons in connection with the killings of Ms. Catalán and Mr. Sharp and the fate of their four Congolese companions.

We also note that some of the other defendants were found guilty on all counts and sentenced to death.

We reiterate the Secretary-General’s opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances.  Noting that there is a de facto moratorium on the imposition of the death penalty in the DRC, we urge the DRC authorities to maintain the moratorium on the death penalty and to consider abolishing it in law.

The United Nations has been supporting Congolese authorities in the investigation into the killings of our two experts since 2017 through its Follow-on Mechanism on the DRC. We will continue to assist, as appropriate, the Military Prosecutor General in any appeal against this verdict.

The Secretary-General is committed to continuing the support provided by the Mechanism to the Congolese authorities in their pursuit of justice for our UN experts, as well as their four Congolese companions.