Prisoner Release: Agreement on Ending Hostilities in the Republic of Congo

AGREEMENT ON ENDING HOSTILITIES IN THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO

(29 DECEMBER 1999)

Chapter III: General Stipulations

Article 5: The signatories agree to the following:

The release of all civilian and military personnel detained because of war.

Implementation History

2000

Minimum Implementation

The Pointe Noire truce of November 1999 as well as the Agreement on Ending Hostilities of December 1999 require the release of all civilians and military personnel detained because of war. The exact number of civilians and military personnel detained because of war is not available. Nevertheless, the government was released a few of those who were detained because of war. According to the U.S. State Department Human Rights Report for 1999, the government released 30 persons who had been detained in late 1998 and were unaccounted for; they were transferred late in the year to Impfondo, in the Likouala region, and were subsequently released. In February 1999, before the ceasefire agreement, Nestor Makoundzi-Wolo, who had been detained in November 1998 for his connection with his service on the Lissouba-era Constitutional Court, was released. In October 1999, another former Constitutional Court member was also released.  In October, government also freed 12 Lissouba-era military officers.1 After the agreement in December 1999, the government released 17 political prisoners who had been held since Pointe Noire (1998) and then moved to  Impfondo. The detainees were minor officials of the former Lissouba Government and affiliated parties. One of the detainees, Gabriel Louya, died in detention after suffering a stroke as a result of torture and prison conditions.2

Rev. Frederic Bitsangou, chief of the National resistance Council, released five prisoners and turned in seven automatic rifles on 15 February 2000 (Source: Republic of Congo rebel leader orders followers to turn in weapons, Associated Press, 16 February 2000).

2001

Full Implementation

International organizations had such as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), local human rights NGOs such as Congolese Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH), the association for the human rights of Incarcerated (ADHUC) and a Catholic Church Organization visited prisons throughout 2001. There were no political prisoners.3 According to the U.S. State department report, in 2001 there were no political prisoners being detained by the government of Republic of Congo.4

2002

Full Implementation

According to the U.S. State department report, in 2002 there were no political prisoners being detained by the government of Republic of Congo.5

2003

Full Implementation

According to the U.S. State department report, in 2003 there were no political prisoners being detained by the government of Republic of Congo.6

2004

Full Implementation

According to the U.S. State department report, in 2004 there were no political prisoners being detained by the government of Republic of Congo.7

2005

Intermediate Implementation

According to the U.S. State department report, there were at least 10 political prisoners in government detention centers in 2005.8 Nevertheless, it is not clear whether those prisoners were affiliated with rebel groups which were part of the agreements in 1999.

2006

Intermediate Implementation

According to the U.S. State department report, there were at least 10 political prisoners in government detention centers in 2006.9 Nevertheless, it is not clear whether those prisoners were affiliated with rebel groups which were part of the agreements in 1999.

2007

Intermediate Implementation

There were a few political prisoners in Republic of Congo in 2007. In August 2007, following protests by prisoners, 242 prisoners (including numerous political prisoners) were released citing space concerns in overcrowded prisons.10 It was not clear if those prisoners were affiliated with the parties which signed accords in 1999.

2008

Intermediate Implementation

According to the U.S. State department report, there were few political prisoners.11 Nevertheless, it is not clear if those prisoners were affiliated with rebel groups which were part of the agreements in 1999.

2009

Intermediate Implementation

According to the U.S. State department report, there were few political prisoners.12 Nevertheless, it is not clear if those prisoners were affiliated with rebel groups which were part of the agreements in 1999.

According to the U.S. State department report, in 2010 there were no political prisoners being detained by the government of Republic of Congo.13