II. Sexual Violence by the Congolese Army
The FARDC: An Army of Former Enemies
The Congolese national army, the FARDC, was formed after the installation of the transitional government in June 2003. It brought together soldiers from all of the main rebel groups as well as the former government army into a new force with officer and command positions divided up between them. In order to break former chains of command and enhance the integration of former enemy combatants into new units, the transitional government pursued a policy of brassage (mixing up) in which new brigades were formed of soldiers from each of the main groups, who would then together undertake three months of basic training and instruction at brassage centers across the country. It was a huge logistical exercise due to be completed before national elections in 2006, but carried on even afterward. South Africa, the Netherlands and Belgium were amongst the main donors who supported the process with financial and technical expertise. It was soon recognized that three months training for each new brigade was insufficient, but only some brigades received additional training. Overall, 18 brigades were integrated.
Following national and provincial elections in 2006, many of the newly integrated brigades were sent to frontline positions in eastern Congo where the violence continued. In 2009, during a rapid integration process in North Kivu, an estimated 12,000 combatants from rebel groups joined the Congolese army ranks swelling the army's numbers in eastern Congo alone to an estimated 60,000 soldiers. These new integrations exacerbated longstanding problems of discipline, pay, and command and control, and contributed further to the wide-scale abuses committed with impunity by Congolese army soldiers.
Since its creation in 2003, the FARDC has been one of the main perpetrators of documented sexual violence in Congo. Army commanders have frequently failed to stop sexual violence and punish those responsible. These crimes are serious violations of international humanitarian law, and some constitute war crimes. Although other armed groups have also committed many brutal acts of sexual violence against women and girls, the sheer size of the Congolese army and its deployment throughout the country make it the single largest group of perpetrators. FARDC soldiers continue to commit gang rapes, rapes involving injury and death, and abductions of women and girls. In 2007, MONUC found that 54 percent of all sexual violence cases reported in the first six months of that year were committed by the FARDC soldiers. Between January and May 2009, Human Rights Watch documented 143 cases of rape by army soldiers in North Kivu. A UN official in North Kivu warned that the number of reported rapes by FARDC soldiers was on the rise in early 2009.
Soldiers of different brigades in different parts of Congo-including integrated brigades-have committed crimes of sexual violence. This report focuses on the 14th brigade as an example, not as an exceptional case. For example, the 4th brigade committed many acts of sexual violence in Aveba, Ituri, Oriental Province, in 2005-2006. The 62nd, 63rd and 67th brigades were responsible for widespread acts of sexual violence in central Katanga in 2006. In 2007, members of the 1st, 2nd, and 11th integrated brigades raped girls in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu respectively. In September 2008, soldiers of the 7th and 15th integrated brigade raped women and girls in Rutshuru and Lubero territory, North Kivu. The UN has continuously emphasized the problem of FARDC abuses against civilians, including sexual violence, and provides details on cases in its reports.
 Institute for Security Studies, "Assessing Security Sector Reform and Its Impact on the Kivu Provinces," Situation Report, November 2008, http://www.iss.org.za/dynamic/administration/file_manager/file_links/SITREPDRC261108.PDF?link_id=14&slink_id=7043&link_type=12&slink_type=13&tmpl_id=3 (accessed May 19, 2009), p. 3.
 International Crisis Group, "Security Sector Reform in the Congo," Africa Report N°104 – 13 February 2006, http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/africa/central_africa/104_security_sector_reform_in_the_congo.pdf (accessed May 19, 2009), pp. 18-21. Regarding problems with brassage, see below.
"DR Congo: Hold Army to Account for War Crimes," Human Rights Watch news release, May 19, 2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/05/19/dr-congo-hold-army-account-war-crimes.
 For further information on FARDC crimes, see: Human Rights Watch, Democratic Republic of Congo: Renewed Crisis in North Kivu, vol. 19, no.17(A), October 2007, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/drc1007webwcover.pdf, pp.42-45; Human Rights Watch, Democratic Republic of Congo: Killings in Kiwanja: The UN's Inability to Protect Civilians, December 2008, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/drc1208web.pdf, p. 21; "DR Congo: Brutal Rapes by Rebels and Army," Human Rights Watch news release, April 8, 2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/04/08/dr-congo-brutal-rapes-rebels-and-army.
While revealing of the scale of sexual violence by government forces, there are many reasons why this statistic is likely to be incomplete. For example, victims of sexual violence by armed groups in remote areas may have been less able to access to services than those victims of rape by army soldiers. UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, para. 13. The report contains a list of FARDC sexual crimes. Ibid., paras. 19-24.
 This was the majority of the 250 cases of sexual violence documented by Human Rights Watch in North Kivu during that period. Human Rights Watch, "DR Congo: Hold Army to Account for War Crimes."
 Human Rights Watch interview UN official, Goma, March 30, 2009.
See the report by a Congolese human rights group, Justice Plus,"Ituri: the Army Did Not Make a Difference,"(Ituri: L'Armée n'a pas fait la différence), February 2007, (on file with Human Rights Watch).
 Legal Submission from Human Rights Watch to Dr. Adolphe Onusumba, Minister of Defense, July 21, 2006, http://www.hrw.org/legacy/campaigns/drc/2006/katanga/pdfs/DRC%20FARDC%20Submission%20En.pdf (accessed June 8, 2009).
 United Nations Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, S/2007/391, June 28, 2007, http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N07/390/16/PDF/N0739016.pdf?OpenElement (accessed May 30, 2009), paras 43, 47, 48.
 UN Human Rights Office in the DRC (UNHRO), "Human Rights Monthly Assessment September 2008" (on file with Human Rights Watch).
 UNHRO, "Human Rights Monthly Assessment February 2008;" "Human Rights Monthly Assessment April 2008; "Human Rights Monthly Assessment September 2008;" "Human Rights Weekly Assessment 22-28 March 2008;" "Human Rights Weekly Assessment 14-20 June 2008;" "Human Rights Weekly Assessment 5-11 July;" "Human Rights Weekly Assessment 2-9 August 2008;" "Human Rights Weekly Assessment 6-12 September 2008;" "Human Rights Weekly Assessment 30 August - 5 September 2008" (all on file with Human Rights Watch).