New training for DRC police
Civil liberties guide for police officers
The police in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have long had a bad reputation – but a lot of this is down to poor skills and lack of proper training. To counter this, OSISA decided to produce a basic training tool – but by the end of the process, a far more comprehensive guidebook had been created, which should help to improve the behavior of police officers across the country.
The Guide on Civil Liberties was produced with the European Union for Police (EUPOL) and was a direct result of the publication of a joint report by OSISA and AfriMAP on the military justice system in DRC. It was launched in collaboration with EUPOL, civil society organisations and the government of DRC.
Initially intended to be a basic tool for training in police academies, the guide was considerably expanded and modified to include both good and bad lessons from the conduct of the police during the controversial electoral campaign of 2011.
The guide eventually took the form of a compendium of basic rules of engagement for the police. It informs the police of the constitutional rights of citizens, international standards around the use of force by law enforcement agencies, the constitutional limits to the powers of the police, and legal remedies against police abuse.
Indeed, in its final 207-page-long form, the guide is an extremely useful tool for both the police and for human rights organisations, who monitor police conduct. The Guide will allow police and civil society organizations to have a common understanding of civil liberties, the challenges and existing good practice, which will promote better relations between police and the population in the field of human rights.
EUPOL, donor agencies and NGOs involved in police training will also use the guide in their training programmes.
The Guide was launched at a major ceremony in Kinshasa, which was attended by over 80 participants, including police officers, civil society groups, members of the media and representatives of donor agencies. The keynote speech was given by Professor Jean-Louis Esambo, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Security and Decentralization.
Indicating how committed the authorities are to using the Guide, the launch was attended by General Constantin Mudekereza representing the Inspector General of the police; General Likisa, Deputy Inspector General of the police; and General Elese, Executive Secretary of the Comité de Suivi de la Réforme de la Police (CSRP, the agency tasked with implementing police reforms).