DRC: Draft law to waive legal fees for SGBV survivors introduced in parliament

In the DRC, a draft law to waive legal fees for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) survivors has been introduced in the National Assembly.

This draft law marks the fruition of a series of roundtables, organized by JHR’s Global Affairs Canada-funded program Canada World: Voices for Women and Girls’ Rights, which aimed to brainstorm interventions for eliminating obstacles to justice for SGBV survivors. One of the major obstacles identified during early discussions in June 2021 was the exorbitant costs associated with pursuing a legal case against SGBV perpetrators and participants agreed that a law to waive legal fees for SGBV survivors is necessary.

JHR-DRC partnered with local civil society organizations to initiate a draft law that exempts survivors from court fees and the protection of witnesses and whistleblowers.

On November 30 2021, national deputies Christelle Vuanga, Jean Claude Draza, Jean Marc Kabund and Juvenal Munubo endorsed the law, which was finally introduced in the National Assembly on January 28, 2022.

On the occasion, national deputy Juvenal Munobo said he hopes that the law to waive legal fees is also extended to witnesses of SGBV and such other vulnerable groups as widows, orphans, people with disabilities and elderly living in residential care.

Watch his full remarks here:

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