In South Kivu, Just Future partner organization SOS Informations Juridiques Multisectorielles (SOS-IJM) trained a group of legal clinic facilitators of on archiving and preserving evidence of mass crimes. The training was organized as part of the Just Future program implemented in the DRC in partnership with Cordaid.
In his opening remarks, Justin Bahirwe Mutabunga, coordinator of SOS-IJM, noted that the training aims to strengthen the capacity of participants to develop strategies to safeguard key evidence of mass crimes. By preserving this evidence, victims of massacres and violence committed in South Kivu province, and in the DRC in general, will be better able to seek justice.
For Ms. Huguette Matabaro, who leads SOS-IJMs lobbying and advocacy, the legal clinics are alternative mechanisms of conflict resolution. By enabling the safeguarding and archiving of testimonials and other evidence of crimes committed in South Kivu over the past 20 years on behalf of victims, the legal clinics will contribute significantly to transitional justice in South Kivu.
“We expect that the legal clinic facilitators will start collecting data and evidence and preserve it well, so that if the situation in DRC appears before the International Criminal Court or another tribunal, this evidence will be presented and victims will be able to obtain justice,” she said.
“After this training, we will follow up with data collection in legal clinics. And we won’t only collect data, but also the archive and document it,” concluded Matabaro.
The participants of the workshop trained in different techniques of collection, transmission, storage and sharing of evidence of mass crimes. They exchanged on secure communication and digital security for data protection. The workshop offered an opportunity for participants to strengthen the security of their platforms and digital tools, including social network accounts, phones and laptops.
“We were very pleased with the subject matter that was very well chosen in relation to the theme,” noted a participant.
Mr. Dieudonné Marhegane said he benefited a lot from this training. As a human rights defender, the lessons received will help him to protect and preserve his data for posterity and to share them with people further afield.
“For our work as archivists, I know that with electronic archiving, we can now easily reach our data. Before we did the archiving manually. Now can keep them online in servers, through Gmail or Drive for example. This will help us to have evidence available and share with people elsewhere, “he said.
The next step will be the gradual collection, documentation and archiving of data. These activities will take place in legal clinics.