Inter-Parliamentary Union  
Chemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland  


Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 194th session
(Geneva, 20 March 2014)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Muhindo Nzangi and to the resolution it adopted at its 193rd session (October 2013),

Referring also to the letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly of 19 February 2014, the information provided by the delegation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the hearing held during the 130th IPU Assembly (March, Geneva 2014) and the information provided by the sources,

Considering that Mr. Nzangi, a member of parliament for the majority, was sentenced on 13 August 2013 to three years in prison at first and last instance by the Supreme Court on a charge of jeopardizing State security,

Considering the following allegations by the sources: Mr. Nzangi’s convictionconstitutes a serious violation of the right to freedom of expression of parliamentarians, Mr. Nzangi having been convicted for having expressed his point of view, on the radio on 11 August 2013, about the war in the eastern DRC and for having criticized government policy; his trial was not fair, his lawyers not having had the material time to mount a defence (in view of the expedited nature of the flagrante delicto procedure applied in the case) and in the absence of the possibility to appeal,

Bearing in mind that, in the reasoned decision it sent the lawyers for the defence in February 2014, the Supreme Court held as follows: Mr. Nzangi was guilty of jeopardizing State security because he had “deliberately spread rumours about the Head of State’s failure to order the continuation of the war in the east of the country, even though troops from the DRC armed forces at the front were ready to fight the M23”; this was “an inaccurate statement that was of a nature to alarm the people in that part of the country, to worry them and to foment doubt about the strength of the authorities, institutional stability and the public authorities, and that definitely caused unrest in Goma and the neighbouring area”; the “rumours” consisted in Mr. Nzangi’s declaration that “if the Head of State does not give the order to kick the aggressors out, we’ll go the way of Mali, we’ve seen loads of Rwandan bodies, and the people have to attack MONUSCO because it has not performed its duties and obligations; the Head of State isn’t controlled by anyone and whether the army attacks or no longer attacks, he’s the commander-in-chief of the army and the army was reorganized after former commanders left for Kinshasa”,

Bearing in mind the recording of the incriminating radio broadcast provided by the sources, in particular Mr. Nzangi’s wordsduring the broadcast,

Considering that Article 153 of the Constitution of the DRC, adopted in 2006, provides that the Court of Cassation shall hear cases involving offences committed by members of the National Assembly and the Senate in first and last instance,

Further considering that the Speaker of the National Assembly indicated in his letter of 19 February 2014 that, in application of the recommendations that emerged from the national consultations held in September 2013, the parliament of the DRC had adopted an amnesty law in February 2014 that covered the offences for which Mr. Nzangi had been convicted, and that the sources had confirmed that Mr. Nzangi was eligible for amnesty, which he had applied for in writing pursuant to the law, but that no action had been taken as of yet in application of the law,

Considering lastly the following information provided by the delegation of the DRC at the hearing held during the 130th IPU Assembly: the Speaker of the National Assembly had pledged to do all in his power to ensure that Mr. Nzangi was granted amnesty; it was now up to the Minister of Justice to adopt measures to implement the amnesty law, and the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians would be kept informed in that regard; in accordance with the Constitution, and because he had been arrested using the flagrante delicto procedure, Mr. Nzangi had not benefited from parliamentary immunity and the National Assembly had not been informed of his arrest or of the charges and proceedings against him; the prosecution and the court had considered that Mr. Nzangi’s words were of a nature to foment trouble in the east of the country, given the conflict situation at the time; even though Mr. Nzangi had been found guilty, he had not been removed from office by the National Assembly, which considered that the case could be resolved by granting Mr. Nzangi amnesty for political offences,

  1. Thanks the Speaker of the National Assembly and the delegation of the DRC for the information they conveyed;

  2. Considers that, in sentencing Mr. Nzangi to a prison term for having criticized government policy, even though he did not incite to violence, the Supreme Court disregarded Mr. Nzangi’s right to freedom of opinion and expression, which is enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the DRC is a party;

  3. Deplores again that there is no separate avenue of appeal in the judicial process applying to parliamentarians in the DRC and recalls that the possibility to appeal is one of the principal guarantees of a fair trial;

  4. Notes with satisfaction that Mr. Nzangi is eligible for amnesty for political offences under the amnesty law adopted by the Parliament of the DRC in February 2014 and that the Speaker of the National Assembly has pledged to do all in his power to ensure that he is granted amnesty; therefore urges the competent authorities to grant him amnesty as soon as possible and requests that it be kept informed in that respect;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities, the Minister of Justice, the sources and any third party likely to be in a position to supply relevant information;

  6. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and to report back to it in due course.

Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 130th Assembly and related meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union" in PDF format (file size 878 Kb). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader