On June 02, 2010, the lifeless body of human rights defender Floribert Chebeya was found in his car on a road out of Kinshasa. Floribert Chebeya had been missing since the day before and after his summon to the office of the Congolese national police Inspector General.
Read Floribert Chebeya’s story
Executive Director of Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (Voix des sans-voix pour les droits de l’Homme – VSV) and member of OMCT General Assembly, Floribert Chebeya was a prominent human rights defender in the DRC. Active since the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko, Floribert Chebeya was a tireless human rights advocate in his country. For his work, the VSV was awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award in 1992 and the International Human Rights Law Group prize in 1997. Shortly before his assassination, Floribert Chebeya exposed the costs of the DRC’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations while the population lived in extreme poverty. Only two weeks before he was murdered, Floribert Chebeya had announced filing a complaint against General John Numbi, DRC’s head of police at the time, before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the slaughter of a community in the Lower region of Congo. Because of his human rights activities, Floribert Chebeya had been the target of threats, harassment and arrests by the Congolese authorities.
Floribert Chebeya is survived by his wife and six children.
“Mr. Chebeya’s reputation as a champion of human rights earned him the respect and admiration of his compatriots and of the international community. His work will be remembered as a tribute to Congolese perseverance.” Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General’s statement following Floribert Chebeya’s death
Watch “L’Affaire Chebeya, un crime d’Etat?” the documentary seeking justice in Floribert Chebeya’s death
On June 01, 2010, Floribert Chebeya was summoned to the office of the Congolese national police Inspector General to meet General John Numbi, Head of the Congolese National Police (PNC). He disappeared, together with Fidèle Bazana Edadi driver and member of the VSV, during the day. The police found the lifeless body of Floribert Chebeya on the morning of June 02, 2010, in his car on a road out of Kinshasa. Fidèle Bazana Edadi remained nowhere to be found.
“Floribert was an immense human rights defender. He is the one who inspired the other activists to get involved in the fight for human rights. VSV is one of the first human rights organisation in the DRC. Students, including Floribert, during the dictatorship, created it. Floribert dedicated his life to human rights. He was a friend, a brother. We will do all we can so that those responsible for Floribert and Fidèle’s murders are punished. This should serve as a lesson to others.” Dolly Ibefo, VSV Executive-Director
Status of investigation into Floribert Chebeya’s assassination
On 23 June 2011, following a trial marked by numerous incidents, a military court in Kinshasa acknowledged the civil responsibility of the Congolese state for the murder of Floribert Chebeya, as well as the abduction and illegal detention of Fidèle Bazana by several of its officials. The court convicted five of the eight police officers accused. Four were sentenced to death and one to life imprisonment. Three of those condemned to death are still on the run, and three of the police officers found to have played a role in the disappearance of Mr. Bazana, have since been acquitted. On 17 September 2015, an Appeal Military Court reduced significantly the sentences. Furthermore, Congolese authorities have failed to institute proceedings to investigate the role played by General John Numbi, who has since been replaced as Head of the Congolese National Police (PNC), despite serious evidence, testimonies and the complaints filed by the families of the two human rights defenders.
In addition, Paul Mwilambwe, major in the PNC and head of the security for General John Numbi at the time of Floribert Chebeya’s assassination, was indicted in Senegal on January 8, 2015. His indictment follows a complaint filed by FIDH and families of Floribert Chebeya and Fidèle Bazana for torture on the basis of the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Watch Fidèle Bazana Edadi’s widow, Marie-José Bazana asking for justice to be served