DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO : Access to justice for children


This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ratified the CRC on 27 September 1990, as well as the Optional Protocol on children in armed conflict and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography on 11 November 2011. Regularly ratified treaties take precedence over national legislation and should be enforced by domestic courts. The DRC directly incorporated some provisions of the CRC into national legislation through the Family Code and the Child Protection Code. Court actions must be brought on behalf of children by a representative in all courts, except children’s courts where children can bring cases on their own. Group litigation is not available, and NGOs cannot file nor intervene in a case. In addition, there is effectively no free or subsidised legal aid available to litigants. In practice, the high level of corruption of the judiciary and the constant interference of the executive power in the judicial process make it almost impossible to access and use formal justice. Customary courts resolve the majority of disputes according to customary law, which does not take into account the CRC.

Download the full report in English and in French.

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