DRC Prosecutors Demand Death Sentence for Six Accused of Killing Italian Envoy

Military magistrates address the defendants during a court hearing for the murder of former Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo Luca Attanasio at the Ndolo military prison in Kinshasa on February 15, 2023InternationalIndiaAfricaA military tribunal has been in progress in capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa, since October 2022, over the murder of Italy’s former ambassador to the DRC and two other men. The defense insists on the acquittal of the accused, while the prosecution wants capital punishment for all of the defendants.Prosecutors are insisting on the death penalty for six men accused of killing Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2021, while the defense, in its turn, is asking for the acquittal of five out of six alleged perpetrators, local media reported. The tribunal is expected to deliver a verdict within ten days, as the deadline from the initial hearing was set for March 18.Earlier, the defense argued that military court lacked the jurisdiction to try the accused due to the fact that they are civilians, while prosecutor Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Malikidogo said a tribunal was appropriate as the defendants had allegedly resorted to “weapons and munitions of war” in the attack, media reports say.

The defense lawyer Joseph Amzati insisted: "There is a serious question mark hanging over the degree of criminal responsibility that would be brought upon the defendants with the perpetration of the crime and the consequence is logical: [they must] be acquitted!"

AfricaMurder Suspects of Italian Envoy Luca Attanasio on Trial in DR Congo26 October 2022, 10:37 GMTAccording to the United Nations, the Central African country has been effectively adhering to a moratorium on capital punishment for about two decades, yet the courts continue to impose death sentences. The last known death sentence there was carried out in 2003, international human rights NGOs said. Luca Attanasio, who served as Italian ambassador to DRC from September 2017, was killed on February 22, 2021.He was one of the passengers in a World Food Program convoy, which was attacked in the North Kivu Province, DRC, according to Italy’s Foreign Ministry. The convoy was heading from North Kivu’s capital, Goma, to a school located in Rutshuru, a town about 70 kilometers north, in the framework of WFP’s school-feeding program.The accused men allegedly killed two other people – one of the humanitarian convoy’s drivers, Mustapha Milambo, and Italian police officer Vittorio Iacovacci.According to reports, Luca Attanasio became the first foreign ambassador to be assassinated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1997.


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