The accounts of continuing atrocities reinforced concerns of escalating violence since President Joseph Kabila’s decision to remain in office beyond the December 2016 limit on his tenure imposed by the Constitution.
Bringing justice to the region could help to avert crimes elsewhere, Mr. al-Hussein said, but national institutions lacked the means and political will to conduct an investigation to international standards. “Under current conditions, the perpetrators will not be brought to justice,” he said.
The Congolese authorities quickly rejected the idea of “an international commission of inquiry that would work in isolation and parallel to the national judicial bodies as if it had become a null state,” said the government spokesman, Lambert Mende.
The government had agreed to a joint investigation with the United Nations, and Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba told journalists in Geneva on Monday that it would not cooperate with or allow access to members of an independent investigation, setting the scene for tough diplomatic bargaining ahead of a council vote on the issue at the end of the week.
Mr. al-Hussein’s statement shed new light on the conflict convulsing the Kasaï region, where the United Nations suspected soldiers and police officers of carrying out summary executions, rapes and other abuses as they fought to contain a rebellion.
The murder in March of two United Nations human rights experts trying to investigate those events had already brought the conflict to the attention of the Security Council. The two experts, Michael J. Sharp, an American, and Zaida Catalán, who had Chilean and Swedish citizenship, disappeared on a mission to investigate reports of mass graves.
Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, urged Secretary General António Guterres this month to set up a special investigation into their deaths. On Friday, she said it was “past time” for the…