Minova, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). February 2014.

Between February 12th and 19th, 2014, a temporary courtroom was set up in Minova, a market town that hugs the shore of Lake Kivu in eastern Congo, in order to hear the testimonies of resident rape victims. Trials are normally held in Goma, but for the victims, such travel would have been prohibitively expensive. So, the court came to them.

On trial were 39 FARDC (Armed Forces of the DRC) soldiers, accused of participating in a 10-day run of violence in November 2012. It was estimated that more than 1,000 women, children and men were raped in this town alone, yet only 37 soldiers faced rape charges. The attacks on civilians happened as FARDC soldiers were fleeing the rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23) who, at the time, had gained control of the key eastern city of Goma.

In 2011, the United Nations representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict dubbed the Democratic Republic of the Congo the “rape capital of the world.” The Minova trials represented an advance in bringing justice to victims of rape—an unprecedentedly large number of government soldiers were accused, and the case was being tried at such a high level of military court that there would be no possibility of appeal. 

Yet when the ruling came down on May 5th, 2014, the victims and their supporters were disappointed. In the end, only two of the 37 accused soldiers were convicted of rape (though one did receive a life sentence). The struggle for justice continues.

—Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi

Exhibition of all 50 LensCulture Emerging Talents: Barcelona, October 13-31

Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi's work, along with photographs from ALL the LensCulture Emerging Talents will be shown in an exhibition at the Galeria Valid Foto in Barcelona. Please join us for the opening party on October 13, 2014—we hope to see you there! See a preview of ALL the winners here in LensCulture.

ALL winners have already been featured at photo festival screenings in Dublin, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Amsterdam so far this year. Next screening in Korea at the
Seoul Lunar Photo Fest.