Campaign in Congo

Droit pour Tous campaign in final preparation stage

 

After a full year of intensive preparations, the ‘Droit pour Tous’ (rights for all) campaign will enter its one-month pilot phase in August. This latest Mobile Cinema project aims to put a halt to impunity in the justice system. After the one-month pilot phase, last necessary changes can be made to the campaign tools. The official launch of the campaign is scheduled for October 2012. The campaign will run until September 2013. In April a coordinator was contracted who is in charge implementing the campaign in Congo.

 

The films of the campaign

Two films have been developed. One is destined at community members which shows the rules and legal steps involved in cases on land rights, sexual violence and the rights of the accused.

The other film targets lawyers and judges and focuses on the moral aspects of their profession in order to help overcome corruption, subjectivity in rulings and the weak application of procedures.

During two successful workshops in Congo (October 2011 and May 2012) the content of the films has been defined in close collaboration with a workgroup containing Congolese human rights defenders, judges and the Ministry of Justice. Some additional filming was done in February so as to fill in some gaps.

 

Implementing organisations in Congo

The films will be shown during Mobile Cinema screenings, either on a big screen outside or in smaller in-doors working group sessions. So far, eight Congolese partner organisations receive the films and projection equipment and will, with a sub-grant made available by the campaign’s budget, organize a large number of screenings in Kinshasa and South Kivu. The people that will facilitate the screenings will be trained for the purpose. The aim is to let at least 15 other organisations to join in from October onwards. Some of those will also receive a sub-grant, for others funds will be negotiated through their international donors that support projects in the justice sector. Any organization in Congo whose interventions fit with the campaign’s logic can on the basis of a screening plan/proposition request the campaign materials, so that the campaign can grow nation-wide.

Complementary campaign tools

The films will be complemented by other communication tools, such as radio programs, television series and a comic book. These will be developed in collaboration with Search for Common Ground; a long-standing partner in previous Mobile Cinema projects in Congo. Complementary activities, such as petitions, lobby events and the distribution of for example hats and bracelets carrying the campaign’s logo and slogan are also planned.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

To address and bring a halt to the widespread impunity and corruption present in Congo’s justice system, we launch a nation-wide campaign in Congo. This project falls under the Mobile Cinema Foundation we’ve set up and is executed with support from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery and in collaboration with Cordaid and Stichting Vluchteling.

Despite the seriousness and scale of crimes that are committed in Congo hardly anybody is held responsible for them. Widespread impunity is caused by the poor functioning of the Congolese national justice system, which is characterised by corruption, poor legal training, violations of procedures, lack of political will and the limited presence of tribunals in rural areas.

By consequence, victims are seldom able to get their perpetrators behind bars and those who do end up in prison are sometimes innocent because the rights of suspects are rarely respected.

The campaign uses different tools like mobile cinemas (film), radio, comic books, workshops and debates to raise awareness on judicial procedures and to debate about current malpractices in the justice system. For the educational films we use footage from our documentary ‘Justice for Sale’ and footage we filmed last month. The campaign aims at changing the attitudes of juridical personnel in the justice system, motivate Congo’s politicians to take judicial reform seriously and educate the population about their rights to a fair trial.

 

The campaign works on three different levels:

1)    Educating the Congolese population about their rights to a fair trial. Stimulating the population to claim their rights.

2)    Changing the attitudes of juridical personnel in the justice system

3)    Motivate Congo’s politicians to take judicial reform seriously.

The focus and content of the campaign has been defined in close collaboration with delegates from the Ministry of Justice, human rights lawyers and activists, judges and several local and international NGO’s active in the justice sector. Through individual meetings and workshops that were held during three preparatory visits to Congo, those actors have expressed their needs and priorities in relation to fighting impunity through the campaign activities.

 

DIFFERENT TOOLS:

Mobile Cinema film for the population:

This film will help the population to understand what their legal rights are and how they can claim them. The film will be documentary style and examples are telling the stories. In addition, legal experts like judges and lawyers clarify where necessary. The film for the population contains the following episodes:

1-    The steps involved when a victim of a crime wants to take the case to court.

2-    The rights of the accused or someone convicted of a crime, both during the trial as well as after the judgement in prison.

3-    The problems linked to and-property conflicts, focusing on the regulations in place to secure land ownership.

 

Film for Juridical staff:

This film is made for lawyers, magistrates, judges and other juridical personnel. The film focuses on the perceptions citizens have of the justice system and a number of anti-values currently linked to the profession (corruption, political influence). The film also present case studies from court cases that trigger debate on how procedures should be rightly followed.

 

Lobby film for civil society to pressure the Congolese Government:

This film will help local activists and civil society organisations to pressure the Congolese government to take juridical reform seriously.

 

Radio clips, debates & theatre-plays:

# Different radio clips will be developed and distributed to a large number of radio stations in Congo. The clips provide information and tips with regards to the correct functioning of the justice system.

# Debates and radio theatre-plays sharing knowledge and scenarios of ‘what to do’ and ‘how to proceed to justice’.

 

Comic books and flyers:

# Comic books and flyers will be produced that present stories about the steps involved in accessing justice.

The campaign will be launched this summer. In coming months, local and international organizations in Congo will validate the campaign tools. The campaign is designed in such a way that a large number of organizations can join in and use the tools. The campaign has a name and logo, but in not the property of one particular organization, hence creating the opportunity to involve a wide variety of organisations.

In the past we have under the Mobile Cinema Foundation set up other very successful Mobile Cinema projects in Congo using our previous films. The first project reached more than a million people in the east of Congo since September 2008.