Law enforcement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Law enforcement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has historically been focused on furthering the state's aims with no regard for human rights. The Police nationale congolaise (Congolese National Police) is the police throughout the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
When the Independent State of the Congo was first formed by Leopold II, the Force Publique acted as both the state's military force and as a policing organisation for the country. The Force Publique were split into garrison and territorial troops after World War I, with the territorial troops primarily responsible for internal security. In 1959, the territorial troops effectively became the gendarmerie, and by independence in 1960 there were three police forces: the gendarmerie, the local police, and the Chief's Police (collectivity police).1
In 1972 – Decrees 72-031 dated 31 July and 72-041 dated 30 August – Mobutu merged the primarily urban Zairian (formerly Congolese) National Police and the gendarmes (largely rural) into a unified organisation, the Gendarmerie Nationale (GDN). The gendarmerie were thus enlarged substantially and became a component of the Forces Armees Zaireois, alongside the Land Forces, Navy, and Air Force.2 Only the collectivity police remained outside the FAZ.
- In 1984 – Decree 84-036 dated 28 August – a new force called “la Garde Civile”, was created and confined to protocol/honorary duties. This unit became very quickly a strong political police dedicated to the safeguard of Mobutu’s regime.3
- On 22 April 1997, with the advent of the “Alliance des Forces Démocratiques de Libération” – AFDL –, its President, Laurent Désiré Kabila restored the Congolese National Police by merging personnel from both the “Gendarmerie” and the “Garde Civile”.4 AFDL military personnel also joined the force.
For a long time, the former decrees creating the “Gendarmerie” and the “Garde Civile” remained in use, particularly in areas under rebel control. Nevertheless, the Government of Kinshasa has issued a Decree-Law – 002/2002 dated 26 January 2002 – for the Congolese National Police for the whole country, even though it cannot be yet implemented in certain areas.
Historically, secret police organisations in the Congo, and Zaire (1971–97) included:
- Centre Nationale de Documentation (CND) (National Documentation Center) - 1969-November 1983
- Agence Nationale de Documentation (AND) (National Documentation Agency) - November 1983-August 1990
- Service National d'Intelligence et de Protection (SNIP) (National Service for Intelligence and Protection) - August 1990 - May 19975
Secret police organisations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1997–present include:
- Détection Militaire des Activités Anti-Patrie (DEMIAP) (Military Detection of Anti-Fatherland Activities)
- Agence nationale de renseignements - National Intelligence Agency
- International Crisis Group, Security Sector Reform in the Congo, Africa Report No. 104, 13 February 2006, p.4
- Michael G. Schatzberg, The Dialectics of Oppression in Zaire, 1991, p.55 via Google Books
- Colonel Mamadou Gueye Faye and Stéphane Jean, Police Reform In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo, Providing Security for People: Security Sector Reform in Africa, GfN-SSR, Shrivenham, 2003
- Antoine Gizenga et Denis Kalume pour la réforme de la Police Nationale Congolaise, Stéphane Salikoko, L’Avenir, 25 avril 2007.
- ed. by Dilip K. Das & Michael Palmiotto, World Police Encyclopedia, published by Taylor & Francis. 2004,
- World Encyclopedia of Police Forces and Correctional Systems,second edition, 2006 by Gale.
- Sullivan, Larry E. Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2005.