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An African Marshall Plan: Changing U.S. Policy to Promote the Rule of Law and Prevent Mass Atrocity in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Gregory S. Gordon, University of North Dakota

Abstract

Since 1998, 5.4 million citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been killed in what many refer to as "Africa's First World War" -- the deadliest armed conflict since World War II. Despite a 2003 peace deal and the country's first elections in 2006, a staggering 45,000 people continue to die each month and as many as 4,000 women per year are being raped. As Western Europe needed a massive infusion of American assistance to lift itself from misery after World War II, this article contends that the DRC needs such an infusion now. It posits that ending DRC atrocities will require launching an "African Marshall Plan" -- a gargantuan influx of aid and expertise that will stabilize the country and promote the rule of law. This will entail a series of suggested procedural and substantive changes to U.S. policy. The procedural changes involve greater agency inclusion and coordination, use of human rights benchmarks and an ombudsman, and establishment of a team of law and negotiation experts on the ground. The substantive changes focus on large-scale humanitarian assistance efforts supporting judicial and security sector reform that will eliminate the culture of impunity. Such reform would include: (1) setting up programs to curb and punish sexual violence and corruption; (2) preventing illegal resource exploitation through, inter alia, corporate sanctions; (3) backing the International Criminal Court and DRC domestic war crimes prosecution efforts; (4) possible establishment of a hybrid tribunal for crimes outside DRC and ICC jurisdiction; and (5) creating a "National Human Rights Office" with branches in Kinshasa and outlying provinces (especially in the troubled eastern DRC).

Suggested Citation

Gregory S. Gordon. 2008. "An African Marshall Plan: Changing U.S. Policy to Promote the Rule of Law and Prevent Mass Atrocity in the Democratic Republic of Congo" ExpressO
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gregory_gordon/4

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