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DRC prosecutes two men for murder of Swedish UN expert

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DRC prosecutes two men for murder of Swedish UN expert
File photo showing United Nations armoured personnel carriers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Credit: Joseph Kay/AP/TT
18:54 CEST+02:00
Two men will stand trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the murder of Swedish UN worker Zaida Catalán in March, while a separate Swedish investigation is still on-going.
UN worker Zaida Catalán was found dead along with her American colleague Michael Sharp and their Congolese interpreter in March. They had been kidnapped 16 days previously in the conflict-ridden province of Kasaï-Central, where they had gone to investigate reported human rights abuse.
 
Two men face prosecution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), military prosecutor Colonel Odon Makutu said on Saturday.
 
 
"As for the killings of the two UN experts, two insurgents are in custody," Makutu said.
 
The two men face charges for murder and terror crimes. The prosecutor denied any involvement of Congolese soldiers in the killings.
 
The Human Rights Watch suspects, however, that Congolese forces could have taken part in the kidnapping and murders of the UN personnel.
 
"Given the implication of Congolese army soldiers in much of the violence, we have serious doubts about the Congolese authorities' ability or willingness to carry out a credible, independent investigation," said Ida Sawyer, Human Rights Watch's Central Africa director.
 
The Congolese trial will not affect the on-going criminal investigation in Sweden, according to Kristina Lindhoff Carleson, chief prosecutor at the International Public Prosecution Offices in Stockholm.
 
 
"We hope to find out what is happening in the DRC, but it will not change our investigation. Our investigation continues regardless," she said.
 
The Swedish investigators have requested information about the case from their Congolese counterparts, but none had yet been received, the prosecutor said. 
 
The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs had also not received any information about the upcoming trial from DRC authorities.
 
Catalán, who died aged 36, was buried on Friday afternoon in Kalmar in south-east Sweden.
 
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