Friday, April 19, 2013

A lucrative business

In the remote Congo region of the Uvira highlands many people still believe that sickness, death or accidents do not “just happen” – they are caused by individuals, that must be identified and neutralized. This is done through a tribal justice system based on traditional customs and superstition.

Witchcraft trials are not free, and are an important source of revenue for the tribal chief. Before the dispute can be brought to the court, each party has to pay a mandatory fee of $200 – the price of a cow – whether they can afford it or not. The tribal judges are bribed to hand out false verdicts.

Vincent Lindalo, a local human rights activist, wants to encourage locals to denounce the trials.

"Because they are ignorant of the judicial system and are poor, they believe it is impossible to win a trial against a tribal chief,” says Lindalo. “Many people believe the chief is untouchable, because of his position, or that their ancestors’ wrath will fall on them if they accuse the chief of wrongdoing.”

No comments: