Belgian journalist Thierry Michel takes on impunity
By Jean-Paul Marthoz/CPJ Senior Adviser
Who killed Floribert Chebeya, the president of the leading DRC human rights group La Voix des Sans Voix, and his driver, Fidèle Bazana, in June 2010 in Kinshasa? A few runaway police officers, according to the military tribunal that judged the case and issued its sentences one year later. A few bad apples, who acted on their own, without any order from their hierarchy.
Although four of the eight indicted policemen were condemned to the death penalty and one to life imprisonment for the murder of Floribert Chebeya, the victims' widows were stunned by the verdict. Their lawyers were outraged. Virtually no one in the DRC or the international community believed that justice had been done.
Neither did Thierry Michel. A prize-winning independent Belgian journalist and film producer, Michel has carried his camera for decades all around the Democratic Republic of Congo, exposing the megalomaniac and brutal regime of former President Mobutu Sese Seko (who ruled from 1965 to 1997), filming the daily life and struggles of the population, capturing the majesty of the Congo River, and investigating corruption and oppression in the Katanga mines.