MINOVA, Democratic Republic of the Congo – When she entered the courtroom, it was mostly empty. Visitors were not permitted inside, as the testimony was considered sensitive. The prosecutors sat on one side, the defense on the other—both facing a row of judges dressed in full military uniform. In the corner, the woman referred to only as ‘F64,’ could see all 39 of the accused soldiers through a black veil draped over her face.
“I know it’s a soldier who raped me,” disclosed ‘F64,’ a code name used in court that is meant to conceal her identity. All of the women who testify before the court are given a code name, and wear veils to protect their identities. “I can’t tell you which soldier raped me. But I know that I saw the military uniform.” Even at night, in the dark, she explained, the uniform of the Congolese army is unmistakable.