The DRC today uses a broad system of litigation, arbitration and mediation. Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Uniform Act provides: “Any natural or legal person may resort to arbitration on the rights freely available to him.” Article 159 of the Code of Civil Procedure states: “Anyone who has the capacity or the power to compromise, may compromise provided that the dispute can be the subject of a transaction.” It should be noted that arbitration and mediation procedures in the DRC do not involve criminal and penal matters. With many domestic and foreign investment, multilateral and bilateral economic transactions, however, the DRC has made progress in the development and liberalization of alternative systems of settlements, as well as reconciliation through mediation.
The diversified nature of litigation, especially litigation related to investments in the DRC, has increased the use of arbitration provisions in contracts, often to the detriment of local communities. In view of the conflicts this then generates, more and more mediation activities have been developing, especially in the area of land disputes. These mediation efforts have contributed to the restoration of a more peaceful environment at a local level, in some communities.
By Adolphe Mushizi Mwendambali, Senior Fellow-D.R. Congo, Weinstein International Foundation