Diplomatic Immunity

Italian judge rules U.N. staffers cannot be tried over Congo deaths

Italian judge rules U.N. staffers cannot be tried over Congo deaths
Lombardy Governor Attilio Fontana reacts during the funeral service for slain Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio, in Attanasio's hometown of Limbiate, near Milan, Italy, 27 February 2021. The Italian ambassador to the DR Congo Attanasio, and a carabiniere Iacovacci were killed on 22 February in an attack on the road between Goma and Rutshuru. EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI

An Italian judge has ruled that two employees of a U.N. agency cannot be tried over the deaths of the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, his bodyguard and a driver in 2021 because they have diplomatic immunity.

Luca Attanasio, bodyguard Vittorio Iacovacci and their driver Mustapha Milambo were killed during a botched kidnapping on a road in eastern Congo as they were heading toward a World Food Programme (WFP) project.

Rome prosecutors had requested a trial for Rocco Leone and Mansour Luguru Rwagaza, who at the time of the attack were respectively the deputy chief of the WFP in Congo and a security officer, accusing the pair of negligence in organising the trip.

However, Judge Marisa Mosetti ruled on Tuesday that as employees of the United Nations, the two men enjoyed diplomatic immunity and cannot therefore be tried.

The prosecutors said they would appeal.

A Democratic Republic of Congo military court last year sentenced six men to life in prison for the killings.

Eastern Congo has been beset by violence for decades as rival militias fight government troops and each other for control of land and resources.

Kidnappings and attacks on aid convoys had been on the rise at the time of the assault on Attanasio and his entourage.

(Reporting by Marco Carta; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Angus MacSwan)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • I have operated in the Goma area for years. I have a legitimate gold buying and reading company with all required licenses and export permits, I pay taxes and export as regularly as I can.

    The street talk is the ambassador was doing some side gold dealings with the UN officials.

    It has long been an open secret that the UN has been involved in the smuggling of gold across thé porous DRC borders. Uganda and Rwanda being the biggest beneficiaries.

    Thé UN has diplomatic immunity so it’s aircraft and personnel are NEVER searched.

    Interesting allegations which will never be investigated or see the light of day.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options