A vast country with immense economic resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been the theatre of particularly bloody and intricate conflicts for most of the last two decades, causing an estimated 5.4 million deaths and an ongoing humanitarian crisis. The Congolese wars are also infamous for the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war. The recent signing of peace agreements between the Congolese government and the M23 rebel group has brought the conflict back into the spotlight. For once the general mood seems to be one of cautious optimism: are we seeing the beginning of a lasting peace process in the Eastern part of the country? Dr Phil Clark, a political scientist and lecturer at SOAS, will give an overview of the history of these conflicts and shed an informed light on the present-day situation. Dr Clark specialises in conflict and post-conflict issues in Africa and has written for several leading newspapers. He is also the author of “The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice without Lawyers” (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and “Doing Justice during Conflict: The International Criminal Court in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo” (forthcoming).