News / Africa

    Rights Group Calls for CAR Atrocities Investigation

    FILE - A Seleka fighter smokes during a patrol, close to the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo June 10, 2014.
    FILE - A Seleka fighter smokes during a patrol, close to the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo June 10, 2014.
    Jennifer Lazuta

    Amnesty International has published the names of people suspected to have committed human rights violations and war crimes in the Central African Republic.  The human rights group says these individuals must be investigated and held accountable in order for the country to begin a peace and reconciliation process.

    The new report, entitled Central African Republic: Time for Accountability, turns a spotlight on high-profile members of the mostly Christian anti-balaka and mainly Muslim Seleka armed rebel groups, who are suspected of having committed serious crimes against humanity.

    The C.A.R. has been plagued by religious and inter-communal violence since Seleka rebels overthrew the president in a March 2013 coup.  It is estimated that thousands have been killed and more than a million people have been displaced.

    Amnesty International has documented some of the abuses and crimes since then, which include rape, dismemberment, mutilation and large-scale civilian killings.

    ‘Living freely’

    Amnesty International’s C.A.R. researcher, Christian Mukosa, says most of the suspected perpetrators have enjoyed impunity, despite the fact that many of their crimes are known to authorities.

    “It is not acceptable that people who have been involved in serious human rights violations continue living freely in Bangui and in other places.  Especially in Bangui, where they are living just under the nose of the transitional authorities and the international peacekeeping forces.  This is unacceptable and something must be done to ensure that investigations can start in those instances,” says Mukosa.

    Some of the suspects, such as former president Francois Bozize and former Seleka leader Michel Djotodia, have been sanctioned by the United Nations and the United States for “undermining the peace, stability and security of C.A.R.,” but continue to move about freely.

    Others, such as anti-balaka commander Richard Bejouane and Colonel “12 Puissance,” have spoken publicly about the crimes against humanity that they have committed and their roles in inciting violence.  

    No justice, no peace

    Mukosa said that there are a number of reasons why suspected perpetrators have gone unpunished.

    “One of the reasons is that the judiciary is too weak in Central African Republic…  The country has been in insecurity for a long, long time.  There is also the issue of a lack of independent institutions in the judiciary, and also the fact that since the beginning of this new crisis most of the lawyers, judges [and] prosecutors are not around, because some are living in sites for displaced people, others have fled the country,” said Mukosa.

    Mukosa said those who are still around say they are afraid to start investigations due to fear of retaliation.

    Many of the courthouses and jails have been destroyed, making it difficult to even begin investigations.

    “This is why in this report we are calling for the authorities to seek assistance from the international community to ensure that investigations can take place...  No issues in terms of peace agreement, in terms of reconciliation, can move along if there is no justice for the victims, if impunity continues for serious human rights violations,” said Mukosa.

    On May 30, C.A.R. interim President Catherine Samba-Panza formally requested the International Criminal Court open investigations in the country.  The ICC has yet to accept or deny the request.

    Amnesty International is recommending a hybrid court be set up, in which international experts will help C.A.R. nationals carry out investigations, while strengthening the local judicial system.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora