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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid