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

Somalia: No Popular Elections in 2016

In interview Wednesday with VOA, President Mohamud says 'one person, one vote' elections will not be possible due to continuing insecurity More

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Increase Child Malnutrition

Public health expert in Germany says that by 2050, 25 million more children's lives will be put at risk because of lack of nutrients tied to climate change More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs