Amnesty: failure to investigate CAR war crimes leads to continued violence

Amnesty: failure to investigate CAR war crimes leads to continued violence

[JURIST] The failure of Central African Republic (CAR) and UN authorities to investigate and hold individuals accountable for war crimes has led to an endless cycle of violence, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF; press release] Thursday. AI says these abuses have continued after a July report [text, PDF] by AI not only listing individuals suspected of war crimes but also the suspected abuses. The July report found evidence of war crimes dating back to December 2013, and now, a year later, the country is still faced with these human rights violations. Several individuals involved in the anti-balaka armed group that were listed in the July report reportedly continue to benefit from the failure to investigate these crimes. Steve Cockburn, AI Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa, stated, “[t]he failure to hold accountable those implicated in the killing of civilians, the use of child soldiers and the burning of villages means they are not only able to walk free, but also to continue terrorising the population without fear of repercussions.” AI reporters have documented massacres committed in October by the individuals they listed in the July report. CAR authorities and the UN investigators have had some progress with setting up the special criminal court called for in the July report, but the lack of funding has made the progress slow, and the court has yet to be functional. AI has again called on CAR authorities and UN investigators to fix the delays and create a functional criminal court as soon as possible.

The CAR [BBC profile] has faced civil unrest for years. In September the International Criminal Court [official website] opened a second investigation into CAR war crimes after conducting [JURIST reports] a preliminary investigation in February of this year. In January of this year the UN Security Council [official website] unanimously adopted a resolution [JURIST report] extending the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic [official website] and imposing travel bans and asset freezes on those suspected of war crimes in the CAR.