As the Central African Republic (CAR) celebrates tomorrow the first anniversary of the Khartoum peace agreement signed between the government and 14 armed groups, Alice Banens, Amnesty International Legal Advisor said:
“Tomorrow’s first anniversary of the peace agreement in the Central African Republic must be another opportunity to strengthen efforts to protect the civilian population from violence and to bring alleged perpetrators of crimes under international law to justice.
Tomorrow’s first anniversary of the peace agreement in the Central African Republic must be another opportunity to strengthen efforts to protect the civilian population from violence and to bring alleged perpetrators of crimes under international law to justice.Alice Banens, Amnesty International Legal Advisor
“One year after the peace agreement was signed, violence against civilians has not stopped. Various armed groups continued to commit serious abuses against civilians, including killings and sexual violence. The number of victims continues to grow, while victims of serious human rights violations and abuses committed before the peace agreement was signed still wait for justice.
“The government, in coordination with the Special Criminal Court and the ICC where appropriate, should take all necessary measures to enable investigations and prosecutions of past atrocities.
“In parallel, two former heads of State, Francois Bozizé and Michel Djotodia have recently returned to the country. Amnesty International has documented evidence of their alleged responsibility for atrocity in crimes. CAR authorities are presented with unprecedented opportunity to investigate and, if they document sufficient evidence, to bring them to court in fair trials. This will be a step towards ending the culture of impunity.”
One year ago, on 6 February 2019, the CAR government and 14 opposition armed groups signed a political agreement in Khartoum for peace and reconciliation, with the aim of ending a conflict that has seen serious violations and abuses of international human rights since December 2012.
Despite the signature of this peace agreement, various armed groups continued to commit serious abuses against civilians, including unlawful killings and sexual violence. More than 30 people were killed on 25 December in PK5 neighbourhood of Bangui. On 26 January 2020, 11,000 were displaced because of clashes between armed groups in the eastern town of Bria.
While significant efforts were made at national and international levels to bring to account suspected perpetrators of serious human rights violations and abuses in successive conflicts since 2003, there is still much to be done to address impunity.
Amnesty International has been calling for the investigation of Bozizé and Djotodia’s alleged responsibility in serious human rights violations, for years. In 2014, an arrest warrant was already pending against François Bozizé for murder, torture and other charges.