Central African Republic: killings and sexual violence continue despite peace agreement
‘One year after the peace agreement was signed, violence against civilians has not stopped’ - Alice Banens
Two former heads of state have recently returned to the country and should be investigated for human rights violations
Ahead of the first anniversary (6 February) of the Central African Republic’s (CAR) Khartoum peace agreement, signed between the government and 14 armed groups, Alice Banens, legal advisor at Amnesty International, said:
“The 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.
“One year after the peace agreement was signed, violence against civilians has not stopped. Various armed groups continue 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.”
Khartoum peace agreement
One year ago, 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 signing of this peace agreement, various armed groups continue to commit serious abuses against civilians, including unlawful killings and sexual violence. More than 30 people were killed on 25 December last year in the PK5 neighbourhood of Bangui. On 26 January this year, an estimated 11,000 people were displaced because of clashes between armed groups in the eastern town of Bria.
While significant efforts have been 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.
Francois Bozizé and Michel Djotodia
Two former heads of State, Francois Bozizé and Michel Djotodia, have recently returned to the country. Amnesty has been calling for the investigation of their alleged responsibility in serious human rights violations for years. In 2014, an arrest warrant was already pending against Bozizé for murder, torture and other charges. Now the two have returned to the country, the CAR authorities are presented with unprecedented opportunity to investigate and, if they document sufficient evidence, bring them to court in fair trials.