- Title: Central African Republic abuses may be crimes against humanity -U.N.
- Date: 30th May 2017
- Summary: PEOPLE LOOKING AT WRAPPED BODIES
- Embargoed: 13th June 2017 11:29
- Keywords: Central African Republic United Nations war crimes atrocities
- Location: BANGUI, BAMBARI, BOSSANGOA AND UNIDENTIFIED LOCATIONS, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- City: BANGUI, BAMBARI, BOSSANGOA AND UNIDENTIFIED LOCATIONS, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- Country: Central African Republic
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0046J15I6F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
A litany of killing, rape, mutilation, pillage and torture committed by successive governments and armed groups in Central African Republic from 2003-15 may constitute crimes against humanity, the United Nations said in a report on Tuesday (May 30).
The 369-page mapping report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, based on more than 1,200 confidential and open sources, is meant to help authorities identify cases as they establish a Special Criminal Court to try the worst crimes committed in the landlocked, isolated nation.
The United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights (OHCHR), Andrew Gilmour, said in Bambari on Monday (May 29) that the point of the report was to examine crimes committed by numerous armed groups such as mass rapes, mass killings, torture, decapitations and to show that justice will come to the country and its victims.
The report said that perpetrators have enjoyed near total impunity throughout the period in question due to persistent insecurity and a feeble justice system, which has fuelled cycles of abuse.
Repeated political crises in CAR have fuelled conflict since 2003.
After seizing power from President Ange-Felix Patasse in a March 2003 coup d'etat, forces loyal to Francois Bozize killed and tortured civilians in order to settle personal scores and pillaged U.N. and other diplomatic facilities, the report said.
A decade later, Christian anti-Balaka militia again killed unarmed civilians, conducted public lynchings and mutilated victims in so-called "cleansing operations" against Muslims in retaliation for similar abuses by mostly Muslim rebels, it said.
Tit for tat violence is on the rise again despite a successful presidential election last year. In the past two weeks alone, fighting between militia groups has killed around 300 people and displaced 100,000, the worst bout of displacements since 2013.
In Bambari hospital doctors said over the last 10 days they had received wounded from attacks to people in Alindao.
Violence spread across the towns of Banguassou, Bria and Alindao in the first two weeks of May killing at least 300 people in a new escalation of the conflict. More than 100,000 people had to flee the towns, the worst displacement since 2013.
The report called on the Special Criminal Court, agreed to in 2015, to maximise the use of foreign judicial personnel given the dearth of expertise in CAR and to collaborate closely with the International Criminal Court, which has been investigating alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity since 2012.
The report also recommended that a truth commission accurately document past violence, allow victims to tell their stories and reveal underlying causes of conflict.
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