By Felix Tih
Amnesty International on Wednesday denounced the prevailing impunity in Central African Republic, urging the creation of a Special Criminal Court to try the perpetrators of war crimes committed during the sectarian conflict that started in 2013.
"Individuals suspected of committing war crimes including killing and rape during the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) are evading investigation and arrest, and in some cases live side by side with their victims," Amnesty said in a statement.
Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International Central Africa Researcher said perpetrators were still free while their victims continued to await justice.
"Thousands of victims of human rights abuses across CAR are still waiting for justice to be served, while individuals who have committed horrific crimes like murder and rape roam free," she said.
The rights watchdog also highlighted the weakness of the country's justice system.
"The justice system in CAR, which was weak before the conflict, was further undermined by the fighting as records were destroyed and legal personnel were forced to flee."
Allegrozzi said the "only long-term solution to this entrenched impunity" was to "overhaul" the country's judicial system "including rebuilding its courts, prisons and police force."
She also called for the creation of a Special Criminal Court.
"In the meantime, sustainable funding for the Special Criminal Court, including robust witness protection programmes, is an essential step towards justice.
"The SCC is essential to ensure that victims of some of the conflict’s most serious crimes will have a chance to see justice done in CAR, and should be given every support," she said.
Impunity has contributed to an increase in violence since September 2016, according to the human rights watchdog, "including an attack in Kaga-Bandoro in October , in which ex-Seleka fighters killed at least 37 civilians, wounded a further 60 and forced more than 20,000 people to flee their homes."
More than 5,000 people have been killed in the intensification of violence since 2013, which also left 385,000 people displaced internally, Wednesday's report said, adding up to 466,000 people, mostly from Muslim communities, remained refugees.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.