CAR: Resignation of government must not open door to impunity

News
August 6, 2014

CAR: Resignation of government must not open door to impunity

Following the resignation of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, Amnesty International has called on the relevant Central African Republic (CAR) authorities, including Transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza, to ensure that those suspected of involvement in crimes under international law are not given a seat in government.

These individuals must instead be brought to justice in fair trials with no recourse to the death penalty.

“CAR transitional authorities must ensure that the changes in the make-up of the government do not result in a situation where new cabinet members use their position to commit further violations or prevent effective investigations against themselves or their allies,” said Christian Mukosa, Amnesty International’s CAR Researcher.

Amnesty International has received credible information that persons suspected of serious human rights abuses are seeking positions within the new government.

The call comes on the day that Central African Republic's Prime Minister André Nzapayéké and his entire cabinet handed in their resignations. This decision follows the ceasefire agreement signed on 23 July 2014 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, by representatives of armed groups, including the anti-balaka and the Séléka, political parties, churches and civil society organizations.

In its report, Central African Republic: Time for Accountability, published on 10 July 2014, Amnesty International named members and allies of the anti-balaka and Séléka armed groups suspected of involvement in serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. They include ex-Presidents François Bozizé and Michel Djotodia, Anti-balaka coordinators, including Levy Yakété and Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona and Séléka commanders, including Noureddine Adam. The report calls for effective investigations and prosecution in all cases where there is sufficient admissible evidence of involvement in crimes under international law.

On 11 July 2014, a Séléka congress designated former CAR President Michel Djotodia and former commander and Minister Nourredine Adam as the armed group’s president and vice-president respectively. These two individuals are under UN and US sanctions for their alleged involvement in human rights violations and abuses committed in CAR.

“A situation where individuals suspected of involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights abuses are allowed to secure positions in the government would spell disaster for a country that is struggling to end the impunity that has fuelled months of horrific violence,” said Christian Mukosa.

“Rather than facilitating impunity, the transitional government must instead ensure that members of the anti-balaka militia, the Séléka and their respective allies and any other individuals and groups suspected of involvement in human rights abuses and breach of international humanitarian law are brought to justice so that the long journey to justice for the victims can begin in the Central African Republic.”